My wife and I started a Jar of Awesome last January. (Happy New Year everyone, by the way). I was first exposed to the idea by a podcast from Tim Ferriss I listened to, but I’m not sure the actual origin of the idea.
What is a Jar of Awesome? It’s just a jar that you keep in plain sight, and as awesome things happen, you quickly jot them down and drop them in the jar. When New Year’s Eve comes around, you take them all out and read them, reminding yourself of all the awesomeness in your life. If you’d like to learn more, a quick search online pulls up tons of resources.
Over coffee this morning, we dumped the scraps of paper and took turns reading every single one of them aloud. The whole thing took about 5 minutes.
Here are the three things I took away from the exercise:
The slips of paper from 2017 have found their way to the recycling, and the Jar is set up for the coming year.
There is one slip already in there: “Completing the Jar of Awesome for 2017.”
Years ago, I was moving into my new apartment. I had a 14-foot truck I had rented to get my stuff in, having been told that I could just pull up to the back when I arrived, through the back gate.
As soon as I got there, it was obvious to me there was no way it was going to fit underneath the top of the gate – the clearance was too low. I mean, like, by two feet. Any reasonable person would agree, just by looking.
As I was backing away to figure out Plan B, a guy in a BMW started to come out of that same parking lot, and he decided to stop and give me some advice. He asked me if I was moving in. “Yes,” I said. He said. “why don’t you just pull the truck into the parking lot?” I responded curtly, “The truck won’t fit.”
He paused. He looked at the height of the truck. He looked at the gate.
He looked me straight in the eye and with a slight shrug of his shoulder a hitch of his head said, “Give it a shot.”
I smiled. He’s serious – that much I could tell. I said okay.
I tried. Of course it didn’t fit. I had to park in the alley as my Plan B.
But the significance of that frame of mind wasn’t lost on me. I knew it wasn’t going to work. So did he, after he looked at it for a second.
My attitude was to give up. His was to give it a shot anyway.
I will remember that lesson for the rest of my life. I never saw him again. Heck, he might have just been visiting someone there.
But I have subsequently been giving things a shot, even if at first glance, it seems impossible.
Now, I’m not delusional – I know trying to fit that truck under that clearance wasn’t going to work, and no matter how much I wished, or pretended, or wanted the truck to fit, it wasn’t.
That’s not the point. Because I realized upon reflection later that I often didn’t try – didn’t give it a shot – on things I was much less certain would fail. Giving up without even trying was something I was doing often.
As we begin the new year, no matter where you are on the spectrum, I challenge you to increase your willingness to find ways to implement this.
Give it a shot.