Design your Default

These mornings I often wake up and go for a run. I wear my BYU T-shirt and make sure to smile and wave to everyone else on the trail, so they can learn how friendly Mormons are.

I get home, shower, and hop on my bike. I ride 5 miles through city streets on my way to work so the other drivers can learn how to share the roads with bicyclers. Maybe some of them learn that bicycle commuting is an option, and that Dayton’s a fine city to bike to work in.

At work I try my best to do top-notch work so the clients and developers in my industry learn that you don’t have to live in Silicon valley to do industry-leading work. I try to be wise with my time so my coworkers can learn what things they could accomplish between 9 and 5, if they are wise with their time.

When I get home in the evenings I practice the piano, working to master the Hymns I’ll need to play on Sunday. I want my children to learn that practice trumps talent, and that consistency pays off. I want them to learn that’s it’s important to magnify your calling, it’s important to give back to your community and, most importantly, that Brauns keep trying.

There are lots of T-shirts I could run in. I could drive to work. I could get by with less effort on the job. I could press a button to play the pre-recorded hymns in our Ward’s organ. I could even convince myself that these alternatives would result in a more comfortable life.

But by designing my schedule this way, I have dozens of opportunities to make small contributions to my church, family, industry, and community, without even thinking about it. This is my default. It’s designed so that on my worst days, I can’t help but still make a positive impact. You don’t have to design your default like mine, but you should design it for something, because those small, invisible, daily contributions can add up to something big over time. And you get to decide what that something will be.