First and Last

First thing this morning the stars were the brightest, clearest, and most numerous I can ever remember seeing… at least since my childhood.  That was the start of my day – the first thing.

The first thing was magical, inspiring, energising.

Last night, after a hard day’s physical work, we collapsed in front of a good film with a delicious Chinese take-away.  That was the end of the day before – the last thing.

The last thing was satisfying, refreshing, replenishing.

Unsurprisingly, I had a good night’s sleep – physical tiredness plus positive final experiences to close the day paved the way for just what I needed.  The start to the day took a twinkle from the stars and put it in my eyes.

First and Last Moments Matter Most

My point is one borne out by psychological research: our first and last moments have a disproportionate effect upon us.  We remember more of, and pay more heed to, what happens first and what happens last in any time frame.  Our first day on a new job, or at a new school… even our first kiss!  These firsts have the most power.  Lasts are powerful too.

Two Keys to Resilience

When you and I are low on energy, it is essential for us to understand where best to invest our limited resources.  Paying attention to what we do first, and what we do last, pays off.  My recommendation is that we plan something good and pleasant to start every day.  Let’s not defer our ‘treat’ until we’ve earned it.  Instead, let’s have something to look forward to just for getting out of bed.

Secondly, let’s make sure every day – good or bad – finishes with a treat – something we want to do, be, experience, have…

The results can be as satisfying as a better night’s sleep, with better dreams, and an energising (rather than exhausting) start to the day.

This Works for Everything

This principle works for any time-frame.  The first and last moments of any meeting have similar power to affect a better result. If you’re in work, your first four minutes when you arrive, and your last four minutes before you leave are worth extra focus.  Your first four minutes when you get home set the scene for the hours that follow.

How many of us crash in through the front door and then dump our frustrations on those at home?  Think twice: first and last, and make sure that your first four minutes on return from work are positive!

Having Fun with the First and Last Four Minutes

Finally, if you are willing to be creative, you can have a lot of fun with this.  In what imaginative ways could you start your day? How about the closing moments of the day, the meeting, the journey…???

Do share!

[Written by Lex from The Boardroom Education.]