All too often, we tend to overemphasize the unimportant—meaning: Why can’t we just let things go? What is so important about today, tomorrow, work, children, etc, that hinders us from living in the present? Why do Type A personalities tend to live in the future while Type B personalities tend to live in the past? Who, then, really lives in the present? I have a few thoughts on this topic because I lean towards the former. Some advice on how to live in the present:
“What Ever You Are, Be a Good One” – Abraham Lincoln: It is no surprise to me that Lincoln ranks atop most polls as the greatest President of all time. He was a man of conviction and high morals. However, don’t think for a second that he wasn’t constantly tested during his days in office. Nonetheless, he brings up a great point here: Regardless of who you are and what you are doing, you have a choice every day to be the best person you can be. There is an element of contentment that comes along with this statement. Part of living in the present means you may (at least mentally) forego the potential gains of the future or inevitable losses of the past. What has happened before is over—forget it and move on. Why are you letting things in your past prevent you from being the person you want to be today? The same is true of the future: Why are you so focused on the future that you fail to be the person you want to be today? Again, the funny part about this statement is that we typically hope for some crazy transformation in the future, but the reality is that our tomorrow looks surprisingly like our today. Because of this, you need to learn how to find contentment in your life and be the best you can be regardless of what you do—Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.
Success: Although each of us has a different definition of success, I argue that everyone wants to succeed—nobody like to lose—we just have different ways of defining success. In order to better understand how to juggle your busy work schedules along with your family life, I think you must first ask yourself how you define success. Do you work long hours because you are afraid of failure? Or do you work long hours because you need success? These two are vastly different. Are you a better husband or wife depending on the various successes/failures in your life? I think type A people tend to need tangible successes, while type B people tend to prefer implied successes. If you are a high achiever type A’er, try and set short term, mid-term, and long term goals. Within these goals, you must have them for different areas of your life: Spiritually, family life, work, friends, community, etc. You tend to live in the future, so setting goals will help you “feel” the necessary tangible gains. The problem here is when type A’ers reach beyond the attained goal. You must stop, and re-evaluate. You have achieved your goal. Don’t compromise one of your other goals in a different area because you are constantly reaching for more. This will help you define why you are doing the things you are currently doing. Humans have a certain balance among mind, body, and spirit that must be constantly adjusted so we don’t get out of our natural pattern.
Ask Yourself: Why? This is one of the toughest questions to answer and one that I am still working on defining. Why? Why do you do the things you do? Why do you live where you live? Why do you work where you work? Why is work bogging down your life? I have attempted to define this one in my own life and have come to the realization that there is something deep down inside of me that just won’t quit. Also, I am a nerd for new and useful information. I enjoy working with great people and love seeing others succeed just as much as I like it myself. It has nothing to do with awards, slaps in the face, or accepting average. It has everything to do with how I define success and why I do the things I do. I have come to realize that failure and adversity help to breed success and optimism—especially for high achievers. Because of this, something inside me won’t quit. Failure is not an option and success is demanded. Success is no longer a choice, it becomes a way of life.
To recap: How do we focus on living in the present? Be the best you can be every day. Find out what makes you tick and how you define success. Set reasonable goals and constantly re-evaluate them. Ask yourself: Why? If you focus on these areas, you will find a better balance in your life and probably be a better husband/wife/co-worker, etc. More to come on this topic…