Most of us have a pretty good idea of who we are.
We see ourselves as the sum collection of our skills, our roles in society, our relationships, possessions, the impact we’ve had, and our core character.
We’d like to believe that we are nice to others, respectful, fair, and that when people think about us, they see us in a positive light.
But if we’re really honest with ourselves, the way we lead our daily lives may not exactly line up with who we’d like to believe we are.
I’d like to invite you into a brilliant thought experiment posed by Todd Henry in his book Die Empty.
In the book, Todd challenges his readers, and himself, to consider how we are really leading our lives.
Here is Todd’s thought experiment:
“Imagine you will have a guest accompanying you throughout your day tomorrow. This person’s task will be to follow you around from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep.
They will take copious notes about your schedule, how you interact with those around you, how you engage in your tasks and projects, and your mind-set throughout it all.
Once the day is over, this person will spend the next few days processing their observations, draw conclusions about your motivations, and compile their notes into a book about you that will stand as the definitive record of your life and work.
How would you act differently tomorrow if you knew that your actions and attitude on that one day were going to be a permanent testament to your life?”
Think about that: what you did on that one day, how you treated others, where you chose to focus your time and energy – that will be the permanent record of what you leave for the world.
If you consider today to have been the observation day, are you satisfied with that serving as the indicator of your life? How about yesterday? Or the day before?
If we’re honest with ourselves, it would be hard to pick any day that we’d want to serve as such a record.
Why is that?
Because when we’re really honest, we realize that we don’t often live our lives in true accordance with the way we’d like to live our lives.
But the good news is that tomorrow can be different.
Here’s how: as often as possible, remind ourselves that our guest is there next to us, observing all our interactions and thoughts. This guest also is very gentle and kind – never judging us. And most importantly, this guest continually reminds us of our better selves – nudging us toward acting in accordance with who we truly want to be.
From such a perspective, all our interactions take on an entirely different feeling. Not only will we experience an incredibly peaceful state, but people around us will sense our loving energy – and be touched accordingly.
Knowing how simple and powerful this can be, how will you act differently tomorrow?
Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the idea of having a very special guest accompany us in all our daily interactions – and experience the wonderful joy that results from such a day. I look forward to seeing you then.