This is a great quote I read everyday to help me remember to be focused on what I am doing when I am actually doing it. This is loosely quoted from guidance provided to us by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. This is a great reminder that we should focus on what is immediately in front of us and not the hundred things left to do. Think about this…
The Last Time You Washed Your Hands
Think of the last time you washed your hands. What were you thinking about? Were you thinking about the things you have to get from the grocery store? Were you thinking about a rude comment that was said to you earlier? Perhaps you were thinking about going out this Friday night with friends? Most people are NOT really thinking about washing their hands. We tend to gloss over the routine stuff and focus on the past or present, rather than what we are actually doing while we are doing it.
Now, let’s try something a little different…
Mindful Hand Washing
Go to the bathroom and wash your hands. While you are washing your hands, say to yourself, “This may be the last time I ever wash my hands.” Use that thought to help you focus on the right water temperature, the scented soap, the feel of the water going through your fingers and the slickness of the soap against your skin. Think about purposely washing each finger and in between, not forgetting the full top of your hand, as most people only wash a small part of that. When you are done, I imagine you will be able to say to yourself, “If that is the last time I ever wash my hands, it was a good one!!!”
Where Am I Going With This???
The point I am trying to make here is that we need to find pleasure and joy in the small tasks that make up our lives if we want our lives to be more meaningful. If we pay attention to doing the little things in life well, they will add up to bigger and better outcomes. It is often the case where we just gloss over the minor details and rush through life. Don’t do that. There is joy and happiness in the little things, not to mention the potential for bigger things. If you can do the little things well, the big things will tend to take care of themselves.
I know it may seem weird and even grim to say, “Approach each task as if it were your last, as it very well could be.” But this is a great reminder of how to live your life. Focus on the little things and do them well. Find joy in the little things in life.
The first time I really paid attention to washing my hands was pretty great, and I washed them well. If we can approach each thing we do with the thought it may be the last time we do them, we are sure to do them better. We will be sure to do them thoroughly. We will be sure to enjoy what we are doing. This is a big secret to success and joy that is right in front of our faces, but rarely seen.
If you don’t believe the difference it could make, try it for one day. Approach each task as if it were the last time you would ever do it. See for yourself the difference it can make in your life. Do the little things as if they are the greatest things in the world when you do them. You may find hidden treasures in everything you do!!!
Please feel free to leave any comments on whether you think this is bull or you really noticed a difference. I am curious if this sage advice from Marcus Aurelius affects your life the way it has mine!!!