Monday, October 22, 2018

It’s All About Scale

I have two scales I use to measure if a day is a good one.

The first scale is the "Best day/Worst day scale."

For  this scale, I first needed to identify my best day(s) ever.  The best days of my life were the days my daughters were born and the day my girlfriend agreed to be my wife.  Other things may have happened  those days but to me, they were amazingly wonderful.  I would not give  those days back for anything else.

I also needed to identify my worst day ever for this scale to have a bottom.  One hopes that this is harder to do than finding a best day.  My  worst day was the day my little sister died.  It was sudden and tragic  and I hope it remains the worst day of my life; that no day is any worse.

Once I established my range using those days, I could examine today and see where it lands.

The  chances are that today falls right around the middle.  Some days are  better or worse than average but overall, in my world, that counts as a  good day.

The second scale I use it the "Percent of the day" scale.

For  this scale,  I needed to break my day into tasks or events.  For me, I have the broad categories of  "sleeping", "going to work", "working", "time with family", "eating" and  "other free-time stuff".  That all makes up 100% of my day; 24 hours.

For  me to have a bad day, it needs to be more that 50% bad.  That means  that I have to have more than 12 hours of bad.  So many bad hours rarely  happen in one day.  Most hours for me are, at worst, only OK but many  (if not most) are good hours.

What's more, when you  start breaking your day into basic components and are mindful of the  parts that are making them less-than-good, you have the awareness to  know what has to change.

Part of making today a good  day is knowing what makes it so and that scale will have to be specific  to your needs.   Find your scale; and step on it.

Friday, March 9, 2018


I don't think that going to the movies or the theater is a very good date.  You and whoever you go with sit and watch alone: the other person, while sitting next to you, is also watching alone.  If you sat in different rows you'd have the same experience.  I do, however, think that the drinks or coffee or what-have-you after the show, when you can discuss what you both experienced, IS a good date.  The alone part is fine and can even be good, but the real joy is the sharing with someone.

What is true for a date is also good for good days.  Much of what we do is internal to ourselves; we are alone in our tasks and our thoughts and it's the interaction with others that provides a special sort of value.

Interactions with others don't always come naturally to everyone.  I have said for years that I've never met a stranger; I can walk up to anyone and make a casual friend.  I'm odd though.  For some people, connections are more difficult and they need a way to open themselves up to others.


"Hello" is a great way to open a conversation, a connection.  "Hello" is the first step into a larger journey with another person.  "Hello" creates a super-casual relationship that can lead to a subtle uplifting of the day or a deep friendship.  "Hello" can be magical.

Sharing who you are, sharing your time, making connections make todays good days.  Start making small connections and see how your days become better.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Have you ever noticed that something going wrong can almost ruin a day?
Or that a bad day can ruin a week?
And how things seem to snowball into a mess?
Bad days are like that.
It makes having a good day much harder to have.

The fact is that good days don't exist in a vacuum; they coexist with those bad days and even average days that seem to have no significance. Each single day is part of a tapestry of days that make up our lives.  The little things that make a good day hard and add to the bad day noise can be a struggle.

To combat that struggle takes some special tools and one of those tools is "active accumulation of good days".  Active accumulation of good days means that we are to specifically, overtly notice and remember the good days that have come before and add them to all the previous good days we've had.  For some people it may be enough to hold those previous good days in their mind.  For others, it may be necessary to look back into diaries or photo albums to recall the good days.  Like most tools though, the more you use them and keep them ready, the easier they are to use.

The days of our lives are going to pile up over time .  We are going to accumulate something from them.  Keep the ones you want and let the others go.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

You are what you do (or "You do what you are")

Do you know the biggest factor in having a good day?

It's not what day of the week it is.  It's not the activities that occur throughout the day.

You are the biggest factor.
You create the good day or you recognize the good day.  In either case it's (almost*) all about you.

The choices you make throughout the day, what you do, is who you really are.  The job you do and how you do it, the people you are with and how you interact with them, the things you chose to do are what make you you.

