The Gift

What if every day was Christmas?

Most of us probably wake up just as early, or earlier than we do on Christmas Day already. But going to “work” isn’t near as fun as running down the stairs, throwing wrapping paper around all over (seriously, it gets thrown away…why spend time making it look good on the box?? And yes, I suck at wrapping presents so I am biased here.) We run through the routine of eating breakfast, making our coffee so we can make it through the day, and we mindlessly drive the same exact route to work

I have been thinking now for a while that each day does not have to be like that. Each day we should wake up because we have been gifted another day on this planet to make a difference. Every person that we interact with on a day to day basis has something more to give than what we currently see.

Every day can be like Christmas, birthday, or any time we as a society has deemed it appropriate to open gifts and celebrate. I have already talked in my last blog post about celebrating each and every moment(wouldn’t be a good post without a shameless plug for my other posts now would it?) But this post is centered on giving gifts to others, just not the type of physical gift that you might get at Christmas.

“There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.”
Anthony Rapp

Every single person has gifts that they can give on a daily basis to others that make each day that much more fulfilling. There are some gifts that you already have sitting with you, and you can open these gifts by fearlessly being yourself.

The first gift is the gift of time. The clock is always ticking…so it is up to you to determine how you will use that time. It will run out eventually, so make the most of each second you have awake.

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ” Randy Pausch

Giving the gift of time seems easy, but think of how many days go by like a blur, and you are sitting back at home wondering how the heck you got there and wishing you had more time?  You can literally give the gift of time to every single person you interact with on a daily basis. Give the gift of time to your family…call your parents(Mom, I’m going to call after I finish writing this post I swear!)

Give your time to your friends…even if it is for 45 minutes to snag coffee…that gift of time could help someone out more than you realize.

The hardest part about giving the gift of your time is when it involves a stranger. When you pull up to the drive through to snag breakfast in the morning and the line is moving too slow and you get frustrated. You don’t think your time is being utilized to its full potential, do you? You get to the window and you are short with the person who takes your payment and gives you your food. That is one hell of a way to kickoff a day isn’t it? Frustrated and annoyed, and then you get to go into work where big boss isn’t giving you a fair shot, and blah blah blah the day goes by and you’re back on your couch binge watching Netflix, ready to do it again.

That isn’t how it has to be though!

When you stare at the line of cars in front of you and start to get annoyed, press pause. This is one of the R factors that is talked about extensively by Focus3, the consulting group that I have mentioned previously. Remember E+R=O. The response to the slow line of cars will equal the outcome. Lets revisit what happens when you get to the front of the line and are ready to pay. Instead of being short maybe ask the worker, who might be busting their butt because they are short-staffed, how their day is going. Give them a smile! I’m pretty sure science says that smiling makes you and the person you are smiling at happier…and science is awesome guys! Encourage them to have a great day, and drive away knowing that you might have helped that stranger. That outcome is much better than the one above…and yes, you can still binge watch Netflix at the end of the day.

To follow-up with that scenario…what if you even gave another gift to someone in that line. I am sure you have heard the term “random acts of kindness” but what if you thought of them as “random gifts of kindness.” Pay for the guy behind you in that drive through line. Maybe that person will pay it forward, and start one hell of a chain reaction. How cool would that be??

The next gift that absolutely everyone can give, is the gift of hard work. Matt, hard work isn’t a gift…gifts are fun, hard work is not fun…right?? Well voice of the reader that I just created…hard work is actually a gift, and I will now explain.

“A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.”  Randy Pausch

You’ll find that I quote two sources quite often…that is Focus3, and Randy Pausch. Look them up, read their books, follow Brian Kight on Snapchat, it will help you and give you a look into my mentality.

Here is how hard work is actually a gift worth giving (hint, you benefit from giving it also.) When you work really hard at work for example…who does it benefit?

  1. You…because you got your job done the right way
  2. Your boss…because he/she is now happy with your work
  3. Your coworkers…because they are able to do their job better/more efficiently now
  4. Your family…because hard work should lead to continued success and some fatter stacks and yes I am talking about more money which when it comes to raising a family, is a good thing.(I try to be cool…is that you be cool?)

You get the picture, working hard at your job will benefit a lot more people than you think.

But don’t stop the hard work when you get in your car to drive  home because when you get home there is more hard work to be gifted! Work hard at your relationships…even if you have been in a relationship for a long time, if you don’t work hard at being the best partner that you can be…someone else most likely will. There are no short cuts in life. Life is hard, but it is made easier if you work hard at everything that you do.

Back to the original point about Christmas. Have you ever received a gift that you were “super overjoyed” about and “couldn’t wait” to wear it/use it/actually re-gift it because it was a pair of pink polka dot socks and frankly, you don’t wear pink polka dot socks? Disclaimer, if anyone gets me pink polka dot socks…you are damn right I am wearing them. My point here is not about pink polka dot socks. My point is that there are gifts that each person has, unique gifts, that not everyone can give the same way. But what if those unique gifts were opened, and then thrown in the dresser and never used? That would be a shame wouldn’t it. It would almost be  better that someone else has those pink polka dot socks if they would wear them, right?

The last gifts I want to talk about are those unique gifts that you have been given that I now urge you to re-gift to the world. I am not sure if writing is a gift that I have, or if I am just banging away on my keyboard trying to get my thoughts on this screen. But I feel like it is a gift, and I am trying to re-gift it to the world so others can possibly benefit. Some people have the tremendous gift of being a nurse, a doctor, an accountant, or even a basketball player..but they would never be as good at giving it unless they worked hard at it. What if Michael Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, or Curry picked up a basketball but didn’t work hard at honing that talent into a gift that they could then share with the world? We would not have Space Jam, no Black Mamba, no King James, and there would be no such thing as Steph Curry range.

It is easy for me to say “find your unique gift and share it” but it is so much harder to go find that gift. I do believe everyone has a unique gift that they are meant to share with the world…and if you don’t know what yours is yet, you can still give something to the world every day.

In the song “Take a Minute” by K’naan (non shameless plug for a previous post, this actually has a point!) he has two lines that relate to this post very much. The first is early in the song where he says

“And every time I felt the hurt and I felt the givin’ gettin’ me up off the wall”

Giving these gifts every day will not only benefit the person you are giving them to, which is in fact the point, but giving to others will also help you out too. It can help get you out of low places and get you to a higher place.

The other line says this “Cause it ain’t every day that you get to give.”

I simply refuse to accept that is true.

I believe that it is every day that you have a chance to give.

The Gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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