Many of you know my background and know that I still do some pretty crazy things. I have been known to jump out of airplanes, dive on wrecks, surf during storms with some pretty big waves, stand up Paddleboard in freezing cold temperatures at night, and yes, even act in plays at the local community theater. Some of you might think that I am crazy. That I operate without rules. Some of you may also think that this is part of what makes up my past, as a Navy SEAL. That is simply not true. Contrary to popular belief, we are not adrenal junkies or daredevils seeking the next fix. We prepare meticulously for dangerous activities. Today, being prepared is the guiding principle which makes all the crazy activities that I have done possible, including my acting job. You see, the "crazy" activities require training and preparation. Countless rehearsals, training dives, practicing paddling techniques, and checking that you have air in your dive tanks; all these things are part of good preparation. Anyone who has gone on a SCUBA dive or has jumped out of an airplane knows what I am talking about. But even with the simple things, like driving a car (which is much more dangerous by the way than the previous two activities), one has to be prepared and vigilant. Be ready. Being prepared for Scuba diving or driving is one thing you may say. But how do we prepare for something that is so life changing and intense that goes beyond our current training levels and comprehension? How do we prepare for the unexpected?
I remember a long time ago playing backgammon with my Dad. I loved playing that game with him. I remember how we would laugh and carry on when I would get double sixes and sometimes win the game by the skin of my teeth and with pure luck. I remember how he used to joke around; he had such a great sense of humor. He was my best friend. I was 19 when he died and I truly was not prepared. I wish I had been. All of us have had similar experiences in our lives when something so incredible and shocking has happened that we simply were not prepared. Think back to a time when something happened to you that you were not prepared to deal with. The death of a loved one. The sudden loss of a job. How do we prepare for these things? How do we live our lives while knowing deep inside that we are all mortal and so fragile; that we could go at any moment? How do we prepare for something that realistically, we have little to no control? Simple. We prepare by living our lives to the fullest! We smell the roses. We climb mountains and we play monopoly with our kids and yes, we eat some ice cream! Sometimes. We prepare by living life to the fullest and truly tasting every second of it. By doing this, we regain the perceived lost control by focusing on the important things that are happening around us right now. Which leads me to my last point.
Physiologically speaking, when we are stressed, we are simply not living in the present moment. And when we don't live in the present moment, we are somewhere else: thinking of the future, dreaming about the past, playing a game on our smart phones, not truly listening to others when they speak to us because we are waiting our turn to speak. We have all been there and sometimes life cannot go on unless we think about the future, such as when we are about to get into an accident (we must think about the future in this instance or we will crash the car). However, most of the time, we can do without living in the future and the past. Living in the present actually reduces stress hormones cortisol which at elevated levels can do severe damage to you. So how do we live in the present? Here Is the secret.
Truly "smell the roses..."
We can only live in the present if we live life to the fullest. By living life to the fullest we focus on the important things in our lives. The things that really matter. Ironically not the "Things" but the people. We focus in on the smile, the part in your son's hair, the melody that we hear, the look of love that our spouse gives us...these are the things that truly matter in your lives.
In the conclusion, we simply cannot be prepared if we do not live life to the fullest, and we simply cannot live life to the fullest without being prepared. They both work hand in hand. We should learn from the past and anticipate the future, but not dwell and obsess in either one! We must be ready. And in order to be ready we must focus on the present. Focus on the friends, family, loved ones that make life worth living, right now. Live with each other today as if it were your last day. Live your lives to the fullest, and be prepared!
“Lean into it!”
P.S. Remember to check out our Resilience Video of the Day HERE!