Life is heavily dependent on our points of view, our paradigms, how we see the world. Living in the moment is very difficult to do these days. Constant distractions make it almost impossible, but we need to strive to do it. Learning from the past is very useful, but dwelling in it can be damaging. Preparing for the future is equally as useful; but always living for what will be can take away from those precious moments that we have in the present with our family and our friends.
But there is something even more important that we neglect if we do not live in the present.
Not living in the present brings a certain self-deception of not living in reality. We neglect our own psychological well being when we do not live in the present. Self deception occurs when we lie to ourselves; which is the most dangerous of the lies. By constantly living in a world that does not exist (the future or the past), we essentially live a life that is not real or that is full of lies. In practical terms, this occurs when we think about what might have been in the past or what will be in the future. Both not grounded in reality! An example of this is when people dream about winning the lottery or another far fetched event. Time spent dreaming about such things is time that can be spent enriching your own life, or better yet helping others to achieve their dreams. Instead of dreaming about the future or regretting the past, how about developing concrete training plans that will help you to achieve your dreams, or write about an event that happened in the past to better learn from the positive and negative effects? Of course this takes time, discipline, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.
Having a relentless introspective, critical view is essential for effective use of the past and the future, and not just wasting time.
Studying the past is essential to human development and can be a fascinating adventure. The past, however, can be full of mistakes or regrets. Learn from the mistakes and move on. Take advantage of the past to more fully live in the moment. Even if you made a serious mistake in the past, the only way to learn from it is to adopt a new set of behaviors that avoids the same mistake in the present. Being stuck on the “what might have beens” and “should have beens” only psychologically bogs you down and takes you away from the things that you want to do in the present.
Life is something that we need to live everyday. Truly living in the moment requires thoughtful skill and the will to avoid distractions from the past and the future. Think about this the next time your mind starts to wander: our time on this earth is finite, don’t waste it on thoughts that take you away from truly enjoying your life and helping those around you enjoy their lives!
Live in the moment, learn from the past, and prepare for the future.
"Lean into it!"