You’ve probably noticed that a lot people stay fixated on their past lives, those glorious days when they were younger. Then, there are other individuals who seem to constantly dream about the future, about a life with no doctoral dissertation hanging over their heads. That’s the “I’ll be happy when…” trap.
If you think about it, life is made up of moments. Like the few seconds it took you to read this part of the blog post, that small part of your life is now gone.
So whatever you’re doing, pay attention to what is going on around you. You might even notice that things are going better than you thought. Or maybe you’ll see that it is really worse, but at least you’ll know.
The best way to bring yourself to this present moment is to listen intently. You may hear a fan whirring, cars in traffic, someone speaking on the phone, the air conditioner. Savor this moment that you are alive and doing pretty well.
There are a couple of myths that sometimes infiltrate the water supply and make us think that paying attention to reality is actually not a good idea:
False Evidence Appearing Real #1
Being in the moment means I’ll never achieve my goals because I’m settling for less.
Not at all. Actually if you really pay attention to what you’re doing, your goals may come to fruition in a most unexpected fashion. I find in my teaching that really listening to my students always brings a new idea on how to present the material, or a new exercise, or example, or even a fascinating blog post to write.
Not to mention that if you increase your focus on your present job, your performance may improve and that could be rewarded!
False Evidence Appearing Real #2
By not constantly thinking ahead, I’ll lose my competitive edge.
You may not have realized this before but people actually do notice whether or not you’re really listening to them, even if you’re not texting during the conversation. You may fool them for a while, but not for long.
Your competitive edge can only get sharper as you listen to your colleague/customer/prospect as if s/he were your master, imparting his last words of wisdom. Imagine the possibilities that can happen when someone feels complete trust that you are actually present in that moment.
Not re-living the past, or fantasizing about the future frees up energy you can use right now. The surprise is that reality can be more interesting than you had assumed, if you take the trouble to really examine the reality as it is now constituted.