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.
Mike thank you for the reminder to celebrate! We have so much to be grateful for, and this was a great reminder. Sometimes I think that we wait until we accomplish something, or we are busy working on many things and think, once I get this done or accomplish that thing, then I will celebrate. We seem to rarely get around to appreciate what we did, or the family and friends that we have, or appreciate the work that we have and the co-workers we work with every day.
Barry Friedman says
I love the cab driver’s response – I’m putting my arms up right now!
Another great piece, Mike.
Mary McManus says
Thank you so much for this wonderful reminder of how important it is to celebrate being alive. Celebration and the practice of gratitude go hand in hand. A part of the blessing of overcoming so many challenges in my life is that I take nothing for granted. Everything is a gift – every step I take I am grateful for and every time I finish a training run or a road race – I celebrate. The time doesn’t really matter – just being able to go from the starting line to the finish line is a glorious celebration – and what a fabulous metaphor for life. Showing up, running with heart, and celebrating every step along the way.
Great post, Mike. And, a great reminder.
Carol Nicholson says
Love your reminder to celebrate everyday; my husband and I have a time, 5 o’clock everyday, when we sit down with a drink and tell each other how good our life is and why. And I say thank you to all the trees in our yard for their beauty, protection, and shade. They, by the way, return the favor by not dropping limbs on our house!
Beverly "Indie B" Freeman says
I’m so glad I open your mass email. They (commercial mass email) put me off most of the time. But, this one did me allot of good today, because I needed to be reminded that I have much to be grateful for, and that is worth CELEBRATING!!!
I’m off to celebrate.
Thank you Mike.
Debbie W. says
You just made my day, I really enjoyed reading your article on celebration and I agree with you totally.
I celebrate life all the time and at any moment of the day. Sometimes I drink a cup of warm herbal tea with my boss, even she needs some down time when work builds up. At home I have parties for one, just because… well just because life is beautiful. Have a blessed day. Hugzies, D.
Rennie Tillis says
I believe it and I live it! Life is a
celebration, find anything however small it might be, that brings you peace, laughter, happiness, reflection. Embrace life now!!
, and not just to make the kids mad.Yes it’s delayed. What else is new? Delays hppean on almost every big game, as was mentioned above. The bigger the game, the more prone to delays it is. In fact the only era where there weren’t delays was back when all the games were coming out of Japan, and delays weren’t needed for International localization of games that were already out.If you’re complaining about the delays and meme-ing FFFFFUUUUU right now, chances are you’re a spoiled child who has been coddled all your life. You’ve never held a job, you don’t know how the real world works, and you’ve never tried to create anything that other people expect to be near-perfect (because let’s be honest, you’re going to complain about every little bug, too).There’s a concept that is seemingly lost on kids these days, due to their percpetion that they are ENTITLED TO EVERYTHING THEY WANT, FREE AND NOW. And God help the person who tells them they can’t. If you don’t release it soon I’m going to die. I’m not going to love you anymore, or love GCL, and I’m not going to pay you for your work but steal it off a torrent. How dare you be so mean to me? A generation of Veruca Salts, and I weep. The concept is that you only get what you pay for, and only when the person who creates it sees fit to give it to you. It’s basic consumerism. You don’t walk into a produce store, steal a green banana, and on your way out shout at the store owner that it’s his fault the banana isn’t ripe. I believe you’d get a wuppin’ for that. But .this is the internet, and maturity isn’t a prerequisette, apparently.I currently moderate the Minecraft forums and see it all the time. Notch (Minecraft’s creator) takes a two-week vacation from developing the game and our active user-base explodes with vehemence. It’s pretty appalling. How dare he rest from providing me with this game I paid for? Even though the price paid was for the GAME AS IS (as it is with any product), Notch is kindly providing everyone who has pre-bought the game with all future updates for free.But Minecraft is a lot like GC0 and hopefully GCL, in that I’m getting a LOT more enjoyment out of the few $ I spend than from most of the $50 games bought in a store. Heck, GC0 came out in 2009 and I still play it regularly. I can’t say that about ANY of my single-player console games, can you?So it takes more time to develop. Is it really the end of the world? No. Is Peter a terrible person making us wait for his own amusement? No. There are other games to play and other things to do. Read, play outside, have a career, be with your familly, etc. The entitled kids will say tl;dr and keep complaining. The rest of us, which are actually the mostly-silent majority, will keep checking for the release but know that it’ll be done when Peter says it’s done. As it should be.