One of the challenges I find myself faced with a lot is an inability to recognize and appreciate my successes. I mean, I know they happened, but I find myself already focusing on the next challenge without taking a moment to appreciate overcoming the last one.
Sometimes it seems like before I’ve even reached the summit of one mountain I’m planning the ascent of another.
Problem is, always focusing on the next thing may keep you occupied but it doesn’t necessarily keep you happy.
It’s kind of like Ferris Bueller says: “Life happens fast. If you don’t slow down and look around once in a while you might just miss it.”
Taking the time to appreciate our successes is one of those things that can easily seem useless but is VITAL to our happiness. Like a parent taking some time for themselves or a couple taking the time to go on an actual date after they’ve been together for a while.
It feels unnecessary and frivolous, but in reality it gives us a chance to recharge and refocus.
Think of an athlete or anyone at the gym. You can’t just keep working out all day every day because your muscles need a chance to recover – to get ready for the next round.
In “Startup Life” Brad Feld and his wife Amy talk about the importance of taking an unplugged vacation together on a regular basis.
It’s not to just get away. It gives them a chance to form a deeper connection between them and remind themselves why they’re together. Bonus: they get to work through any issues they’re experiencing without the distractions of their day-to-day.
And most importantly, that next big challenge usually ain’t goin’ anywhere for the next day or so. We use the time we have regardless of how much or how little there is.
If we take ten minutes to focus on and appreciate the present, there’s a good chance we’ll be much more capable of handling whatever challenges lie in wait.
We can’t control the future and we can’t change the past but if we take a minute to breathe between the two we give ourselves a much better chance to make the most of whatever opportunities the next set of challenges create.
I know I have a lot more to do. I know my task list feels a mile long. But if I start appreciating every minor milestone, I then that’s a mile worth of things I can feel good about.
And feeling good about what you’ve done is always a good foundation for doing even more.