How to Enjoy the Present

Note: This is a guest post from David Turnbull of Adventures of a Barefoot Geek

I live in the future. No, this isn’t a McFly-moment, it’s a always-have-my-thoughts-in-the-future moment. And it’s a problem.

Living with your mind focused on the future causes you to miss out on the now and our lives are made out of moments of now, not of moments of the future. By living in the future you don’t actually live at all.

Of course, it’d be nice to live so I’m trying to enjoy the journey – the present. Here are some ways to do that:

1. Focus

Pure focus is bliss. When your thoughts, actions and emotions are all directed towards a single function you are focusing and you are in the present. You should get lost in your work. Set a deadline for yourself to finish a task and see your level of focus skyrocket.

Right now I’m using e.ggtimer.com and have it set for 20 minutes to finish this article (which I’ve pre-outlined). Perhaps the deadline is too tight, but that’s great, because it’s a challenge that doesn’t allow for procrastinations or over thinking. Set a task and do it.

Go with the flow.

2. Mastermind

Two of my friends and I meet up every now and then to talk about business, ideas, and just random stuff really. It’s fairly flexible and unprofessional, but we still label it as a mastermind.

Although the very concept of a mastermind is focused on getting results in the future I feel there’s also a sense of living in the moment, because we all just sit around a table or outside on the grass and talk. There’s no fancy technology, very little note taking and it’s just pure discussion. And perhaps most importantly: it’s fun.

When we mastermind time flies. Just a couple of days ago we spent 6+ hours just talking about stuff and it was the most enjoyable 6 hours I’ve had in a while.

Find like-minded individuals and bump your heads together (figuratively – don’t get all Pachycephalosaurus on me).

3. Take it slow

Being in a rush doesn’t give you a chance to appreciate the present. I understand the various apparent urgencies you may feel in your life. For some time I was rushing to earn an income online and although a degree of hustle is required for any form of achievement, I find taking things slower and simply being patient more rewarding.

I’ve accepted that my writing career isn’t going to explode overnight and that any side businesses I build aren’t going to be insanely popular at launch. And with that comes a sense of calm. Yes, it may take years to reach goals I’ve set, but years I have, moments I need.

Slow down the speed of life. Urgency is rarely urgency.

4. Find balance

Or “The Middle Way” as it’s known in Buddhism. Anything in excess is dangerous. Practice the art of work-life separation and strive to do everything in moderation.

When you introduce balance into your life you become mindful of what you’re doing, giving you a chance to acknowledge moments for what they are: precious gifts of chronology. Don’t let anything consume your life.

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Balance your life.

5. Be certain

Where are you going? Understand what you want the future to hold and set a plan to accommodate for that. This gives you perhaps the most powerful tool in achievement: certainty.

If you believe in something, are passionate about it and can visualise the end result so clearly that you can taste it, you feel certain that it’s inevitable. You’re no longer wondering if, but when. And this is powerful.

With this certainty you can stop stressing over what may or may not happen in the future because there’s simply no wondering – you’re going to achieve it and that’s final. Achievement simply becomes a matter of doing X to achieve Y.

This may seem like a cold way to approach life, but when the outcome Y is understood, each moment X can be fully appreciated as they aren’t bombarded by self doubt or uncertainty. You can live in the present because your future becomes a predetermined (but still open to spontaneity) mass of wonderment.

Set a direction for your life and enjoy the ride.

6. Unfocus

Productiveness isn’t always beneficial. It’s great to get stuff done, but at times it’s even better to sit back and lose yourself in something that has no tangible result, something that is simply fun.

Personally I love getting fish and chips with a friend and just watching the world go by, or playing some co-op video games if I’m in the mood for fighting hordes of aliens. You don’t need to dominate your life with getting things done.

Embrace unproductivity. Do things “just because”.

David Turnbull writes about peace of mind, simplicity and geekery at his blog, Adventures of a Barefoot Geek. He enjoys long walks and writing about himself in 3rd person.

Photo by lepiaf.geo

13 Comments

  1. Beautiful write up and I like how you shared your personal experience.

    I’m a fan of temporal skills and I think it’s empowering to draw from the past, the present or the future in any situation to make the most of it. When life sucks, invoke a favorite memory to lift yourself up, or create a compelling vision, and go make it happen. When something is awesome, soak it up … stop and sniff the roses and maybe pluck a petal or two, if that’s how to make the most of the moment.

    I think that’s the key — asking, “how do I make the most of the moment?” and then being deliberate whether you draw from the past, present or future.

    To keep the future in check, I like to use rhythms for reflection: daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. They help me see the forest from the trees, while nailing what’s right in front of me. If I know I carved out time to think about the future, it’s easier for me to focus and fully engage in the hear and know. When you know you’re on path, it’s a powerful way to kick arse and take names.

  2. I especially like your first and last tip. Focusing and un-focusing. Because I use these 2 a lot and they way I see it, if you find the right balance between them, it boosts the ability to enjoy the present quite a lot. It’s also very… zen.

    Eduard

  3. This is such an important topic David. It’s is so easy to wander off in different directions with our thoughts and actions. On staying focused I find this little routine helpful, if it’s a task or problem.

    Get all the facts.
    Describe the situation in detail.
    List all the possible solutions.
    List the advantages and disadvantages of each.
    Detail what you will do.
    Follow through calmly and confidently.

  4. I really like the mastermind idea. I do that with some of my friends and cousins, but should really try and do it more often. Great ideas always come forward, plus like you mentioned, it is a great time.

    I need to try the egg timer. I get sidetracked to easily.

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone. Great to hear all of your thoughts, and I love that I could get my ideas across clearly. 🙂

  6. Good pointers here!
    I’ve also been planning to get a small mastermind group together, but it’s one of those numerous things I just haven’t gotten around to yet…

    Oh, and I also use the e.ggtimer. Great little tool.

    Cheers,
    Shane

  7. I love the thought of balance of just staying relaxed and getting focused at the same time…

    Being so focused in getting things done should be equally proportional to being focused on making things fun. 🙂

    Kudos to your blog!

  8. it is difficult to go from one phase to the other, one minute you are focusing the next moment you are slowing down and being unfocused. I suppose that it is doable but difficult.

  9. David:

    Your post is an important blueprint and reminder for all of us to live in the moment.

    Thank you for such a thoughtful, well written post.

    Respectfully,
    Paul Castain

    PS I need to re embrace the concept of the mastermind group!

  10. Usually people don’t realize how focused they’ve been, until after they missed something really important for them. Sometimes, you have someone around you to tell you, to get you out from this focus area that you’re into, but if you don’t … then what is to be done? I really admire people who know how to plan their lives in such a manner that allows them to be in the same day, at the office, at the theater or at a restaurant with their friends. When you live your life at full(focused) speed i don’t think you can really say that you are living it…

  11. This is a great post. The present moment is the reality that only really exist. As we focus on this moment we are at peace.

  12. Well, it’s a good post, but I think that the enjoyment of present comes from the certainty that something good will happen tomorrow.

  13. Nice tips! if you have control on yourself and on your emotions then you can enjoy this present moment,

Comments are closed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close