Ordinary to Extraordinary:
Elevating the Moment with Effort
I was walking downtown after a tough day and accidentally ran into an old friend. Well technically i didn’t run into him but you know what I mean. I just lost a big deal and my ego was reeling from the pain of defeat. It was about 5pm and I was really looking forward to heading home to kick back and unwind. Chris and I haven’t seen each other since I moved to Calgary so it was an unexpected encounter. What started off as a random encounter turned into a two hour long conversation about life, work and hilarious things that made us laugh. Prior to meeting him I had tunnel vision. I was really looking forward to not talking to anyone and enjoying some alone time. We all have those days. Little did I know that my conversation with my old friend Chris was exactly what I needed. We reconnected since then and periodically get together for the odd cocktail. Although it was unexpected I truly valued a special moment in time.
Most moments in life become special only if we treat them that way. We must put meaning and value to moments that pass. The reality is that that minute is a minute you can never get back. The average day is average only because we don’t make it something more. We get caught in our routines (both good and bad) and simply exist. Days can turn to months which can turn to years in which nothing special happens in our life or we neglect to see anything special in it. We simply go through the motions of living by falling into the tunnel vision of redundancy. I remember my brother Dave telling me that one of our regular customers would come in. Dave would ask, “What are you up to?” The response was always “Nothing. I do nothing in my life.” That is the value and meaning this customer put on his existence.
Don’t Take It For Granted
So how do we change this and prevent days from turning into wasted years? This may seem elementary but the most excellent way to elevate any experience is to give it our best. That makes it special. An average conversation becomes something better when you listen with interest. Rather than thinking about my soft couch and watching reruns of “The Walking Dead” on AMC, I focused on being in the moment with Chris. I listened to what he said and gave him my undivided attention. To be honest I only was willing to give it 2-3 minutes before I made an excuse to end the conversation and get sucked into the void of Netflix. However when truly listening, I became more intrigued and found myself lost in great conversation. It didn’t even feel like two hours and was the best way to unwind that day. A common relationship transforms when you give it uncommon effort. Think about a friendship, marriage, partnership or any relationship that has gone stale. It takes effort to get you through the tough or even disconnected times to transform it. It doesn’t mean that the relationship remains the same but with effort you both can change together. Some of my best friends are ex-girlfriends that became great friends when we transformed the ending of a relationship into something new and sustainable.
An unremarkable event becomes something special when you spice it up with creativity. My wife Vivienne for instance, has a knack for this. We hosted a simple mix and mingler a while back. Now I am happy with beer and wings but my Viv added fun table settings, door prizes, networking games and an upbeat playlist. I came home that day and there she was sitting at the kitchen table creating these handmade cards. Guests left raving about how much fun they had and how they appreciated the effort.
No matter what it is in life, we will always have days that are just off. The key is to try to make whatever event, moment, conversation or thought that you are feeling more meaningful by putting effort in changing it. Simply said, You can make anything more important by giving your best.