Pay Attention

“Even the simplest actions you take . . . matter beyond measure . . . and they matter forever.” Andy Andrews   Source: The Noticer

Close calls in death are not the only big moments we forever remember. Special occasions are usually not forgotten. Weddings, graduations, awards, games, birthdays, et cetera —   the list goes on.

Within a single instant, we can remember when life changed for us. What about that moment when we learned an invaluable life lesson? If we add the close calls, plus all the other special moments when death was not imminent, the list could be quite large.

Recently, I was talking to Marc, the gentleman who was responsible for introducing my daughter, Kelly, to her future husband, Larry. Nothing unusual about that event – it happens all the time. He told me the rest of the story replete with myriad individual circumstances that, strung together one after another, led to that moment when my daughter and son-in-law first met. Not lottery odds, but still something so rare that it was not likely to happen. Yet, it did happen. And today, Kelly and Larry have six children. Was their meeting just a coincidence? Marc did not think so, strongly stating his belief.

Views on why things like this happen are as varied as the individuals affected. Differing opinions are countless, and I have heard many of them over the years. I love this discussion!

Today, however, rather than focusing on why things like this occur I would like to suggest something that may be even more important: These rare events happen more often than we might think. There are no small moments. And because life is filled with numerous important moments, we risk missing something vital that we would not want to miss – a special once-in-a-lifetime event, if we do not pay attention.

We do not know if the person we meet today will be instrumental in changing our life forever. We cannot make that assumption. There are many examples that all of us could share that negate this conclusion. It could be someone in the checkout line at the grocery store; perhaps someone we meet at a party or social event; or how about a seemingly simple sentence spoken by someone we have known for years? We have heard those exact words throughout life, but today we hear it differently, as if for the first time. This Newsletter could contain that one sentence for you. If it does, I hope you are listening.

In my own life, I have had many of these experiences – the one instant special moment. Many years ago, one of those special events led to my saving another person’s life. That story is covered in detail within a chapter of my first book, There are No Small Moments. That life-changing event actually served as the inspiration for my writing that book, and the dedication of one of the chapters in the book. After that incident, I made a decision to start really noticing everything I encounter – not just mere observation, but noticing with a real purpose. What I discovered is that there are a lot more of these rare instances than what I would ever have anticipated. I no longer find them surprising. In fact, I expect to discover something new every day that has significance for me, for which I did not plan. And because of this fact, I look forward to it. I now look for possibilities in absolutely everything.

In truth, the very act of breathing . . . having a heartbeat . . . is a great moment each day. Try to get by without breathing or heartbeats – even for one minute. It is not possible. A friend from New Jersey, Ted Fattaross, articulately stated within a short sentence, “Every day above ground is a great day.”

I do not know how important every moment is going to be today. But, there is the possibility that greatness may come at any time. If it is possible, should I decide to live my life with the expectation of that possibility? Absolutely, in my deepest heart I know so. I have seen and experienced many important things in the latest chapters of my life: Because I decided to notice!

You have the option to live this day as routine and ordinary, as most of us do every single day. But, you also have the option to live it with the understanding that this time in your life – these precious moments – are extraordinary and not duplicated in your lifetime. The potential for just today, one single day is so large that it exceeds a multiple of great things that have already occurred in your life. Wow! You can realize that potential by first being the person who is ready to notice what your life has to offer. Are you doing this now?

It might be difficult, perhaps not logical, to live this day as if it is the last day of my life. I do not suggest that approach. But, there is no reason we cannot live it with the expectation of greatness. We may save a life in the moments ahead (an experience I have had more than once). Your own life might be saved, too. One change today could affect another person forever. Or, it could affect thousands. It could actually even change the world! Do you believe this?

Today, are you paying attention? What are you noticing? What are you doing about what you are seeing and experiencing?