“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – Elwyn Brooks White
This sounds like a great outlook each day–one in which Elwyn’s priorities are always in the right place. Life truly would be a fascinating experience if I were able to see this dilemma each day I awoke. It is my choice, however, to focus on what is important to me, to decide what lies before me each day. And since it is my choice, perhaps it makes sense to make these two desires my primary focal points each morning.
It is within our power to improve the world. The power and ability to improve, encourage, create, clean, recycle, teach, rejuvenate, restore, and care for, among many other possible actions. Any positive contribution that we make to the world, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, works to improve it.
Moreover, life is full of so much beauty and wonderful things to enjoy! The sun on a cool day, the beaches, the wind on your face, cold lemonade and ice cream, the laughter of children, and so much more. And if I decide to enjoy whatever the day brings my way, then I am setting myself up for a pleasant day indeed. Yes, there will occasionally be illnesses and unpleasant things that are not very enjoyable, but most of us have it within our power to decide to enjoy our circumstances and surroundings if we but take advantage of the possibilities.
Planning our days need not be difficult. Elwyn knows that there is no need to choose between the two approaches–they are complementary, and we can always choose to pursue both goals each day of our lives.
Find enjoyment today–and then make the world a little better because today has happened.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of things can you do to improve the world today?
What kinds of things can you enjoy today?
How might you find ways to contribute more and to enjoy doing so?
For further thought:
“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look. To affect the quality of the day–that is the highest of arts.” – Henry David Thoreau