I have a problem, I often spend time in the past. I think about things that went wrong and what I could have done to change them. OK, I have to admit it I don’t just think about these things, I obsess about them. Especially when I didn’t like the outcome.
At the same time I like to day dream about the future. I like to think about all of the great things that are going to happen.
The problem is I spend too little time in the present.
I wonder if my problems are similar to ones you might have. I bet that you obsess about things that have gone wrong and dream about what’s going to happen in the future.
When you do that you’re not paying attention to what’s going on around you now. You’re not working on things that can bring you the most pleasure. You probably aren’t even doing the most important things in your life.
Being in the present means I have to work on the most important thing.
Being present is also being self-aware. Do you know what you want to accomplish in life? I have a question for you. Do you know what’s going to make your life better? Do you spend time thinking about what a good life is?
If you haven’t you need to start there. When you’ve written this down your next step is to see how much time you actually spend doing things that really count. I bet the time will be shockingly low.
Having you ever felt like time is suspended?
This is where you know you’re in the present. You’re not thinking about the future. You’re not obsessing about the past. You’re just doing what you need to do and time is flying by.
In fact you’re not thinking about time. You’re just doing what you love with people you love. That sounds pretty good to me.
Do you work on what you have a unique ability to do?
This is another question that most haven’t thought about. What’s your unique ability? One of mine is helping people solve tough strategic problems. I’m lucky….I look at a tough problem and the answer immediately becomes obvious to me.
There are reasons this is true. I know that you have things you do where there are few people in the world who are as good at them as you are. You need to spend time figuring out what they are and then work on spending more time doing them. It’ll make your life better.
Are you happy with your life?
I find those that who are truly happy spend a lot of time in the present. They don’t dream about what might come. They know the future will bring what it will bring. Dreaming won’t make them happier.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past. Lessons from the past are helpful. Dwelling on past unhappy experiences won’t help you have a better day.
The key here is to start every day like it’s a brand new experience. Get up excited about living the day. If you dread Monday’s get a new job. If you can’t wait for tomorrow ask what that’s about. It’s really very simple and very hard to do.
One of my favorite strategies for living a good life is goal mapping. A goal map is not about specifics, although it has specifics. It helps us define what a good life is. I hope you take some time to look at a goal map I’ve done and let me know what you think.