3 Key Steps to Living in the Present
Some people spend their lives focussing on the past, wishing things weren’t changing and using their energy in an often futile effort to maintain the status quo. Others are so future orientated, dreaming, hoping, planning and wishing, that their present fades to grey. When they achieve great things they don’t stop to celebrate and enjoy the moment because they are already striving for the next goal.
For me it’s all about balance. Albert Einstein put it well when he said:
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
As someone who tends to naturally look to the future I have learned to consciously move my attention to the present, more often. I want to relish it, be fully present for my children and live in the moment. One of the ways I do this is to take a leaf out of Einstein’s book and use questions – questions for the start of the day, the evening and at bed time.
Start of the day questions
- What am I excited about today? What about that makes me excited?
- How can I make the most of my unique skills and strengths today?
- What can I do to make today the best day it can be?
- What have I failed at today?
- What didn’t go well today?
- What did I learn today?
- What were my successes today? What about that made it a success?
- What am I proud of? What about that makes me feel proud?
- What am I grateful for in my life right now?
For those of you who feel uncomfortable about the failure question. I learned about this from John Brubaker who tells the story of Sara Blakely, the CEO and founder of Spanx. Each week her father asked Sara and her siblings what they had failed miserably at that week. Not to punish them or bring them down. In fact he would slap them on the back and congratulate them when they put forward their failures. The reason was to teach them that failure is a normal and expected part of the process through which we find success. Actively looking for failures and facing up to them reduces our fears, builds our resilience, and helps us learn what we need to do in order to succeed.
Of course we can use these questions for ourselves, with our loved ones and also adapt them for our teams in order to value the present and positively shape our days and lives.
- Do you tend to focus on the past, present or future?
- Which of the questions resonates most with you?