"Better once than never, for never too late."

-- William Shakespeare
Many people who have read my book How to Make Your Dreams Come True have written to say how powerful they have found the "What's Better?" technique which is mentioned in the book.

So for those of you who haven't read the book yet (and for those who have and would like a bit more about it), I thought I'd say a few words about the technique here.

The idea is quite simple. At the end of each day you spend a few moments sitting down and compiling a list of everything that's been better about the day. Not, note, what's been good about the day, but what has been better about the day.

It's entirely up to you to decide what you mean by the word "better" -- don't get hung up on trying to find a precise definition. Anything that strikes you as better in any sense of the word can go on the list. Also don't get hung up on the question "better than what?". Better than anything you like is the answer. It might be better than yesterday; it might be better than ever; it might be better than the last time you tried; better than the worst you could imagine; better than the best you could imagine -- whatever!

The point of the exercise is that it gets your mind off your problems and onto the growth points in your life. It's a well-known fact that what we focus on tends to increase. So if you focus on problems, your mind will oblige by providing plenty more problems for you to deal with. What is the average to do list but a list of problems? -- clear email backlog, sort out client records, fix broken lamp, trace missing payment, etc., etc. Give yourself a list of problems, and how do you feel? Depressed, that's how!

And have you ever noticed that for every item you cross off a to do list you add another two? So you've not only got a depressing list of problems to deal with, it's one that's growing twice as fast as you are actioning it -- no wonder that so often we feel that we are caught on a treadmill that's moving faster than we can keep up.

On the other hand, if you tell your mind to look out for what's better, it will oblige by creating more things that are better. So you have an increasing list of things that are getting better and better. And that's not depressing -- it's exhilarating!

It's great to finish the day in this way by writing a list of everything you can think of that's better. But another use of the technique (which you can use at the same time) is to monitor specific projects. So say for instance that you have a project to reorganize your office. You've been putting it off and in the meantime the office has got more and more disorganized.

Each day you must write down at least one thing about your office that is better. You may have quite a struggle some days but there is always something that is better -- even if it's something minute like "that paper clip is now in the right place". Ignore anything that's become worse, just concentrate on the things that are better. What you will probably find is that your mind starts to create things that are better. And before you know it your office will be immaculately organized. Try it and see! by

Mark Forster, The Time Management coach,
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Copyright Mark Forster, Coach, 2002
1. Pull out those journals and start writing!

2. At the end of each day this week, identify 5 things that are "better."

3. What are you now able to see differently? What opens up for you?

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August 16, 2002
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