Win the day!

Buckets, lines and outcomes.

Recently, my youngest son and I were having a conversation. Okay, it was less a conversation and more a mini lecture. Hey, he’s just turned eighteen, so I don’t have many more opportunities to lecture him, so I have to take them when they show up. Anyway, the conversation developed from a simple question, “Do you want to come and do a workout with me?” His answer was more a grunt than real words, and it communicated an idea of, “Not particularly, father dear. I have lots of other things to do that require me to sit in front of my computer screen for the next four hours, much like I have the entire day.”

That’s when the lecture kicked in.

Now, I’m not going to replay the lecture blow by blow, but as I talked at and with him, I started to realize that what I was saying to him is something that every human being on the planet should hear at some point or another. So I decided that the next blog post would contain the insights from that interaction. So here they are.

You trade a day of your life, 24 hours, for the outcomes of the day. You either move forward or move backward in each facet of life, a little bit at a time. Keep in mind, we will all be busy. The twenty four hours will be filled with something, that isn’t the question. The question is whether or not the things we are filling our days with will help us make progress or not.

Imagine that each facet of life had two buckets. One bucket was for making progress. The other was for not making progress. Simple right? Now, imagine if each day, you had six coins, one for each facet of life (Spiritual, Family, Business, Physical, Mental/Emotional, Social). You are only guaranteed the coins for today; you can’t save them. Each coin has to be put in a bucket. Either you make progress in each facet, or you don’t.

Now it doesn’t take hours to make progress in each facet. Sometimes it takes as little as fifteen minutes to make progress. But making progress is always intentional. It won’t happen by accident. You have to choose to take action that leads in the direction of growth, of Making Progress. If you don’t, the coin automatically goes in the bucket for Not Making Progress.

Now visualize that the buckets have lines on them, and the lines are labeled. On the Making Progress bucket, they would be labeled with desirable outcomes, like gaining confidence, or improved muscle tone, or a stronger sense of connection to the universe. Likewise, on the Not Making Progress bucket, this lines are labeled with outcomes that are undesirable, like self doubt, or heart disease, or a sense of isolation. The challenge is that we can’t see how close we are to any of the marks in advance. We have to fill the bucket without knowing when those benefits will be realized, just that they are there. Positive and negative outcomes, they creep up on us, a little at a time, all based on the small, almost insignificant choices of the day.

During my chat with my son, this is where I started to get emotional.

I told him that the way you win is by doing what needs to be done to get the positive outcomes each day. I told him that this is what I mean when I talk about Winning the Day. And the more days we win, the more likely we will have desirable outcomes in our lives.

Winning the day, each and every day, is hard. Some days, we win in all the facets. Other days, we are lucky to win in a single facet. But the effects are cumulative. So working each and every day to win is critical.

That’s what I told my son.

He worked out with me.

And tonight, to win the day, I wrote this blog post.

And tomorrow, we start all over again. And so do you. So I guess the big question is, what are you going to do to Win the Day?