To have a good day people have to look at themselves and see what they are doing to make it good.  They have to find ways to overlook or overcome or avoid the things that prevent it from being good.

Having or making or recognizing a good day is all about the individual.  It's all about you.  It's about what you are doing.

If you want a good day, do good day things.
You are a good day.

Don't Die

My family has an odd tradition.
It started after my little sister died in a car accident.
I don't recall which of the remaining family members started it but it started.  When we take our leave of each other one of us will tell the others, "Don't die."

It's somewhat macabre but it means much to us.
It means that we want the others around.  It means that we want each other to be careful.  It means that we value the family.  It's also a reminder of what we've lost.

I rarely say it outside of family, but I think it often throughout the day because, while I know that everyone dies, the people that make up my day are valuable to me.  I know that I control most of what makes my day a good day  . . . but there are friends, and co-workers, and consequential strangers that impact me and I want them around.

Recognize the people around you.  Cherish your family and your friends.  Make them part of your good days.

Also, don't die.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Ask for help already!

I am not an expert in asking for help.  In fact, I am horrible at it.  I will suffer and strain and fail continually rather than ask for help.  I do this for projects around the house and for thoughts in my head and for feelings in my heart.  I don't ask for help.

Internally, I see it as a failure; as a weakness and I don't want to be a failure or weak.

At least I'm not alone, right?

Asking something of another person can be humbling.  It's sometimes hard for people to say, "I can't do it alone."  It's hard to admit it.  It's embarrassing.  It opens a person up to judgement.

While all that might be true, asking for help is an opportunity.
Asking for help allows a person to first, fix the immediate issue whether it's a stuck bolt or community discussion, or trouble with your family.  If you need help with something, help might be the answer.
Asking for help also provides the opportunity to connect with another person and more connections are almost always better.
Asking for help allows us to learn.  We may learn about our problem, our helper, or ourselves.  What we learn may have nothing to do with the problem at hand but having a person to share with has unlimited potential for growth.

Asking for help is a way to make today a good day and making today a good day is easier with a little help.
All you have to do is ask

{Full disclosure - in public (like at work) I have no issues asking for help.  I want to provide the opportunity for people to help me and be more valuable.  I also feel I have an obligation to my employers not to waste time when help is available.}

Three questions

It's time to play a question and answer game.  The questions are easy but the answers might not be.  The answers can be powerful though.  They provide an opportunity for reflection and insight.

  • What was your best day ever?
  • What the easiest way for you to have a good day?
  • What has been good about today?

What was your best day ever?
The day my girlfriend agreed to be my wife was an AMAZING day.  So were the days my daughters were born.  I'd be hard pressed to decide which was the best. Before those days though. I'd have to go back twenty years to a midnight showing of Star Wars with my father but I'm not sure I recognized it as such when I was younger.

I expect that the answer to this question is pretty flexible for anyone under the age of 14 and becoming more stable after the age of 30.  I'm not sure where on what scale the answer would be in the teens and twenties; those can be tumultuous years.  Who knows if the longer you live the higher a chance for best days might occur because most of us settle down but where there is life there is a chance for incredible days.

Holding your best day in your mind and heart provides an anchor for each subsequent good day.

What the easiest way for you to have a good day?
Smiles make my days better.  Seeing people smile always lifts me up and the closer they are to my circle of people, the happier they make me.  Two strangers smiling at one end of a scale and my wife and kids at the other are my spectrum of instant happy.  I've found too that smiling myself is an instant boost to my mood and my day.

It might be a best friend, or a favorite food, or an activity but isn't it good to know that no matter how bad or good the day is, it can be better because of that one thing?

What has been good about today?
It's early in the day when I write this.  It's raining with a chance of snow later.  The sound of rain on the chimney cover is comforting.  I'm inside my warm house and a cup of coffee is close at hand.  The bed is made and laundry is going. For some, this might not be much of a day at all but for me, all those things are good.  Later, I'll go to work and help people accomplish things.  I'll smile at them and try to induce smiles back.

It's important not to let the days slip past without noticing them.  Looking for the good throughout the day will make it better.