I recently watched the movie Boyhood and like many people was completely blown away. For anyone who hasn't heard about it, or missed the Golden Globes, Boyhood was filmed over twelve years and follows a divorced mother, her children and their father as they go through life. The issues they face over the years are not particularly remarkable -- they are the small moments that together make up their lives.
It's got me thinking about small moments and everyday choices and how they shape life. Our lives are made up of monumental moments, some planned -- a wedding day, the birth of a child, getting a new job and unplanned ones -- meeting your partner, learning you or a loved one is ill, losing your job, being unexpectedly offered a new opportunity. These things (and there are so many more) help shape the direction of your life, but additionally, it is the small moments and the myriad of decisions you make in and around those moments that in many ways ultimately define your destiny.
Watching Boyhood, and seeing the characters actually age (as opposed to a Hollywood version), makes you feel privy to a view into a life that you almost shouldn't be seeing. It's a truly intimate look into what makes up a life.
The other day, talking with someone who is getting divorced I remembered the moment I decided to get divorced. I was in Venice on a business trip and my now ex-husband came along. It was meant to be that the trip itself was the big moment. During the last day we were there, walking around, we got into yet another argument and I just looked over at him and thought to myself "I am done." I didn't say a word right then and it took months for it to become a reality but in that moment, I had an epiphany. A small moment that became a big one.
So if life is a series of some big moments and decisions mixed in with many small moments - how do you make the most of the small moments -- enjoy them, understand them to their fullest and make them count? Mindfully living your life as opposed to distractedly going through it. In business, how do you make sure they count -- mindfully ensuring that you are doing everything you need to for your client or business.
Here are five things to do to make your small moments count:
1. Be present: It seems that everyone is so distracted these days by technology and everything it brings that it is just too easy to miss what is actually happening around you and even to you.
2. Be mindful: As you are being present in the moment, be mindful of what is happening and focus on your day and each event as you go through it.
3. Enjoy the moment: Life is busy and life is stressful and at times it is hard to just enjoy what is happening right then and there. Even when you have so many things coming up or to get done by the end of the day. Enjoy what you are experiencing right then. And if it is not something to enjoy- be aware of how you are feeling and truly allow yourself to experience your emotions.
4. Be grateful: Sometimes it is hard to be grateful. Especially in the little moments. But no matter what you are doing try to be grateful for all that you do have and have been given.
5. Understand when to look at the big picture: Some small moments are just that and some lead to big life decisions. By being present and mindful you will have the resources to understand whether this a precursor to something bigger or is this just a moment I am currently in.
As I write this, I am waiting for my son to get home. It is five minutes until his curfew and am just beginning to worry -- and as I hear his car pull into the driveway, I remember that this is a small moment, and yet, now that he is home and safe, with my daughter sleeping in her room and my husband and our dogs asleep in our room, I can go to sleep, too. A small moment to be sure - but part of the fabric of my life. Which ultimately is a pretty terrific thing.