LITTLE MOMENTS DEFINE YOU
This past weekend I was up in Maine at my cousin’s wedding.
It was a beautiful wedding at a farm in the countryside. The couple was surrounded by family and friends, and after hours of drinking and dancing, the reception climaxed with a solid ten minutes of fireworks. It was a performance equal to that of a city on 4th of July. Truly, it was spectacular; I have never seen any event like it. You’d have to see it to believe it.
But when I think back on that day, though it will not be forgotten, strangely, it’s not what stands out the most. Indeed, what I am certain I will remember most vividly in the days to come will even rival the vows of love, friendship and commitment I was privileged to witness.
I am sure I will remember the pines.
My cousin’s ceremony was held in a little plot of cleared land in the woods, surrounded by tall, 70 to 80 foot pine trees.
The wind blew on them gently, and they swayed mystically in the wind.
It was like a shot from a movie.
As I sat at my bench, waiting for the music that signified the beginning of the procession, those pines hypnotized me. I had a deep sense of peace under them. So much did they capture my imagination that after the ceremony, once I had made my rounds among people, I came back and stood there among them to try and get that “moment” again.
Yet for some reason, though they were still beautiful to behold, it wasn’t the same.
Later, once I had some time to myself on the long car ride back to New Jersey, I asked myself why.
Objectively, there shouldn’t have been a difference. Same trees, similar time.
But something was different.
Though the pines were always striking, only at that moment before the ceremony were they magical.
The setting. The mood. The gentle wind.
You know what I’m talking about.
Certain moments are captivating.
They burn in our memory. Other ones catch our attention but fade away, and most we don’t notice at all. But certain moments become a part of us forever.
For instance, sometimes when I wake up for the sunrise on the beach, I am disappointed. Rain blots the landscape. Clouds conceal the sun’s fire. Strong winds make sitting there and waiting intolerable.
Other times the experience is wonderful. The sunrise is perfect; a giant ball of fire tiptoeing above the ocean.
Yet do I remember most of them?
Mornings of the electric blue water, illuminated with an orange glow like an ignited oil spill, now blur together in my mind. The crashing waves might as well be echoes. They have all become a series of memories merged together.
The little moments I recall distinctly were different or mattered more.
Like when the sand was so cold that one time it made my bare feet cringe. When there was a truck on the beach clearing off mounds of seaweed that had particularly blotted the landscape a day before, and I was grateful for it. When there was a wild fox hiding in the dunes by the ruins of a house damaged in a hurricane.
These little moments are random, even stupid.
Yet these little moments matter.
For innocuous as they may be, they define you.
Some we expect. First times – especially that one – stand out for a reason. They are necessarily distinct.
But most we never see coming.
The silly map at the Starbucks in Warsaw.
The frigid morning at the bus stop in central Pennsylvania.
That ice cream cone in Morocco.
I didn’t expect anything from these moments.
Yet they not only captured the moment, they captured me at that moment. They captured that period of my life. And in some cases, signified the start of something incredible; something new.
What each of these little moments mean might be different. But these moments all have something crucial in common.
All of them give us what we ultimately remember and describe as our life.
They are how we relate to ourselves, our story.
Which makes me wonder…
What’s your story? Do you have one?
Guys too often complain to me, “Pat, I don’t have anything to talk to a girl about, I’m boring.”
Well, half that is absolute bullshit – because although you might be boring, you have plenty to talk about. You just don’t see it.
You don’t see your whole life has been one big, interesting story, that not only anybody would be interested to hear… but that you are in control of.
Where do you want your life to go, and how do you look back on what you’ve already done?
If you can’t answer those questions, no wonder you suck at expressing yourself to girls… because you don’t even know who you are.
Stop moving aimlessly.
Think back in your life.
What moments mattered?
Once you realize that every part of your life is a story, you will never run out of things to say or ways to connect to a girl.
All you need to do is dig into your treasure trove of “little moments” – moments that now have meaning – and express them to her.
All you need to do is go out and keep creating more.
Truly, you only need two things to connect to people in life:
Production and Presentness.
You need to be aware of yourself and your feelings and you need to be doing things that make those feelings come about.
You need to push your story forward, and you need to pause and reflect on that story as it is unfolding so you can tell it.
Don’t run from your feelings. And don’t hide from experiences.
The men who regret their lives are numb.
They are the men who look back and see nothing but “getting by” financially.
They are the men who can’t remember years, because all they did was watch television or scroll their newsfeed.
They are the men who drank themselves into a buzz daily to burn through their free time.
They are the men who avoided risks because they were afraid what it might have shown them about themselves.
They are the men whose lives have become a blur. Whose lives are a sloshed mess of routine escapism and monotony.
Their 5 years ago looked like yesterday, except they’re older… and more tired.
Are you one of these men?
It is never to late to change.
The little moments define you.
And every one of those little moments came from a decision.
Your time here will end. You only have so many little moments, before it all fades to black.
Be present for them. And make as many of them as you can.
You will never feel “boring” again.
PS Nothing makes these “little moments” happen like coaching. Coaching was a turning point in my life. It’s been one for my clients.
It will be for you too.
PPS If you liked this article, you might enjoy watching this:
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