The present is the most pleasant, and luckily, it’s where you are right now.
It’s lucky because the present is the only place where you can start, stop or continue things. It’s where you can make an impact. It’s where you can take a first step and start a chain of events.
Even luckier still, it’s ALWAYS the present, so you can always do something. And even if you don’t capture this present, there’s another one righttttttt… now…. And now….. There’s always a new present just around the corner, just don’t let too many slip away without action, as sadly, one day we all run out of them.
We’re always physically in the present though, no other time exists. How can we possibly be anywhere else?!? Where could we possibly be? The answer is that you can be physically here and mentally somewhere else. And we often are.
Most of the time we aren’t mentally present. The majority of thought that occurs in our heads is about the future and the past. We spend most of our time and attention thinking about what HAS happened and what WILL happen next. Unfortunately, that leaves very little room for what IS happening right now.
Why are we so obsessed with the past and the future though?
The Future: Hope and Anxiety live in the future, with aspirations and worries of what might be. They are thoughts about what might come to pass. This anticipation and worry drives and motivates what we do in the present. It impels us to create a future we want to live in. This future we desire is about moving toward a more desirable state of being or moving away from an undesirable way of being (Skynet anyone?). We all desire for things to be “less bad” and “more good” in the future.
The Past: Memories are thoughts too. More specifically, they’re thoughts about things that happened in the past. Thoughts that exist in our minds in the present moment. Amazingly, we have the power to recall a thought about what happened in our past so vividly that our bodies and minds are momentarily tricked into reliving it as though it’s happening right now. For proof of this, we need look no further than asking anyone alive to recall a memory of something embarrassing they’ve done in front of a childhood crush and watch them twitch and squirm as they recount it.
We use these vivid, experiential memories to stitch together our narratives about who we are and where we’ve come from. These narratives lead to beliefs, both empowering and limiting alike. These beliefs in turn colour our decision making in the present. They become the lens that we see the world through.
What we can take away from all of this:
Only the present ever exists, and this is where we can impact things.
BUT we’re obsessed with thoughts about the future and the past and spend most of our mental time thinking about. Awareness is the key here.
Now that you’re aware of this model of thought, all you need to do is be aware of where you are mentally at any given moment. Once you do this you can choose to remember the past and what you’ve learnt, anticipate the future you want to create, and then actually do something about it, now in the present. You always have control of the doing part.
It seems obvious to say, but the present is all that there ever is, no matter how much we try to trick ourselves with dreams of the future and memories of the past.
While experience from the past teaches us, and anticipation of the future helps us plan, we can only ever impact the here and now, one step at a time.
Since you can only ever make an impact here and now, I ask you - What are you waiting for?
There’s no time like the present.
Thank you for taking the time to read and for investing in better thinking.
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Until then, Onward & upward, Jake