One of the better feelings in life is being remembered in seemingly minute aspects of it.
Waking up to an already hot pot of coffee on the kitchen counter is one of those feelings. We feel a communal sense of warmth when the people who experience life before us remember that we’ll be traveling down the same road. It feels good to be guided through some difficult aspects of our lives by those who’ve already experienced similar circumstances.
This article will use the metaphor of filling the kettle with more water than you’ll drink to illustrate thinking about those who’ll be following in your footsteps.
They too, will likely want a hot cup of coffee when they wake up soon-after. However, should you go back for a second cup yourself, you’ll find that your act of making more than needed the first time would also benefit you. The overall aim of this article therefore, is to remind you two things: to attempt making life easier for those who are yet to come, and for the future version of yourself.
The Cycle of Pleasant Little Surprises
Picture yourself waking up in the morning to an already filled kettle of water, or pot of coffee. If anything at all, someone’s deed of leaving hot liquid for your consumption saved you a step of filling the kettle up yourself. Even though the water may already have cooled, you would be saved the step of refilling it. You’d simply have to reheat what’s already there.
Though it may seem insignificant, the deed of someone before you leaving water in the kettle for you to use has the potential to have significant effects on your morning experience. You wake up with expectation of what your morning will look like. You have deeds to perform, and markers to hit. You have to brush your teeth for two minutes and thirty seconds, and shower whilst listening to this week’s hottest song.
You then make your way to the kitchen, and mentally prepare yourself for the task of making breakfast. The slices of bread need to go into the toaster, the butter is to be taken out of the fridge, the frying pan needs to be set on medium heat, and a number of eggs are to be fried. Somewhere along the line, your focus shifts on making yourself a hot beverage of your choice. As you make your way to the kettle, you notice that it’s warm. It’s been filled and heated. The most that you have to do now, is reheat it and make yourself that cup of coffee.
The kettle being warm and filled for your use was not a part of your regular morning plan. You don’t wake up to a warm and filled kettle every day. You don’t expect it to be waiting for you, hot and filled, like it has in this instance. Today, it was a pleasant surprise. It was an insignificant, and perhaps unintentional, deed by someone who served to positively dislodge your regular morning routine by just a little bit. It, for some reason, feels good to be remembered.
Such a small deed of foresight by the person who came before you in the process of making themselves breakfast isn’t to be thanked explicitly. However, it would motivate you to reciprocate with a small, but helpful deed of your own. You may wash the cup they’ve left behind whilst rushing to work for them. You may unload their wet laundry from the washer, and load it into the drier as they didn’t have time to wait out the wash cycle.
Small deeds of foresight encourage their receivers to continue the process of looking out for those around them. These deeds feel good to both perform and receive. The barrier of entry to perform such deeds is low, as they generally don’t take much time to do so. However, as the cycle continues, the pleasant surprises that you’ll witness will continue to pop up.
Yearn to establish such cycles of pleasant little surprises with those who you’re surrounded by. Perform deeds which are seemingly insignificant, but are a pleasant little surprise for those who witness them. You’ll serve to break the frozen-over expectations of day to day life, and the coldness with which most live. You’ll serve to remind those around you that they’re not alone on this road to whatever it is they’re chasing, and that you have the foresight to make their lives just a little bit easier. Your small reminders of a communal existence will come back to benefit you.
Going for a Second Cup Yourself
We seldom know that we’ll want a second cup of coffee prior to drinking our first. As we sip the last few ounces of our first cup, something tells us that we’ll need a little more. Knowing that you have more water in the kettle to be reheated for a second cup is a pleasant feeling. Even though you’ve only saved yourself a step of filling the kettle again and pressing a button to heat it, not having to do so makes a big difference in the experience of enjoying that second cup of coffee.
We sometimes lack the foresight to empathize with the future version of ourselves. We typically do just enough for things to pass in the present moment without thinking of doing those same things again later. Much like creating the little pleasant surprises for others mentioned above, strive to surprise yourself once in a while too. Perhaps the way to do that is to prepare more food than you’ll need and pack it up to be reheated for later. It may be buying more than one bottle of dish-washing fluid, as you tend to go through them pretty quickly. You may have noticed that storing your winter tires in the shed makes for a tiresome experience, come time to change out your summer tires. What if you cleaned up your garage and began storing them there?
Look out for the future version of yourself, and strive to make life easier for that person. You don’t have to rely on others to surprise you in little ways and encourage you to continue onward in your journey, as you are capable of doing so yourself. You will never accurately foresee how hard life will be in a few weeks, months, or years. Life may turn out to be a walk in the park, or a journey filled with unpaved roads and forest fires. Your act of surprising yourself in the future, no matter how insignificantly, can make a big difference in your motivation to keep going. You can start with boiling more water than you’ll drink in the morning.