Live in the present moment

​So often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what's past. Yes, you should have goals, objectives and dreams for the future. Yes, you should take action, each and every day, to bring you closer to creating the life you really desire. Striving to achieve more and create better motivates you and gives you a desire to keep pushing your boundaries and limitations but; unless you learn to live in the present moment, you will not learn to enjoy all of the rewards you achieve. As Manav said:

“Don’t miss all the beautiful colors of the rainbow looking for that pot of gold.”

​Productivity is not about doing as much as you possibly can. It is about taking the actions necessary to achieve your goals, realise your vision and create the life you really want. Whether that requires a great deal of work or very little is a moot point. In fact, a highly productive person will often complete less work than a non-productive person because he doesn't waste his time doing things which don’t add value to his work and life.

​Negative to Positive

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Why live in the present moment?

​Buddhists have a term called ‘Monkey Minds’. It refers to the mind of the average person whereby they jump from one thought to another and one activity to another; without ever taking the time to enjoy the fruits of their labour. What is the point in working hard to achieve something if you are not going to enjoy the end result? What is the point in undertaking a long journey (pursuing a long-term goal) if you are not going to enjoy the journey itself? You need to quit postponing your happiness and learn to live in the present moment.


How to live in the present moment

​Here are just a few simple tips to help you live in the present moment:

1. Let the past go

if its over live in the present moment

When you live in the here and now, you're living where life is occurring. There is no point dwelling on the past, full of guilt and regrets. When you live in the present; you identify the lessons you can learn from past events and you implement what you have learned.

Once you have learned from the past, it is time to let it go. It has served its purpose. Thank it and say goodbye.

​By constantly mulling over the past and clinging on to it, you are bringing with you the judgements of the past. This impacts your thinking, your ability to process what is happening in the here and now. The past is behind you for a reason i.e. it no longer serves you. So, allowing what has happened in the past to control your thinking and, decision making, in the present, is insane.

The past is gone and cannot be undone while the future has not, and may never, arrive. All you have is the here and now. Live in present moment because it is the only place where you can make a difference.

​Key Point

If you are constantly mulling over the past, that is where you are living. You cannot experience or influence the present moment unless you are living there. To do so, you need to drop the past.

​Related

​If you are struggling to let go of the past, you will find some great tips in my article -  Leave the past behind and set yourself free.


2. Plan for the future but don’t live there

if you want to conquer live in the present moment

​I am sure you want to build a brighter future for you and your loved ones. That is something which should be encouraged. However, you can’t live in the future as it doesn’t yet exist. So, by all means, regularly remind yourself (visualisation) of the life you are trying to create but focus on what you can do today. There is a simple two-step question sequence you can use to help you work for the future while focusing on what you can do today. Just ask yourself the following:

a)    What is the end goal I am trying to create?

b)   What action(s) can I take today, with the time and resources available to me, to take me closer to that end goal?

Once you have identified the action(s) you can take, they should be your focus; not the end goal.

That is where many people fail in their goal setting They create a wonderful, inspirational vision for the future which is great. But then, they remain stuck there. Think of it like building a bridge to the other side of the river. You should be clear on where you are trying to get to and, why you are trying to get there. But you can’t be there until you build the bridge and walk across it.

By focusing on constructing your bridge, by taking daily actions, you allow yourself to live in the present moment while making progress towards your destination.

​Key Point

No matter how big your goal or dream for the future, you must focus on what you can do in the here and now to get you there. It is all the small steps that lead to the completion of the mammoth journey.

​Related

​If you are not clear with your goals, check out the Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.


3. Seek feedback

my grandfather live in the present moment

​Things will go wrong and even the best made plans will go astray. Don’t spend your time moping about what went wrong as you would then be living in the past. Identify what went wrong; maybe with the help of others and use your findings to develop a new improved plan. Once that has been dealt with, you can live in the present moment once again.

This is where one of the biggest differences between those who live in the present moment and, those who don’t; can be best witnessed. Those who don’t live in the present moment spend far too much of their time thinking about things while those who do live in the present moment, identify what needs to be done and, they ​take action. They know that it is action that allows you to live the life you want. And, you can only take action in the present moment.

I am not discounting the importance of thinking time. In fact, it is incredibly important. But when you are always thinking and never acting, it is a clear sign that you are not living in the present moment. Things change through action.

