You heard it from your mom or your granddad or an awesome teacher. Maybe you had your very own Mrs. Garrett who taught you life lessons in half hour segments. But however you first encountered it, I’m certain you’ve heard it. “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.”
I woke up this morning thinking about that line and thinking about my walk yesterday. I took an after lunch walk to refresh my brain and I walked past a homeless woman. She had a sign, she had a cup and most of all, she had a sincerely sad downcast look about her. In my head I thought about the couple of bucks I had in my pocket and decided when I looped back that way in a few minutes, I would put them in her cup. When I got back, the woman was nowhere to be found.
As I think about it this morning though, it’s not the fact that I missed her that makes the event stick in my head. It’s that I was dishonest with myself. As I re-run the tape mentally, my real thoughts were along the lines of “I’m not sure if I have that cash on me and it would be really embarrassing to stop, dig in my pocket, find nothing and then walk away.” So I waited until I was an acceptable distance away and checked my pockets to confirm that I could be generous without embarrassment on the way back to the office.
Does that suck? Maybe a little, and I hope sincerely that the woman I saw got the money she needed and more importantly that she got some human kindness from someone to lift her spirits. But I’ve decided to learn something from it; two somethings actually:
- Minutes matter. Putting it off until tomorrow is one thing, but putting it off until I get back could be just as bad.
- The real why matters. Do not bullshit thyself. The tidy easy explanation I gave myself was a quickie lie to help me feel better.