Hello all! This week I am posting slightly earlier in the day than usual on the account of finding myself (again) in Singapore, some 7 hours ahead of the UK, so a great hello to all my friends and followers here!
I was asked yesterday "What should we focus on when looking to improve our lives?"
This question comes up from almost everyone I ever coach.
My usual immediate answer is in the form of a question: "In which time are we living in?"
The reason for my slightly flippant response becomes clear once I take this conversation further with them, because we only ever live in the present, so our focus can only be in the present.
This is not to say we can't consider the past or try to plan for the future, both of which are very valuable, however it is very easy for us to become so fixated with 'learning from our past mistakes' and/or creating a myriad of 'plans for the future' that we actually forget to live in the moment and savour everything life bring us. Time is one of the few things we can never get back, so I always try to advise and steer my clients away from wasting a moment of it.
Whilst this can seem to some to be potentially irresponsible and leaving our future to chance, it is worth taking a minute to think about when the last time any plan we created was ever actually executed exactly as it was devised. I suspect 'never' will turn out to be the answer. I know it is for me.
Each moment of our lives brings distinct circumstances, choices, conditions and challenges, and it is only at that very moment we have the most information available to make our decisions, even if that is to not make a decision at all. We cannot predict these unique sets of things to consider, yet we constantly try to have 'plan' for everything by attempting to do just that.
At a summary level, having a strategy for dealing with types of situations is valuable as these can be quickly adapted to take into account the circumstances of the moment, but all to often we can take the planning to a level far to detailed to ever be wholly applicable, and have then by default wasted an amount of time in the attempt.
In addition, having predefined plans for exactly what to do can create a psychological environment in which we restrict our thinking to only those plans and lose the creativity we are all capable of on the fly.
Absolutely we should learn from our 'mistakes' but not spend an inordinate amount of time doing so, because the exact situation and environment in which our choices led to what we feel was the 'mistake' rarely ever exists again, and in the meantime we have lost a bit more of our present and our lives get that little bit shorter and we have not appreciated everything those moments brought.
If we live in the present, be mindful of everything our world brings us and be comfortable with having an understanding of our past and some strategies for dealing with types of conditions the future might bring without the n'th degree of detail, our lives may be no longer (although following a healthier lifestyle with exercise and good food can extend it - see my previous blog series on 'Exercise and Wellness") but are much more full than they otherwise would have been.
Don't forget that for every second we spend looking backward or forward is not just lost to us, but also to those around us who are denied our full attention.
Making TODAY count will ensure we arrive at TOMORROW having led a fuller life.
Next week I will talk a bit about how writing can bring happiness and understanding into our lives, AND from next week I will be attaching a Podcast recording of each week's blog for those who want to listen to it, rather than read it.
Stay well and enjoy each day.