Years ago, about 3 months after buying our first home I realized I hadn’t even sat in the living room for a few days. I was so busy coming and going and working, that I wasn’t enjoying the very thing we worked hard for.
Living in the now may sound trite, but it can be one of the most powerful tools for living your best life once you start to practice it. We are human beings, not human “doings”, and yet most of us are constantly chasing after what we believe to be “success.”
So often, our idea of who we are is caught up in what we do. It’s often the first question we ask when we meet someone “what do you do?” as if the answer will give us the whole measure of a person.
Success is not a fixed concept. It is in the eye of the beholder. Being a business owner, doctor or lawyer might be considered a sign of success, yet we know that there are many unhappy people out there.
What we do, is not who we are!
The drive to constantly do something makes us distracted and keeps us so locked in the daily grind that we have little time for relaxation, de-stressing, or self-development. Even worse, it makes us feel stuck, as if we can’t change because we have no time, that the whole world we have created for ourselves will fall apart and more.
As much as I love working with people to reconnect with their passion and reach new goals, it’s not as important as seeing someone get back to the top of their priority list. Learning the power of living in the now in order to achieve personal transformation, is how you can be more present in your life in every sense of the word.
Put the Past Behind You
Focusing on the past is one of the biggest mistakes that we make that sacrifices our personal power.
Many of us think we are living in the present, day after day, but the truth is that we are often more focused on the past and future than on the present. This happens with our teams at work or in our personal relationships, when we have a hard time getting over past hurts and slights. Despite the passage of time, individual perceptions of past hurts can too often become current reality.
Old habits die hard, even when we want to make positive changes in our lives. Sticking to your worst habits is a lot easier than breaking them. We can also stay stuck trying to avoid conflict. Dwelling on the past will quickly become a pattern and “freeze” you in that moment and you’ll have trouble moving on.
Don’t Get Wrapped Up in the Future
There’s really no greater gift we can give ourselves than to be present.
As American cartoonist Bil Keane said, “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
Brace yourself, this weekend we spring ahead and lose an hour. I know someone who stresses out so much about the lost hour. They don’t realize that the stress is taking away from enjoying the moment.
Most of us are so busy chasing the future of our dreams that we overlook the joys of the present. Even worse, if we don’t get what we think we desperately want, our life might seem “ruined.”
Yes, it’s good to plan ahead, but it doesn’t make sense to spend so much time playing “what-if” that you might as well be standing still. Plan for the future, but enjoy today.
Choose the in between
The constant doing instead of being, focusing on the past or worrying about the future can stress you out.
While reflection on the past and visualization about the future are keys to growth, so is focusing on what’s between them-today. Our lives unfold moment by moment in the present.
In the time it’s taken you to read that sentence, about 10 seconds have already passed into the past. By the time you finish this paragraph, it might take about another 10 seconds, those future seconds will become the present, and then the past.
Understanding this can help you realize just how precious your time is, and how each present moment is the foundation to a happier future if you take time to live in the now.
Build the right now habit
My next post is going to share a few ways you can “stay present.” Until then, I want you to pay attention to the times when you dwell in the past or worry about the future too much.
Create a right now habit. When you catch yourself strolling down memory lane or planning too far ahead, say “Right now, I’m doing_______.”
Use it as a way to press reset and refocus your energy on just this moment.
(That being said, don’t forget to change your clocks on Saturday night!)