BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

Achievement Day

Person standing on top of a giant rock with arms raised

If my wife and I are ever lucky enough to have children, there are numerous policies I’d like to institute.

I’d like for our kids to be committed to a consistent philanthropic effort, because volunteering teaches the virtue of giving back.

I’d also like to limit their number of toys to instill a sense of gratitude in them from the get-go.

Besides, until a kid is about, say, 3 or 4 years old, it seems as if they’re as enthralled with the box the gift came in as the gift itself.

(Clearly, I don’t intend to be the cool parent. But that’s always subject to change; it’s easy to talk a big game now.)

And, in addition to their birthdays, I’d like to establish a separate holiday that’s built on some of the most important lessons they could ever learn:

Achievement Day.

This is a concept I’m stealing from the brilliant Adam Carolla. And it works like this:

Your Achievement Day is the date on which you achieved your greatest/proudest accomplishment. And each year, you celebrate its anniversary.

Whatever accomplishment you wish to commemorate is entirely up to you. It can be anything, from tying your shoes for the first time to graduating high school to opening your own business.

Even better, it can be — and should be — ever-changing.

Set a goal, achieve that goal, then set another. And take the time to acknowledge that progress.

I love this because not only does it incentivize you to keep improving and striving to be the best version of yourself, it honors dedication, determination and hard work.

That which is earned is infinitely more rewarding than that which is given.

Of course, now that I think about it, there’s no reason I have to wait to have children to institute this. Why don’t I institute it for myself?

The trick is picking the proper accomplishment, the one that means the most.

Should it be the day I took my biggest risk and set out on my cross-country drive to caddie at Bandon Dunes (June 17)? The day I graduated from improv comedy classes (July 22)? Or what about the day I overcame my emotional baggage (enough) to propose to my now-wife (April 18)?

I don’t know. I’m not sure what would make my perfect Achievement Day.

What about you?

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