Anyone who has listened to me over the last few years understands that my morning drive to school “drop-off” is one of my favorite times of the day. We’ve even put a calculator to it before and realized that If I would forgo just that 8-minute drive and head straight to work, it could potentially add up to $8-10,000 extra income per year. My family could really use that.
But it’s just not worth it.
I was told the secret about this valuable time from a client years ago. Nikki and I had just had our first baby; there were no thoughts about transit to school or even doing anything similar at. We were still at the diaper and googoo stage; I couldn’t really fathom what he was telling me.
I understand it now though. So much life; sayings, thoughts, laughs and thinking happens in this quick jaunt to start their day. It’s hard to explain.
My drive to school with 4 kids every morning has so much value I don’t think I could put a price to it. Although it’s typically never perfect, sometimes things just click.
My goal is always to drop the kids off with a smile. No matter how bad they feel leaving the house each morning, it is my job to make sure they start their day at school in a good way. It’s Jordan Peterson’s idea that I mention on www.BeAwesome365.com. “If you’re going to do something 10,000x in your lifetime, you better make an effort to become an expert 5th-degree blackbelt at it!”
Repeating things in life, such as Coming home and walking through the front door every day, taking a shower, showing up at work, going to school, and participating in sports. These things add up to a significant chunk of our lifetime. It’s essential to get it right.
If you are going to do things thousands of times, the awareness of “nailing them” either makes it an improvement in your life or wasted time. As small as these things are, they often have the most significant effects and impacts on our life.
Therefore, an increase in the importance and weight I give “taking the kids to school.”
Many times it’s just a fun song that we all sing along to, and other times it’s discussing amazing things that happened to us the day before. Over the last few years, it has been much deeper philosophical moments. We talk about our “Pillars of Life.” The rules and ideas that make our family special. Our values. The way we as a family see and interact in our universe and why actually naming them “Pillars of Life” makes a difference.
Today the kids were interested, and we discussed the idea of awareness. Here’s how it started.
One of my favorite clients was in the office yesterday; this girl brings energy and positivity to everyone she knows. When I saw her name on the schedule, it brightened my day.
Jessica is not a super close friend of mine, I don’t know her at all outside of my clinic, but I decided to start my time with her differently than I had ever done it with any other client.
I walked into the treatment room and said to her, “Before we even get started today, before I even ask you what brings you into the clinic, I just want you to know that I love having you here as a client. You always seem to smile and make me and everyone else on the staff feel happy. I don’t know if it’s some strange energy you have or what it is, but, it’s a great feeling. “
“If I made someone feel this way, I would love it if they’d let me know. It may seem a little strange, but I don’t care; I want you to know that I love having you in here, and you brighten my day!”
Although this was the first time I have done it in my clinic, I have started telling people I am thinking of them more often in my life, especially over the last few years. If I have a dream about some friends from high school or I consciously think about someone I haven’t thought about for a long time, I will send them a quick text message or shout via social media, just letting them know I was thinking about them and that obviously, they had some sort of impact in my life. For the most part, this goes well, and it’s surprising how many people have sent me a message saying, “This couldn’t have come at a better time. I was having some difficulty in my life, and that little burst of positivity got me out of my funk.” Just taking a minute to reach out has become one version of throwing a little positive energy out into the world.
So I continue doing it. But I don’t do it face-to-face very often.
When I started working on this client, I noticed the t-shirt she wore had the message, “Awareness is the remover of obstacles.”
This one hit home to me. I talked about this with my kids the next day on our commute to school.
I am working on the final edits of my first book. It’s about parenting and how we do it in a way that lends itself to more WINS. When reviewing the chapters and main points, it has become apparent that so much of what I am saying in my book is just some form of awareness. In all kinds of situations, it makes your world flow easier.
Awareness, as in situational awareness, is the critical component of safety and personal security.
Awareness that you are having a crappy day and are in a grumpy mood more often than not will automatically click you out of that bad mood. (My wife uses “grumpy cat” as a subtle reminder for me as a subtle reminder. She hangs him by the coffee pot and coveys a lot of awareness with zero words.)
Awareness when things are working out great in your life, and you take a second to acknowledge out loud that you are hitting all the “green lights” exponentially improves your day.
In a country that has spent billions of dollars chasing happiness over the last decade, maybe the term we should be looking for more often is awareness.
Each of my kids showed how awareness has helped them in the last couple of days.
One of my kids mentioned how “on-the-field awareness” changed how they played during a sporting event. They saw something they hadn’t been able to see before in real-time, which changed their decision-making. “If you hadn’t coached me to look for a player at that spot last week, I wouldn’t have even known to look there.”
Another mentioned a test question where they had no idea what either the question or the answers were seeking, but because he took a second to consciously think, “I know this teacher, and I know what she thinks is important and, most likely, what she is looking for on this particular question.” answered correctly.
The youngest, a third grader, mentioned how while seated in the back of the class, he noticed one of his teachers was in a bad mood. The more interested in this he became, the more he watched. He told us he could “see into the future” because he was aware.
That got our attention, “How could you tell the future?”
“Well, it was pretty easy to see who would get in trouble today.”
Like it so often magically does, our conversation got into the profound and absurd.
“Can you imagine the first time an attacking Army came upon the Great Wall of China? There was this giant wall that stretched from Horizon to Horizon. Most likely, the first couple of armies decided there was no way the attack could ever continue, and they went home. But the first person that thought, ‘What does this look like from space?’ would understand that the wall doesn’t go around the entire Empire but is the only protection from one side. The Army could still attack; they would just have to go at it from a different direction.”
For young kids to even think these ideas, some simple, some deep, and some silly, is good for their brains. I love that my wife and I are teaching our kids to see the world from many angles. To imagine themselves somewhere else. I think simple awareness and new types of awareness help with decision making, life tactics, survival skills, relationships, anger, happiness, imagination, and the ability to not see yourself as the center of the entire universe.
It’s important. Awareness. In this case, the understanding that my drive to school each morning is one of the most valuable times of my life. I am positive that 100 years from now, on my deathbed, some of these moments I repeatedly do, completely routine and forgettable, may very well be the best times of my life.