Today is the best day of your life
I will get to why today is the best day of your life in a moment. But first I have some questions.
How many times a day do you find yourself saying to someone, “How’s it going?” How many times does someone say this to you? Perhaps you are at the counter at your gas station or you are checking out in the grocery store. It is one of the most common things we say and hear each day and it is entirely too rhetorical. It’s one of life’s most important questions and yet we tend to throw it out like cold fries on a paper lined tray. We often just go through the motions in life and never stop to ponder the simplest and sometimes most profound things in life.
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A story that changed my life
One of my dad’s best friends was an eyeglasses distributor and he made his living on the road selling eyeglasses to doctors around the mid-west. His name was Harry and he had a ball every single day of his life. He would take the simplest of things, the most common moments, and turn them into show stopping events. He would rattle the cage of nearly everyone he met, and he’d blend his impressive sense of humor with life lessons.
As a child, it was so fun to hear all the little mind games he’d play with people. He didn’t play them to make fun of people or to upset them in anyway, he would engage in mental jousting with others, many of whom were strangers, because he wanted people to go through life fully awake. His stories made a real impact on me and I am certain they influenced my creativity and willingness to leave my comfort zone at an early age. Something that has served me all my life.
A clown in the car
One of my favorite Harry stories related to his necessity of going through toll booths in northern Illinois. These were the days before speed passes and everyone had to line up in the gated booths like horses at the derby. Tolls didn’t cost too much, they were more of a hassle than anything else. So, in a typical Harry moment, he had fun with this daily, monotonous endeavor. Harry carried a simple pair of dark rimmed glasses, that had a banana nose fastened on them, and a Groucho Marx mustache to finish them off. Every time he would go through the toll booth he would put them on before arriving.
That is pretty funny in and of itself to me, and I am sure the toll booth attendants got a kick out of it. That must be one of the most boring jobs on earth, and any variety like this was sure to be one of those moments that spiced up the day. But Harry didn’t stop there.
Giving to the world around him
Harry always wanted to give back to the world around him. Sometimes with humor. Sometimes with cash. Harry would always pay for himself and whoever the car was behind him. Total strangers every time. When the car pulled up to the booth behind Harry, the attendant invariably told them they were paid for. Incredulous questioning of who paid for them no doubt ensued with the booth attendant simply replying, “The guy with the banana nose paid for you.”
Harry would describe how these travelers would race to catch up to him, just to see who it was that paid for them. He would never look at them. He would sense their vehicle pull up alongside his, but he would keep looking straightforward with his banana nose pointing directly ahead. Of course, he’d have a mischievous grin on his face to finish his costume off, but he’d never wreck that moment. He wanted the confusion of the strangers to last as long as possible. It was Harry’s way of waking others up. He wanted to break them free from the ice tray of life. Snapping, twisting, and shaking them loose.
Making a lifelong impression
I bet some of those people still speak of those moments today. After all, I am, and I wasn’t even there. The visual grabbed me like a favorite movie scene. Every time I pass a toll booth, or see bananas, I think of Harry’s story.
Have you ever been stuck in a rut? Do you ever feel like you are going through the motions? Have you lost your sense of humor a little bit over time? Are you afraid of leaving your comfort zone? Do you wonder where time has gone? Do you need to be shaken loose from the monotony of your life?
I’ve shared how to live your life golden, but let’s create a banana nose moment for you right now. After all, you’ve read this far and I think you deserve a little reward for that. I see a virtual toll booth coming up on your life’s road so here goes…
“How’s it going?”
This moment is even more common in life than a toll booth, so you will see it all the time. Saying, “How’s it going?” is just as monotonous as waiting in a toll booth line, but from this moment forward it will never be the same.
The next time someone says to you at a checkout line, “How’s it going?”
Rather than put on a banana nose, I want you to answer them with the following, “Today is great, it’s the best day of your life!”
Based on experience, you will get the same incredulity of those unsuspecting travelers. The most common response is, “What? [with a very confused look on their face]” After repeating yourself, the next most common response is, “Why is that? [with a wry smile]”
The reason you can be so confident in telling this person with conviction that this is the very best day of their life is for two simple reasons and one glorious fact.
Yesterday is gone forever. No matter what you do, no matter how much you wish, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that you can do to get yesterday back. Whether yesterday was good or bad or ugly, its gone. It’s toast – never to be the soft bread of life again. Like a book that’s been written, it’s just another chapter in your life’s story. There will be no editing, no external review. The things you did, the things that happened to you, they are forever done and there is no going back. Ever.
Tomorrow NEVER comes. You may think it does, but it doesn’t. I’ve proven it to myself. There is a bar in Rhinelander, WI that declares on its roof top façade, “Free Beer Tomorrow.” Every time I’ve ever gone in they say there is no free beer today, you must come in tomorrow. The reason tomorrow never comes is that you can’t actually do anything tomorrow, by wishing to do it today.
One Glorious Fact:
Which leads us to one glorious fact. Today is the best day of your life because you get to write your life’s story. Today is your day to take all of your hopes and dreams of tomorrow and to take the steps necessary TODAY to make them your reality tomorrow and part of your future history of yesterdays. But you only get one day in your life to actually write your story. To create your life. To make the universe bend to your will. And that one day is today. One day only, and you get that chance today.
Today is the best day of your life
I promise you, from this day forward, you will never forget this. Like someone telling you not to picture a pink elephant,
you will no longer be able to think of anything else the next time someone says, “How’s it going?”
Whether you have the guts to actually answer someone with the conviction outlined above is entirely up to you. Whether you answer the question, “How’s it going?” With, “Today is great, it’s the best day of your life!” is your choice.
Not everyone would rush out to buy a banana nose just because of the toll booth story. I didn’t even rush out to buy a banana nose costume just from hearing the story. [I did buy a funny wig for traveling because of it, but that’s a rope for another time]
After hearing the banana nose story, I could never let it go. I had to tell that banana nose story to others. I had to remind myself of it every time I felt I needed a wake up call in life. And that’s why Harry did it. Harry did it to wake people up. He did it to jar people loose from the rut of life. Harry did something so far out of the ordinary that people would choose to remember and share the “extra” ordinary story.
You are extraordinary
So next time you hear someone say, or you say to someone else yourself, “How’s it going?”
I want you to remember the 2 reasons and the 1 glorious fact of why today is the best day of your life.
No matter what you do, you can never go back. No matter how much you want it, tomorrow never comes. Your entire life, everything you can ever actually do, comes down to one day only. Today.
What will you do today to make this the best day of your life?