Appreciate When Nothing Happens.


When you walk across the wooden porch of my favorite fly fishing store in my home town of Bozeman, Montana you encounter a small, rusted sign. It is placed right next to the handle on the screen door so it is impossible to miss reading when you are entering. It simply states:


IN 1894….


I go into this store several times a year to buy fishing supplies, and every time I do I am stopped in my tracks by the profundity of this statement. I smile to myself and ask, “Nothing happened? Says who?”

Nothing, I think to myself, could be further from the truth!

What a powerful reminder about how the universal law that perception is everything plays out in our everyday lives. Perception is everything, because what we focus on as being true in our everyday lives is what we actually create as our reality. We become that which we perceive. To see and describe the significance of our day in a way that concludes that “nothing happened” is more a statement about who we are than the events of our day. Peace of mind is a result of learning to appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary.

If you passively look to the media or popular culture for clues about how you should value important events you will probably be directed toward negative extremes that typically fill the evening headline news. Lead stories like, “Teen Pregnancy on the Rise,”  “Another School Shooting,” or “Drug Lord Killed in Shootout,” is certainly one way of looking at what is happening. But we know too well that filling our minds and conversations with these extreme realities takes its toll on our peace of mind. We have a choice.

If you take responsibility for where you actively direct the focus of your attention you can perceive, talk about and experience a completely different reality. This does not mean that you ignore pain and suffering, but that you learn to transcend it by filling yourselves with the untold goodness that is happening all around all the time. You can learn to see mainstream beyond the extreme.

I doubt for example, that we will ever hear the television announcer interrupt the show we are watching with the breaking story, “High School Student Bears Down to Study for Test and Earns ‘B’ on Exam… Story and Details on the Ten O’clock News.”  But this does not mean that these ordinary events aren’t happening, because they are. We need to learn how to appreciate them in order to have more happiness in our lives. Think of all the amazing things that come together in your community each day to make it seem like nothing happened. 

If we learn to appreciate normal, mainstream events in our lives, something profound begins to occur. We realize that “the nothing events” are actually chock full of meaning and joy. The paradox of nothing is full of everything. Your uneventful morning commute to take your kids to school can become 20 minutes of shared time together. The meal that you share with a friend becomes event-full. The smile that you give a stranger could be the only smile they received that day. 

ON THIS SITE…. NOTHING HAPPENED? “Nothing,” I tell you, could be further from the truth!  Make it your truth. 


1. Write out a sign with today’s year that says, ON THIS SITE…. (year) …. NOTHING HAPPENED. Hang it up on your bathroom mirror. Smile each time you read it.

2. Let the last thought of your day be about all of the important “nothings” that happened in your day.

3. Reflect upon the “nothingness” of yesterday and the day you are beginning to face. Contemplate the absurdity of the statement “NOTHING HAPPENED.” Think about all of the moments that occurred yesterday, and will occur today that you interpret as nothing. 

4. Focus on the “nothings” of your typical day and look deeply into them to reinterpret their significance with a sense of awe and gratitude. The nothingness of your commute to work can be reinterpreted as gratitude for having time alone and for having a meaningful vocation. Going through your routine of getting kids out the door for school can be experienced as the most important time of your day—time with your kids.

5. Reflect upon significant events of your past few years of life. Then mentally put those aside and think about the other 99% of “NOTHING HAPPENED” time that filled in the spaces between those events. Examine how the non-events are where most of your life is lived.

6. What would happen to your typical day if you began to appreciate “NOTHING HAPPENING” as being historical (because it actually is)?

7. Take notice the next time that someone asks you about your day and you reply by saying, “nothing happened.” Stop yourself and reflect on all of the wonderful things that actually happened. Appreciate that “ON THIS DAY NOTHING HAPPENED,” could not be further from the truth. 

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