Monday, January 1, 2018

What Will YOU Do With 2018?

So . . . It's January 1, 2018. As you may have guessed about my philosophy on New Years Resolutions, I don't believe in them.

But, here is a question for you, and I hope you'll take just a few moments and contribute your thoughts and ideas.

What ONE THING can you do this year to make this your best year ever? It doesn't have to be Earth shattering or world saving. I can be about yourself, your family/friends, it can be about your community or country or the world at large. It doesn't have to be complicated, time consuming or costly. I trust it will be POSITIVE. It's just ONE THING you can do to, by your own definition, make this the best year of your life, ever.

Here is an example from my world.

A couple years ago I decided that I was simply going to make at least 12 people smile (a laugh would be even better) everyday. The people are random. I don't have to know them and actually, prefer to not know them. So, I don't know these people. I don't know what is going on in their lives. I don't know if they are happy or sad, terribly depressed or burdened by any number of possible personal challenges. I only know that I am encountering them at random.

So, what's the big deal? It's simple. If I can make a person smile (or laugh) I may have just given them the gift of relieving them, from whatever burden they are bearing, for a moment of time. Maybe it will be enough for them to take a deep breath and maybe even spark an "aha" moment that may help them make a positive change to make, whatever it is in their life, better for the future. Maybe, they'll catch the "itch" and pass on that smile to some other random person, who may pass it on to another random person and so on.

These random people may be clerks or employees of some business I'm patronizing. They may be the receptionist, nurse, technician or doctor I'm having an appointment with. They may be a man, woman or child, young or old, I pass in a parking lot or walking on a path or during my daily fitness walks. It doesn't matter. They all deserve a smile.

Now, here's the best part. almost invariably, I will not ever encounter these people again. They are simply among the 7+ billion souls alive on this planet. But, if just a few of them pass on those smiles and a few more pass them on and so on, the twelve people I made smile, may multiply to tens, hundreds or maybe thousands and by the end of a year - who knows, It could be millions. All because I smiled at 12 people (or more) each day. We just don't know the power we have.

And, of course, here's the selfish part of this whole thing. I made 12 people (or more) smile, but I received 12 (or more) smiles in return so, even though my goal is to make 12 people smile, because I gave a "gift" to each of them, I received 12 (or more) gifts in return. How can I have a bad day when I'm receiving all those smiles?

Okay, there certainly are days when I actually don't come in contact with any random people. Those are typically when I'm at one of my base camps and don't have a reason to venture out. Or, I might be camped somewhere by myself. I can attempt to do it on the Internet in Facebook posts, emails, PM's or texts. That's part of the process. But, as long as I take every opportunity to make random people smile whenever I have the opportunity, I am making a mark.

Oh yeah, and smiles don't cost anything and they are actually great for your facial muscles and keep you looking younger longer. Those are just some side effects, not including the endorphin release. This has become a habit for me. So, I just do it as part of my daily interactions.

A good friend of mine, Tracey Jones, the daughter of a very beloved, long-time, deceased friend of mine, Charlie "Tremendous" Jones (whose slogan was "Life is Tremendous!"), puts out a daily joke or humorous story on her Facebook feed. Some of them are hysterical. Some are very old. Some are, what many of us term as, "Groaners," we groan when we read them. But, they all have the desired effect. They get our attention, minimally get a chuckle, but usually inspire a good laugh. And, we all feel better for Tracey's daily Facebook post.

Like I said, you can make your life better with a simple thing. If you can make someone else's life better at the same time - wow, so much the better. The best part is YOU CAN'T LOSE.

My 2018 Plan . . .

So, I'll start the ball rolling. I love people. I love learning about people, what makes them tick, what they've overcome, what they've achieved, where they are going in their lives, how they've impacted the world in some small or large way - often they don't even know they've had an impact.

So, I'm taking lessons from my good friend who teaches listening skills to business people, Dr. Manny Steil, and from the sage old philosopher, the late Yogi Berra, the legendary NY Yankee catcher and later manager and coach of the Yankees and at least a couple other major league teams. I've gained much from knowing Manny and from his book. And, doing a bit of modifying to one of Yogi's famous Yogi-isms - his words "You can observe a lot by just watching." - my modification is, you can learn a lot by just listening.

So, this year, I'm going to concentrate on keeping my mouth shut and listening to you and others I encounter. It will be hard for me since all of you who actually know me, personally, know that I love to talk and have lots of stories of my own. But, I'm going to work hard at using my ears and my mouth in the proportion I was born with. EVERYBODY HAS A STORY! I want to learn all the stories I can.

And, BTW, I also have to give credit for this idea to my dear Kiwi "brother" (it's almost like we were separated at birth and sent to different ends of the world), Brian Morris, in Picton, New Zealand. Brian has been collecting stories for well over a decade and gets some amazing responses from people when he asks them to tell him a story.

So, be aware, I want to know your story. That's what I'm doing for 2018. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THIS EXCITING NEW YEAR.

And, remember to live free and be happy. EH


Jeff said...

Great idea,I've always enjoyed listening to other peoples stories.
Different people, different places,different stories, but all worth listening to!

Ed Helvey said...

Great, Jeff. Thanks for your comment and support. Stay tuned. It's likely you'll find some of the stories right here and on my Facebook Living Free Project group. I hope you'll enjoy and gain some ideas and insight from them.

Live free and be happy,

John Spoden said...

I would like to experience more love this year. I consider it to be
that which is truly eternal, in regard to our natures. Love is scary
to most folks, commitment triggers logic, logic feeds fear, and ships
continue to pass in the night, never knowing both have the same port
in the end. Our journeys as tramps allow us the freedom to encounter,
to observe, to meet, to greet, to speak, often we become self isolated,
finding solitude as commonplace purposefully. I on the other hand have
looked at my introrvertednesss as an excuse to remain reclusive, identified
it as reluctance, and weakened its power. We have purpose, each of us the same,
to love. Love a little, or love alot, its the path of the warrior.
This year the warrior will again win lifes battles with fear, will
love a little when the situation calls for it, and will love alot,
regardless of weather anyone is around and noticing. Its the path
that is truly worthwhile and eternal, the only thing you can carry with you,....forever. Keep up the wonderful posts, even though you sometimes
think, no one is noticing.

Ed Helvey said...

Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts, John. You delivered quite a "sermon" in just a relatively few words. Truly, each of us is a unique personality on this planet. And, regardless of where we are in our geographic external lives and in our internal psychological/emotional lives - we serve a purpose. We may never discover our purpose, but since many of us are "seekers" of truth AND love, hopefully, we will - and in so doing will inspire others to seek and reach out.

Thank you for reading my blog and for your kind words of encouragement. I regret it took me a while to reply to your comment. As you are well aware, sometimes life gets in the way of intentions. But, please know your words are truly appreciated. Live free and be happy, John. EH