Many people underestimate the importance of celebrating. In fact, many of us don’t celebrate enough.
How do you feel about celebrating? If you’re anything like me and most of the people I know, you probably enjoy it.
As much as I like to celebrate, at times I find it challenging too, especially these days.
Here are some of the reasons that can make celebrating difficult:
- We don’t have the time or money to celebrate right now because there’s work that needs to get done
- Things aren’t yet as good as they “should” be for us to stop and celebrate
- People will think we’re spoiled, naive, or arrogant if we celebrate too much
- With so much suffering in the world and people having a tough time these days, it’s not appropriate to celebrate
- We’ll celebrate, but not until everything turns out exactly as we want it to
Can you relate to any of these? If you can, you’re not alone. However, celebrating is really important for a number of reasons.
The Power and Importance of Celebrating
We’ve taken our girls, who are now teenagers, to Disneyland over the years…and we all love it there. One of the many magical aspects of the Disney parks is how they fully embrace the power of celebrating. Every day at Disney feels like your birthday, favorite holiday, and New Year’s Eve – all wrapped into one. They had a special parade down Main Street a few years ago called “Celebrate You.”
I think one of the main reasons people go to Disney is that it’s an excuse to celebrate. And while they do a fantastic job at the Disney parks with the rides, the characters, the shows, the fireworks, and more – the real magic behind it all is the power of celebration.
Too often in life, we think we have to have a “legitimate” reason to celebrate – a birthday, winning an award, an anniversary, the completion of a project, the accomplishment of a goal, taking a vacation, or some other “special occasion.” While all of these things can be fun to celebrate, we don’t have to wait for them to happen to feel justified in our celebration.
At Disney they celebrate just to celebrate – on Tuesday mornings and Thursday nights, on special occasions and holidays, and every single day throughout the year.
What if we did more of this in our lives, especially when things get tough?
While it may seem counter-intuitive, celebrating for no reason and counting our blessings when things are hard can transform our experience of being alive.
Treat Every Day Like a Good Day
I was in a cab in Houston many years ago, heading back to the airport after speaking at an event for Chevron. The cab driver and I got into an interesting conversation about life, family, and the state of our culture in America. The driver told me he was from Ethiopia originally but had been living in the United States for about twenty years.
I asked him, “What’s your take on American culture, given that you didn’t grow up here?” He paused for a long time, then asked, “Can I be honest with you?” I said, “Of course.” He said, “I think most people in this culture act like spoiled brats.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked, a bit surprised by his response. “Mike,” he said, “I’m from Ethiopia…every day here is a good day. I don’t understand why people don’t walk around here with their hands in the air saying ‘THANK YOU’.”
I appreciated his honest and poignant feedback. He offered such an important perspective.
Regardless of what’s going on in our lives and the world around us, we always have things to celebrate and be grateful for. While we all go through struggles, we also all go through triumphs in life. But we don’t have to wait until we close the deal, win the game, finish the project, get to retirement, fall in love, reach our goal, or whatever else it is we feel we need to accomplish in order to celebrate.
Sometimes the best thing for us to celebrate is the mere fact that we’ve made it to this point in life, especially if things have been challenging, which for many of us, they have been over the past few years.
Celebrating is not only an after-the-fact phenomenon; it’s a way of being and can become a way of life if we choose to live that way. Stop for a moment and think of all the things (big and small) that you can celebrate about your life right now.
As Oprah Winfrey says, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
Let’s look for things to be joyful about and grateful for…and let’s choose to celebrate ourselves, our lives, and those around us as much as we can.
What can you celebrate in your life right now? How can you expand your capacity for celebration? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, and more on my blog below.
Mike Robbins is the author of five books, including his latest, We’re All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging. He’s a thought leader and sought-after speaker whose clients include Google, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Schwab, eBay, Genentech, the Oakland A’s, and many others.
Liked this article? Here are three more!
- Why Taking Breaks Is So Important
- Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
- The Challenge and Importance of Self-Care
This article was originally published in September 2010 and updated for 2022.