I remember waking up as a kid on Christmas, heavy with anticipation. Waking up early never came naturally to me, but usually I was up before seven in the morning. It wasn't just that good things were about to happen to me, it was that those good things were also surprises.
As I woke up this morning, I realized that now that I'm an adult, I feel the same way every day. Not necessarily because of physical goods, although I am pretty excited that my Japanese-style bidet is coming today, but because of opportunity.
Most people seem to hate email, and I can only assume that it's because of what working a real job does to one's email. I love email. Sometimes I don't get enough sleep because I wake up at eight, can't resist checking my email, and then can't go back to sleep.
I like email because it's the means by which opportunity often comes into my life. But it's really just a symbol. Maybe my favorite thing about life is that every day truly is a surprise, and through good decision making those suprises can be built upon.
Less than a week ago I spent a day in Tokyo co-working with my friend Sebastian Marshall. Through some unfocused but productive web browsing I came across a company to partner with on Cruise Sheet which will drastically increase my revenue and also improve the product. I had no expectation of that, but now my life is better.
Yesterday I happened upon some free front-row tickets to Cirque du Soleil's Mystere, so I took a girl who messaged me online. Shows are terrible for first dates, but it was at least a fun event I didn't expect that morning.
This morning one of my friends texted me to let me know that she won a blogging award for a piece she wrote about a cruise that we and some other friends went on. I guess that doesn't really affect my directly, but it's still a bit of unexpected good news.
Maybe today will be a boring day, or maybe something bad will happen, but I generally expect that unexpected good things will happen to me far more often than bad ones do, and that's proven to be true so far.
I understand, of course, that I am lucky. I've had plenty of opportunities through no achievement of my own that have helped me get to a position where mostly good things happen to me. But I also do a few critical things that contribute to every day feeling like Christmas, and I think you can do these, too.
First, I try to do the right thing. I don't always succeed, and sometimes the options available are two actions fraught with compromise, but in general I do what I believe to be right, even if it is not in my best short-term interests.
Second, I put myself out there. I make myself, my positions, my past, and my goals all public. This can be scary and can also turn people away from me, but mostly it draws people in. It helps people with whom I have things in common connect with me.
Last, I take opportunities. When something comes my way that seems to be a good thing, I'm more likely than not to follow it and see what may come. I don't have much fear of failure or fear of success, and if I do I tend to push through it. I'm willing to push my comfort zone. That doesn't increase how many opportunities come my way, but it does mean that they actually become good things instead of pipe dreams.
How do you feel about life? Is every day Christmas? If it's not, maybe take a look at what's getting in the way and see if you can remove it or move around it. And if you aren't already, do the right thing, put yourself out there, and take the opportunities that come your way.
Photo is plum blossoms on a cool public roof garden in Daikanyama, Tokyo.
If you use AWS and want a 25% discount on your bill for the next 8 months, email me at my name at my name dot com.
Obviously your health is good. In the morning, before I got out of bed, I used to literally say, "Its gonna be a great day!" Cuz I felt that way. Having an illness makes it less exciting to look forward to your day.
Yesterday was Christmas. I spent it in New Jersey with my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and three of my cousins. We played board games (Scattergories!), ate Christmas dinner together, and I "helped" my cousins play with their new toys they got for Christmas.
And then, in between those events, I did two hours of Japanese practice and also spent time writing content for Life Nomadic.
I have a lot of good habits as well as a lot of bad habits, but one of my best is that I treat every day equally.
I used to dislike to work. I saw how most people lived their lives, slogging through work that they hated, and I was determined not to fall into that trap. I made the mistake of generalizing, lumping all work together in the same bucket.
Since then, things have changed. In terms of monumental personal life changes, becoming a hard worker is the most recent one I've undergone. About a year ago, for reasons I touched on in this post, I decided that it was imperative for me to become a hard worker. I didn't do it because I had suddenly fallen in love with work, but rather because I had began to feel as though I was behind. And believe me, it wasn't love at first sight.
To fall in love with hard work, you must understand why it's necessary. When I was young I was told that sugar was bad, but I never understood exactly why it was bad, so I kept eating it. Only when I learned how it chemically affected my body did I finally give it up. The same is true of work-- if you don't know why you have to work hard and love it, you'll probably never actually do it.
Work is your gift to the world. That sounds corny, but it's true. And believe me, you owe the world a gift or two. Think of all of the various things that millions of people around the world have done for you to enjoy the life you have. They made up languages, invented stuff, procreated at the exact right times to create your ancestry, and managed to not kill each other in the process. We're lucky to be here, and the high standard of living we all enjoy now is only because of those who came before us. Some, like Einstein, had huge impact, but even people you don't notice, like the janitors, are making your life better.