An Everyday Reminder of Impermanence

Earlier this month, I stayed at a hotel while I helped a client. After a few days, I built up a bit of a rapport with the manager working in the lobby. As I walked into the hotel one day, I asked her how her day was going.

“Same old, same old,” she replied with a warm smile.

“But was it really the ‘same old, same old?’” I asked back. After all, she and I hadn’t had this dialogue yesterday! Didn’t that mean today was already different from the “same old, same old” routine?

She and I ended up discussing this a bit more. We both walked away from the conversations with a new perspective. Talking to her gave me the chance to learn about the hotel from her manager’s perspective, while she was able to learn more from a hotel’s guest point-of-view through chatting with me. It might have been a small and casual conversation, but we both walked away learning something new.

For me, it was a reminder that every day offers the chance to diverge from routine, broaden my mindset, and find new opportunities to connect. It also made me think about “impermanence,” one of my favorite words. When something is impermanent, it means it only lasts for a small or certain period of time. In many ways, we’re all impermanent as individuals. We’re always changing, learning, and changing a bit through every interaction, each moment, and each day. Some experiences might be positive and some might be neutral or even negative, but we always have the chance to:

  • Be intentional
  • Stay curious
  • Find a way to grow from every experience or interaction.

Breaking Free of Your “Same Old, Same Old”

To learn lessons and find opportunities in every interaction, it’s all about intention. With intention, we decide what direction we’re going in. We don’t wait around to see what we get or allow circumstances to push us in one direction or another. We get what we expect . . . so why not expect greatness?

To break up my routine and find new opportunities, I add these three simple steps into every day.

  1. Start with intention. When I take my morning shower, I tell myself “This is going to be a great day!” As a result, most of my days are filled with great experiences, because I set myself up to have a positive day.
  2. Think about gratitude. I also like to spend some time each day writing in my gratitude journal. Every day, I write down three thoughts about what I’m grateful for, something I noticed today, and something I brought my attention to. Some days, it might be an interaction with a friend or an observation that I am lucky to have clean water. But everything I write down, no matter how small, is a reminder of impermanence and intentionality.
  3. Add white space. We all need time to pause and reflect, especially when dealing with a negative experience. For me, adding white space to my day means leaving my phone inside and going for a walk outside. This gives me time to zoom out and reflect on my interactions and intentions. Am I approaching the day with the right attitude? Am I looking at interactions from new perspectives? By taking a pause, I’m able to find answers to questions like these.

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop floor. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.