My son got his specs a couple of years back. He was a bit upset yet excited to wear spectacles.

When we drove back home from the optician he said, “First time coming home with specs.” This started off a whole lot of “first time” quotes. The next day it was, “First morning with specs, first breakfast with specs, first time to school with specs” and many more that day. I thought this would last a day or so, but it went on to the weekend. That weekend it was the “first weekend with specs, first time football class with specs.”

It didn’t stop there, it went on. My daughter joined too and helped my son remember all that he was doing the first time with specs. Every now and then, there would be the “first time something with specs”. I caught on too and played along. It was cute.

When their birthdays came up, this changed to “first time doing something at the age of eight (or six)”. It went on like, “first time vacation when we are eight and six years old.” Now this was getting interesting. I played along with this too. It was now the “first time going to a poetry session with specs at the age of six; first time having buffet lunch in a restaurant at the age of six.”

What caught me as remarkable was the continued enthusiasm. Children don’t need an external reason to be happy and excited about the things they do. They find their own reasons. This tendency is lost with age and people get used to doing the daily activities of life.

With this understanding, I tried out an experiment on myself. When I changed my specs, I told my children, “First time going to the office with new specs.”  It was a very interesting feeling. For a moment, it was like I was really doing something new and exciting.

The need for freshness, the need for excitement, the need for doing something not mundane is a great motivator (and de-motivator too). When one starts seeing things as stale and run-of-the-mill activities, one loses enthusiasm. On the other hand, when one sees something as new and different, it becomes exciting.

I went on to tell myself many more “first times” till I landed with “first time going to the office today.” I do this almost every day now.

Every day, every moment is a first. It’s never happened before and it will never happen again. Scholars and seers preach that one should practice living in the moment. Having read and heard learned people talk about living in the moment, it took a trigger from my son’s “first time with specs,” to help me realise the joy in actually living in the moment. It helped me with a method to practice this state of mind.

I don’t claim to have mastered living in the moment but as I practice the “First Time” technique, I surely feel lighter and happier.

Go on. Try it yourself too. It may just work.

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Subhash Iyer

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