My Best Day So Far

November 4, 2008
My Friend George Durrant

My Friend George Durrant

As a student at BYU I had the opportunity to take a few classes from George Durrant. I was always excited to take his classes. He was a popular professor on campus, mostly due to his ability to interlace strong academia with clever humor. He was poignant and funny and most days had some motivating sentiment to help you get through the day. So much so, that he also became a popular author.

His books like his classes, were filled with wisdom that anyone could use and humor that made every page a joy. During that time, I was beginning my journey to become a professional speaker. He always had good advice that he was willing to share on how to keep an audience while teaching principles that matter. I was lucky to have enough out of classroom interaction with him that I came to a point where was able to call him my friend.

In the years that I was at BYU he wrote what in my opinion was the best of all his books. It was titled, “My Best Day So Far.” The book was filled with ideas on how to make each day better than the one before. However, the “big idea” behind the book was that each day could become your “Best Day So Far” if you simply said that it was. It was a wonderful idea. Wonderful, because its implementation took hardly any effort at all, but the result was monumental.

It wasn’t a ground breaking idea, or one that made all the papers, but what was amazing about the concept was the way the man lived by it. More amazing still, was the way Professor Durrant used the concept in his life. From the time that he first told me about this idea for his book to the last time I saw him, every time I asked him how he was I received the same response. “It’s my best day so far,” he’d reply. It was incredible. The man never missed. Over and over I asked and over and over I received the same response, “My best day so far.”

The idea worked. I know every day I saw him didn’t start out as his best day, but hearing his own affirmation made it so. You could see it on his face. It always carried a smile, it was always filled with joy. What’s more, his example motivated me to give this idea a try. I never became a successful at it as he was, but on the days that I remembered to tell others that it was, “My best day so far,” something interesting happened. No matter how the day was going, it always improved when I used George Durrant’s affirmation.

I know that there were days when the reply wasn’t exactly true. There were days that weren’t necessarily my best so far, but by allowing myself to hear that it was always made the day better. The more I put the concept to use in my life the more “best days” I had.

Each of us has seen this principle work to some degree or another in our lives. If we wake up sure that the day is going to be a bad one, sure we are going to feel ill or down, we began to see those assurances come to pass. What then might happen if from the very beginning of each day we tell ourselves and others that it was going to be our, “Best day so far.”

Try it. I know that you’ll find out exactly what I did; that it works. That every day you decide can be your best so far has a chance to become exactly that.

Let’s resolve then to follow George Durrant’s example. Let’s find the good in every day that comes. For I know from personal experience, that every day could be your last. We have no idea what each new day holds in store for us. But with a “Best day so far” mindset we will more fully enjoy and relish the gift that every day is.

So, “How’s your day?”


Bulls or Bears?

October 9, 2008

As the economy continually swings back and forth we often hear about bulls and bears. A bullish market is one on the rise, a market that is doing well. A bearish market on the other hand is one in decline and filled with concern. As I watch the evening news and hear these terms they not only remind me of the market but they remind me of the choice I get every day of my life.

Each year as the new year approaches my father asks us how we feel about our opportunities for the coming 12 months. He’s big on goal setting and so New Year’s resolutions are right up his alley. Regardless of what your answer is, he’ll always tell you how optimistic he is about the new year. “I’m bullish about 2009,” he’ll say. No matter the year, he’s always bullish about the time ahead.

He is the ultimate optimist. He sees the good in every situation, and the potential in every person. Not once in my entire life have I ever gone to my father with an idea that he is told me it is impossible to accomplish. If he were placed in the middle of the largest ocean with only a 2 x 4 and a toothpick, he’d hop aboard the 2 x 4 and row for shore.

In my life I want to be the same; and it’s something I work on every day. I am quite sure that that is the only way to be that kind of a consistent optimist. It’s easy to be “bullish” on the good days and “bearish” on the bad. But keeping a positive mindset and optimistic outlook through the good and the bad takes real work.

In New York City, near Wall Street, there is a bronze statue called the “Charging Bull.”  After the stock market crash of 1987, Arturo Di Modica spent over $360,000 of his own money to create the statue. Of his own accord, as a Christmas gift to the people of America he placed the statue in front of the stock exchange as a symbol of the, “strength and power of the American people.” The police seized the sculpture, but eventually the Department of Parks and recreation installed it on their own a few blocks away.

When you look at the bull today, you’ll notice that its nose is lighter than the rest of its body. This tarnishing is a direct result of all the brokers who touched the Bulls nose on their way into the market. They touch the statue hoping for a bullish day.

What if we did the same? What if every day we entered our lives we took a moment to remind ourselves to have a bullish life? All sorts of things to be our “Charging Bull.” Maybe a positive quote placed somewhere that we will see a multiple times a day, maybe a saying that we can repeat ourselves at the beginning of each day. Maybe, we find a little trinket in the form of a bull.

What our “Charging Bull” is doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we find some way to remind ourselves to play the optimist instead of the pessimist. If we will, no matter how deep the ocean we find ourselves stranded in, and no matter what tools we have to work with, every day we will row for shore.