Each article in Balanced Achievement’s ‘Conscious Questions’ series focuses on a particular question that you can ask yourself to increase your levels of success, happiness and fulfillment. By consciously asking yourself transformative questions that are geared towards inner exploration and personal growth, you will be able to get in touch with untapped creative resources and find innovative ways to get the most out of life. In this article, we look at the question ‘How can I make today memorable?’
Unless we consciously think about the deeper significance of time measurement tools such as the clock and calendar, these everyday instruments serve little purpose beyond reminding us of the passing time. Unfortunately, as the hours turn into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, most of us continue to live as if we don’t truly comprehend the fragile position were in. This ignorant view towards life is all to apparent to see when thinking about how the vast majority of us approach each passing day. Instead of seizing the opportunities to offer gratitude for the gifts we have been given and to act in ways that’ll increase our levels of subjective well-being, we naively resort to labeling each and everyday as ‘just another one’.
While it is quite easy to ignorantly assume that each passing day is meaningless in the grand scheme of things, the truth is that each of us inherently knows that our time on this earth is limited in nature. Because of the fateful truth that we will all face, and because we typically take life for granted, getting the most out of each day should be the foremost objective for each and everyone of us. Fortunately, by regularly asking ourselves and reflecting on the question ‘How can I make today memorable?‘, each of us can consciously replace our view of complacency with a sense of life-affirming urgency.
The Universal Truth of Impermanence:
It was some 2,500 years ago, after a lengthy six year process of searching within himself, when Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and forever became the Buddha. During his journey towards ultimate self-realization, Siddhartha acquired vast knowledge about the ultimate truths that govern our existence, which would form the basis of his future teachings, and deep within the framework of what is now considered Buddhist theology is an all important teaching that illuminates both the reality of death and the importance of getting the most out of each day. In fact, it is the Buddha’s teachings on impermanence that help show why regularly asking the question ‘How can I make today memorable?’ is such a life-affirming practice.
While the entirety of the cherished Buddhist teachings on impermanence, which is considered to be one of the three marks of existence, are vast and complex in nature, the basic premise is that each and every person, place, and thing in this universe is ceaselessly changing and has no permanent solidity. Just as the weather of the seasons are continuously fluctuating and the colors of the trees forever changing, so to are the various dimensions that make up who we are as people until the process of old-age and decay. It was only by coming to realize that his body, thoughts, and emotions were ungraspable and always changing, that the Buddha was able to settle into the present moment where true happiness is found. This means that because our lives are impermanent at every level and our time on this earth is limited, the most life-affirming step we can take is to focus on getting the most out of each day. It is for the reason of impermanence that the Buddha once told us:
Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.”
Understanding & Perspective Determine Our Reality:
If we take the time to really analyze our lives, the ultimate truths of impermanence, old age and death will become all to apparent to see. Yet without consciously bringing these most basic fact of life into our awareness, they remain but distant thoughts of what seems to be an imaginary reality. We know that one day our lives will come to an end, but our daily actions, cognitions and emotions typically don’t represent this ultimate truth. If our behaviors, thoughts and moods did reflect it, then we would passionately aim to make each day as memorable as it could possibly be.
There is no doubting the immensely beneficial capabilities of the human brain, but it is from this power that our ignorance towards the realities of impermanence and death arise. In fact, it is directly due to our cognitive and biological makeup that each one of us naturally operates from a perspective shaped by a bias towards negativity, safety and greed. The limited amount of days that we have to enjoy on this earth are marred by what often feels like inconvenient and unfair circumstances. Of course, our brains and biological makeup serve us well in many ways, but when we don’t consciously examine their limiting nature, and the truths of life, we forfeit the opportunity to find happiness today. It is for these reasons that the famous Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius once told us:
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Striving to Make Everyday Memorable:
By coming to realize that our lives, and everything within them, are impermanent in nature, we can begin to see that the most important goal each of us has is to get the most out of our limited amount of time. Unfortunately, especially in the western world, all too many individuals see happiness as a destination that’s reached through money, relationships, status and material possessions. In actuality, however, the aims of happiness, joy and subjective well-being can only be accomplished when we view their attainment as a continual process that must be worked towards. Additionally, instead of focusing on acquiring things outside of ourselves, we must focus on creating daily experiences of joy and developing life-affirming qualities such as gratitude and acceptance.
By improving our understanding of the ways that true happiness is created, and asking ourselves ‘How can I make today memorable?’, we can begin increasing our levels of subjective well-being and achieving the goal of getting the most out of each day. While the interests and circumstances of each individual will differ, it is certain that there are a wide variety of ways we can find continuously create happiness while making each day memorable. As you’ll soon discover, you don’t have to take momentous action to make a day worth remembering. In fact, all that it typically takes is small actions aiming to create joy and happiness for yourself and those around you:
Prioritize Relationships & Experiences: Over the past decade, there has been a growing belief within the field of psychology that tells us what truly makes individuals happy are their relationships with others and memorable life experiences. This means that in order to follow through on the goal of making each day memorable, we need to prioritize spending time with people will love and spending our money on experiences rather than things.
Offer Compassion Wherever You Go: While it is easy to assume that happiness is created through achieving in our personal and professional lives, scientific research has recently shown that the opposite is true. When we go about our lives thinking only about me, mine and I, we become fearful, envious, and judgmental. Yet when we focus on creating happiness for others, we begin experiencing the benefits that naturally comes from compassionate behavior.
Take Action Outside of Your Comfort Zone: There are certain activities, situations, and circumstances that scare us to death even though we know they’d be good for us. Whether you’ve previously desired to join a public speaking course, learn how to meditate, ask for a promotion at work, or join the local gym, it is certain that you have the ability to create life-affirming memories by stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Stop Putting Off What You Desire To Do: Throughout an individual’s lifetime, there are unquestionably times when they want to learn a new skill, take steps to improve their life, or pick up a new enjoyable hobby, yet instead of following through on these desires, they resort back to more comfortable habitual behavioral patterns. If you ask yourself ‘How can I make today memorable?’ on an everyday basis, it is certain that the answers you conjure up inside will push you to do the things you’ve long put off.
Commit Yourself to Lifelong Education & Growth: One way that each of us can assuredly make each day memorable is to commit ourselves to lifelong learning and personal growth. If we strive to make ourselves, those around us, and the world a better place on an everyday basis, we are sure to create life-affirming memories of happiness and joy.
Asking Yourself ‘How Can I Make Today Memorable?’:
As the sun rises on each new day, each and everyone of us has the opportunity to approach our lives with happiness, wisdom and grace. By asking ourselves ‘How can I make today memorable?’ each morning when we wake, we can begin to discover a seemingly endless amounts of ways to create memories of the most important kind. In fact, by posing this question to ourselves, and improving our understanding of the realities of life, we will begin to increase our levels of joy in the most important ways. Because each and everyday holds an abundance of beneficial opportunities, and because it is easy to ignore the delicate reality we face, there may not be a better questions to ask yourself then ‘How can I make today memorable?’. It is for precisely these reasons that we will now leave you with a piece of advice from the now immortalized American author Mark Twain. He told us:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”