By Leo Babauta
Three people are given a magical gift by a luminous, kindhearted fairy.
The gift is that for just one hour, they get to experience magic and wonders. This limited time is filled with visual delights, food of the utmost deliciousness, amazing people with incredible talents, and love.
The first person is a great man, and while he’s grateful for the gift, he has lots to do and so regrettably has to spend a lot of it replying to emails and texts, and checking for updates in social media. He does take some pictures of the delicious food and shares it on social media, though he doesn’t pay attention to the taste.
The second person is a bit of procrastinator (OK, let’s be honest: a big procrastinator), and while she really wants to use this gift wisely, she keeps putting it off. She spends much of the hour watching videos the first guy posts online of the magical world, but she doesn’t go out and experience it herself.
The third person is blown away by this gift. What an incredible opportunity! She realizes she needs to make the most of it, but isn’t sure how.
So she starts by paying attention. She notices every little detail. She listens to the amazing people she meets, and tries to really see them for who they are. She tastes the food and pays close attention to every sensation as she eats, savoring the food slowly.
She then practices gratitude for every moment, every person, everything she’s given. She’s filled with happiness by every little thing in this hour.
Finally, she changes people’s lives. She uses what’s left of this dwindling hour to learn magic skills, to heal people who are struggling (including the first guy), to make things to delight the other amazing people in this magical world.
She becomes the gift for others.
The hour is over, and the first two people realize they’ve wasted the gift, and will never get it again. They’re filled with regret. The third person has no regrets, because she paid attention, was grateful, and used the magic to change lives. She used the gift to its fullest potential.
Which of those three people are you?
Zen Habits on my list of daily blog reads. Leo published this story a few days ago. I wanted to put it on my website so that I will hopefully read it again and again.
And I wanted to share it. These few words are a beautiful reminder to me of what I really want to accomplish in life. While I may not be like the first man, answering emails and checking websites I do tend to busy myself with important tasks like folding clothes and making supper and keeping the shoes off the floor and in the shoe basket! (Deep breath.)
Like the second person I can easily put things off. After I get a shower, tomorrow when I’m rested, when the house is clean and I’ve learned just how to do the graphics just right.
In the story it’s clear that the third person has things a little figured out. In real life it’s not that easy. But sometimes a few words can help you focus.
Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 on Zenhabits.net