I thought July would be an appropriate time to evaluate my progress during this year. With June being mid-year I thought it would be a good moment to slow down. I wanted to ease up on working towards my goals that month. I didn’t set goals for June but had an unwritten goal (literally because I keep my goals tracked in a bullet journal). My unwritten goal for June was to explore.
I used this time to explore new ideas and to see if I was still on the right path. I was becoming too goal-centric and was beginning to lose sight of why I was making goals and evolving my personal vision. From this realization came this post, so now I want to talk about the importance of being aware in the present.
There’s nothing we can do about the past and we can only prepare for the future but what we do and think now is what we have to deal with.
I can usually trace my failures and negative events to the choices I made. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking at the time. Then I remember that we are shaped or influenced by what’s going in those moments. These actions or decisions can have both known and unknown effects later on.
It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it.
Focusing on the now
If you read my posts you can see a common theme of personal growth out of failure. I focus a lot on the unknown tomorrow yet I don’t want us to ignore or pass up what’s going on at the moment. As we continue working at our goals and personal vision we have to remind ourselves to look up and see what’s going on around us.
If we open ourselves up to observing more of the world around us and eventually the ability to identify opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise see.
If we can stay grounded in the present and not dwell on the past or an unknown future, we can manage to have enough focus on what’s going on at the moment. We will be able to take advantage of circumstances of which we would otherwise be completely unaware. Even if we aren’t looking for new opportunities with respect to our initial goal, you are still improving your skills and sharpening ourselves.
The best we can do for tomorrow is create a plan and be prepared for what may come including personal disaster (loss of job), natural disaster (tornado or hurricane), or personal development (learning).
What is the future? As the Durant quote above states: what happened yesterday brings us to today and what we do today will take us to tomorrow. If we think about it, life is made up of the accumulated results of our current actions and past experiences. Yet with our possibility or potential to shape or influence the future.
It’s a nice thought that we can actively mold our future. It’s not a bad thing to think about the future but, as with most things, we must find a balance. Balance doesn’t necessarily mean an equal split between the now and tomorrow but a focus that is comfortable for each of us in the context of our goals and personal vision.
For me, that might mean I redirect some focus from tomorrow to today. For others, it may mean that they focus more on tomorrow than today. This is something each of us has to think about.
I think most of us to focus too much on tomorrow though not to the extremes but just enough that we miss out on what’s happening in front of us. It’s hard to not think about tomorrow, especially when a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck.
There’s a real stress involved yet we should pull ourselves back a moment to see the good around us.
Taking moments to observe. See what’s going right is a good way to balance out our thoughts on tomorrow. In other posts, I talk about the importance of self-reflection when working towards or developing goals. These are typically tomorrow focused but are equally important for the present.
These actions help us stay motivated. They help us focus on what we think is important in our path of personal growth and development.
We all have reasons to hope, and reasons to fear. When we have too much of one without much of the other, we are out of balance. Good things rarely come from such imbalances. What are you going to change about your hopes and your fears?
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