“You've got to count your many blessings every day, you’re gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road, if you don't Stop and Smell the Roses along the way.” These are a few lyrics from an old song.
On May 12th, Polk Street Speakers Toastmasters celebrated Distinguished Toastmaster Jerry Samples 50th year as a Toastmaster. The entire hour was dedicated to celebrate him. We celebrate anniversaries, great report cards, promotions, completion of projects, fitness goals, health triumphs, and even the last day of school (or at the job)!
Achievements are milestones in your continuing journey. These are deliberate goals in an enduring journey. The Celebrations highlight the milestones and make them memorable. Celebration makes it possible to cement these achievements in our minds. So nothing out of the ordinary, right?
At a macro level, we occupy ourselves working on To Do Lists. This is an ever-growing list. I queried a group of people; “What do you do when you check mark an item on the To Do List?” All of them answered that they moved on to the next item on the list. Is celebration even up for consideration? “May be”, they answered with a should shrug. There is good reason for the answer. The higher the number of checked items (on the list), the more productive we think we are. The high productivity translates to being more successful. Psychologically this is a great state to be in. So, we keep going and going and going. What happens after a while…we find ourselves burned out. We are well aware of all the physical and mental ailments associated at this stage. In this stage our decline is no longer gradual, it is rather a precipitous drop. Here is something even worst – what if this list is not even yours?
OK, let me take a more positive look at this To Do List. The To Do List is not unnatural. It is a practical action that allow us to manage and organize our tasks. High productivity is an individual strength. Yes, it is great to be a super achiever! The appropriate concern should be, “What is the ultimate reward that we are in search of, we are after?” The answer is happiness. The sense of fulfillment within. A checked item is an external result. So is Success, Profit and Letter grade A on a term paper... These are all external fulfilments.
Remember the famous phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence that reads: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Why pursue Happiness? To paraphrase a quote from Dale Carnegie, “When we deal with humans, remember that we are NOT creatures of logic, rather creatures of emotions, … motivated by pride and vanity.”
Believe me, we all like some self-loving! So, here is a simple way to receive that adoration and fulfilment within.
Celebrate your achievements! It gives you the necessary pause in between activities. It gives you the right hiatus between activities. It gives you the moment of rest, relaxation, re-set, and rejuvenation. So now you are properly ready for the next event.
Here are three reasons why celebrations are important to you.
1. A celebration is your pat on the back. Your heart knows that you deserve it. That recognition by your peers ignites and affirms the fulfilment within. That is a big deal. That fulfillment is your happiness. In that happy state, you prolong happy chemicals in the brain. Happy Chemical is a an entirely different speech. For now, remember that you want those happy chemicals to last in you as long as possible. A check mark is an external reward. Celebrations are internal reward catalysts.
2. Celebrations attract and you become the attraction. Because you represent the accomplishment, the success. Think of the adage, “You catch more bees and bears with honey.” You just became the Honey. Others want to be around successful people. The proximity helps to increase familiarity; familiarity leads to strengthening of bonds and that strengthens your network. Remember, if you want to stand out in the crowd, first you have to get noticed. What better way to get notice than celebrating your achievements.
3. “Success begets success.” Celebrations have a compounding effect. It will help you continue the momentum. People are willing to bet on you. People become the wind on your back. People look forward to participating in your efforts. Because they know your success will reflect on them. Celebration builds your reputation and credibility.
I believe that these are three influential reasons to celebrate.
Celebration of successes, big or small, must be immediate. Don’t wait too long to revel in your wins and achievements, because just like an open soda can, it will lose the fizz. Don’t go it alone. Having that beer, the margarita or the glass of milk by yourself defeats the purpose. This is about receiving recognition for your efforts and successes from your peers and friends.
Someone asked me, “Why is not celebrating considered counterproductive?” If you have the habit of hopping from one achievement to another, without the recognition or the celebration, then what you are telling yourself is that your accomplishments are not very important. If your unwillingness to celebrate your successes for the honest reason of being modest/humble, you are still subconsciously telling yourself that what you are doing is not significant. You mind is a funny institution! Subconsciously, you are throwing shade at yourself. When things are not relevant, the interests will fade and this leads to un-fulfillment. The trickle down continues and you will eventually be consumed by emptiness. You know how the story ends?
So, take credit for your accomplishments, successes and then celebrate them. This is absolutely not about being arrogant, bombastic or conceited. You can be humble and modest, just by being cognizant at the event. Pay attention to your emotions, be grateful and show gratefulness. That will keep you in alignment.
Celebrating your accomplishments will boost your confidence, fuel your momentum and avoid burnout. In the event of feeling down or let downs, you will have the good fortune to reminisce all the past celebrations and that will re-energize and reinvigorate you. Celebrations can do wonders. It will Release Happiness in you, it will build gratitude in you, it will inspire you and it will inspire others around you. In that moment of joy, as Whitney Houston said, “then in that one moment of time, I will feel, I will feel eternity.”