In our personal and professional lives, we come across three types of people.
There are those who have no impact on us. The encounter – it could be a routine appointment or polite conversation at a cocktail function – is completely unmemorable and we move on effortlessly.
There are the ‘energy zappers’: those people we meet who leave us drained; requiring more from us, either emotionally or professionally, than we are willing or able to give.
Then there are those people who somehow manage to enrich our lives and make us feel good, just by being around them. The encounter may not last long; the conversation may not be particularly deep or insightful; but we’re left feeling encouraged, valued and that we’re somehow better off.
Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ‘tomorrow’ on the calendars of fools…
You could put it down to charisma – that elusive, mysterious magnetism that seems to be the birthright of a chosen few. But, often, it is something far simpler: These people make us feel good just because they’re paying attention.
In our busy lives, we often find ourselves so stressed by our mountainous ‘to do’ list, that we forget to focus on the people and the conversations that are right in front of us.
We’re distracted by the need to get to work on time, so we call out a hurried ‘bye’ instead of taking the time give our loved ones a heartfelt hug, kiss or wave; we need to answer that phone, so we rush through the conversation with the customer without making eye contact; we’re thinking about paperwork, instead of giving a patient our undivided attention…
Many life philosophies speak of the importance of living in the moment; of not worrying about tomorrow; of stopping to ‘smell the roses’. The underlying message is that time is precious, life can be unpredictable and we are not indestructible.
If you knew this was your last conversation with that person in front of you now, would you speak to them any differently? Would your voice be friendlier, your smile warmer, your words kinder?
As American essayist and psychologist Augustine ‘Og’ Mandino (1923- 1996), so appositely stated:
“Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ‘tomorrow’ on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year… Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”