A few years ago, while I was not only recovering from cancer but also dealing with a whole bunch of other ‘disasters’ that life had decided to send me at the same time, I decided to begin a new habit.
I set an alarm on my phone for the end of each day and asked myself one very simple question:
“What went well today?”
At first my answers might not have seemed very impressive to you. They were things like “walked 50 metres,” “saw a beautiful sunset,” “met up with a friend.” But they were big things to me at the time and they helped me to keep going. And over time my answers have shifted and grown as I have shifted and grown.
Now, years later, the alarm is still on my phone and I still ask myself this question, nearly every day.
With hindsight, answering this extraordinarily simple question each day brings me three very powerful things:
- It reminds me what is going well, as well as all what is going badly. This gives me a more balanced perspective and improves my morale.
- It reminds me of what is important to me. This helps me decide where to focus my energies tomorrow and next week, so that I create more of those things in my life.
- It helps me to problem-solve and to find new ways forward, because it trains me to be able to see past the ‘problem’, to what is going well, and what could go even better.
Over the years, I realise, this apparently simple process has been transformative — an important step towards becoming antifragile.
Is your life perfect at the moment? Do you take the time to remember what is going well, as well as what isn’t? Would it be useful to gain deeper insights into what really matters to you? Would you like to improve your ability to problem-solve? Have you set a reminder?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also have to practice.)