“Every day is like a self-addressed envelope we post to ourself. Be careful what you post in it.”
I went through a phase as a kid when I collected autographs from baseball players. It was a pretty short phase—I don’t care much for baseball now—but for a few moths, I spent all my allowance on baseball cards, then consulted a book that listed the addresses of retired players. I’d send off a card to five or ten of them a week, including a note asking for an autograph, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, then wait to see what happened.
As I recall, the results were pretty good. It took a while, but on average about half of the players returned my envelope with an accompanying autograph. It was fun to get mail, and the response motivated me to send out more batches of requests so I could await the returns in future weeks.
Years later, one of the reasons I took to blogging was the opportunity to send out the equivalent of digital envelopes and await responses. Crucially, and unlike those envelopes I mailed to retired athletes years ago, the results had the potential to be magnified. One post could reach a dozen people, or maybe a hundred, or even thousands. Wow.
Whether through blogging or any other number of activities, each of us has the opportunity to send off envelopes for future returns.
Sometimes, I’m sorry to say, I don’t do a good job with the envelopes I send. I’ve been rude to airport janitors. I’ve been ungrateful and unhappy when surrounded by luxury. I’ve wasted time and made poor decisions.
But still, I like the metaphor—and I also believe that no matter where you fell short yesterday, today’s a new day for a new investment in the future.
Are you using your days to send the right envelopes to yourself and others?
Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.
Image courtesy of Dương Trần Quốc.