A few years ago, while I was recovering from cancer and dealing with a whole bunch of other ‘problems‘ that life had decided to bring me all at the same time, I decided to begin a new habit.
I set a reminder on my phone for the end of each day to ask myself one very simple question:
“What went well today?”
At first my answers might not have seemed that impressive to you. They were things like “walked 50 metres,” “saw a beautiful sunset,” “met up with a friend.” But at the time they were big steps forward for me and reminding myself of them helped me to keep going. And as I recovered from the cancer and moved forward with my life, so my answers to the question have also shifted and grown.
Years later, the reminder is still there on my phone. And I still ask myself this extraordinarily simple question at the end of nearly every day.
With hindsight, this brings me three very powerful things:
- It reminds me what is going well in my life, as well as all what is going badly. This gives me a more balanced perspective and it improves my morale.
- It reminds me of what is important to me, which helps me decide where to focus my priorities tomorrow and next week, so I create more of the things that matter in my life. This becomes a virtuous circle, a reinforcing loop.
- It helps me to problem-solve and find new ways forward because it trains me to see past the ‘problems’ and focus more of my energies on what is going well and what could go even better, which strengthens and builds the key attitude of (self-)leadership.
With hindsight it is now clear: this apparently trivial daily process has been transformative for me — a major part of my 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 you like to improve your ability to problem-solve? Would it be useful to gain deeper insights into what really matters to you? Have you set a reminder on your phone, say for 9:30pm each day?
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.)