What are the essentials of your day?
These are the things that make the difference between living fully and just living. At school or at work, are you just putting in time or having the time of your life? What makes the difference to you?
I’ve written of the three tasks I give my kids each day as I drop them off at school: learn something new, help someone else, and have fun. I trust their teachers in looking after the three R’s.
I emphasize the three L’s: learn, love and laugh.
At our family dinnertime (an essential of my day), each of us (mom and dad included) shares what we have learned, what kind or loving act we’ve done for someone else (as well as the great things others had done for us) and how we have had fun (What was the most enjoyable thing in our day?).
We share at least one good laugh a day (even if I have to make it at my own expense). I’m always struck by how thoughtful and kind people can be. Yesterday, a patient brought lunch for both me and my office assistant, and another family brought us a big bag of pink cotton candy which my daughter happens to love.
I love to hear how they combine creativity with kindness, seizing an opportunity to do what they can to help someone else and make their day. That might be giving someone a hand at the moment it’s needed or just choosing the right words at the right time.
I’m glad that I have my kids to keep me accountable because it is so easy for grown-ups to forget about the three L’s. We sometimes forget that we ought to be lifelong learners and we keep on repeating the same mistakes year after year. We can get by with fewer expressions of love though we all could use more hugs, and it’s no surprise that adults have less fun and fewer laughs than most kids.
But it has a lot to do with how we look at our lives. When I last drove my daughter to school, I reminded her how lucky she was to be a kid and to have so much fun every day.
“What do you mean?” she said. ” Grownups have a lot of fun! You get to drive real cars, you can go anywhere you want, and you can eat whatever you like.”
It’s funny how my 12-year-old can teach me so much about love and laughter.
Your happiness exercise for the day:
1. Make a list of the essentials of your day – the things that make your day and make you feel complete; the people, the activities and the experiences that bring you happiness.
2. Before the day is over, make sure you check off every item on your list.
Have a happy day (and I really mean it)!
Since February 1st, I’ve been sharing the insights I’ve learned from my patients, friends and family in “A Hundred Days to Happiness.” Each day, I will post one new insight on facebook.com/davidicus.wong, twitter.com/DrDavidicusWong and my blog at davidicuswong.wordpress.com.