​Key Point

Action can only be taken in the present moment. When things go wrong, you do need to think it over, but your thinking needs to be aimed at finding a solution to the problem, taking action and getting back into the present moment. Being action-oriented is a one of the key attitudes which allows you to live in the present moment.

​Related

​You can learn from your failure to overcome procrastination and take action. This article will show you how.


4. Seek an alternative view

nothing is live in the present moment

No matter what happens, you can find an alternative perspective to take. You can get angry at missing the train or you can enjoy the opportunity to check out the shop across the road from the station.

You can be disappointed at failing to land the job or you can be grateful for having had the opportunity to improve your interview skills.

When things go wrong, you should acknowledge that they didn’t go to plan but you don’t have to dwell on it. You can live in the present moment by finding the positives from the situation or at the very least; making the best of a bad situation.

Another way to think of this is to look for the lessons in any given situation. When you identify the lesson, you can be grateful for the lesson and let the upset, disappointment or bitterness go. For example, if you are angry because you missed the train, you can take numerous lessons from it:

  • You can learn that you need to be better prepared and set out on time
  • You can be determined to learn more about the area as you explore it while waiting for the next train.
  • Maybe you learn that you need to bring some work or entertainment (e.g. book) with you in future, so you have something to do if you do miss the train
  • Maybe you could learn that you need to slow down, stop rushing and savour life

There really are several lessons and, positives which can be taken from negative situations.

​Key Point

It is not about pretending that you didn’t have a negative experience. It is about quickly realising that what has happened has happened and, you need to find a way to make the most of a bad situation. Dwelling in your own disappointment does nothing for you. When you deal with it, you get to live in the present moment again; thus, getting back to a place where you can take some form of positive action.

​Related

​Learning to appreciate the positives in a negative situation is a great way to build your self-esteem. Learn more about the importance of self-esteem by reading 11 Benefits of high self-esteem.


5. Embrace your inner strength

the only true thing is what is in front of you right now live in the present moment

When you live in the present moment, you accept that things go wrong. You don’t fret or fuss about it. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to change things for the better but you don’t allow yourself to be knocked down by a mistake or a little misfortune.

When you embrace your inner strength; you know that you are strong enough and powerful enough to make corrections and get back on track. Why worry about a little delay when you can enjoy life while rectifying the situation?

One of the most important things you can do to help you live in the present and, start being happier is to start recognising the difference between you and your mistakes. Your mistakes are simply behaviour that went wrong. Maybe you made the wrong decision or, maybe you executed the behaviour poorly. Either way, you are not your behaviour. A mistake does not define you. When you make a mistake, your self-esteem should be unaffected.

Instead, you use your self-esteem to remain calm, composed and in control. You can then identify what went wrong and, the action(s) you need to take to rectify it. You will always make mistakes and, you will never be perfect. Perfectionism does not allow you to live in the present because it can never be achieved. The moment of perfection can never arrive.

Accept your mistakes, stay strong, learn from them and move on.

​Key Point

When you expect to be perfect in any way, you are postponing reality for a moment that will never arrive. Perfection is neither necessary, nor possible. Understand that you are a fallible human being and live in the reality of the present moment.

​Related

​To learn more about the dangers of perfectionism, read Perfectionism sucks – take action, gain wisdom, get better.

​Negative to Positive

​You can identify some key changes to allow you start living a more positive life with my FREE eBook - From Negative to Positive.


Get Your FREE Copy Here



6. Live a life of balance

There is only now live in the present moment

You are not abandoning your desire to create your own life story and live your dreams. You are merely finding that balance between building the future and enjoying the present.

You will always want to improve your life but tomorrow is never guaranteed. Aim for a brighter tomorrow but enjoy the day you have.

I enjoy watching tv shows about art and history. Something that always amazes me is how long some of the most famous, historic buildings in the world took to build. Many of them were not completed in the lifetime of either the person who designed them or, the person who commissioned them. Often, these great figures knew that they wouldn’t live to see their plans come to fruition, but they didn’t get caught up in that.

They took pleasure in their day to day work and enjoyed the progress they made towards the end goal. Had they focused only on the future achievement, they never would have taken action because they wouldn’t have seen the point in starting something they were not going to finish.​

​Key Point

Each of us will leave our own mark on the world but none of us will live to see the full potential of humanity achieved. Instead, it is our duty to live in the present moment, do the best we can do while here and, leave the world a little better off for us having been here.

​Related

​The inability to live in the present moment is one of the biggest causes of low self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, Unlock Your Self-Esteem will help you get back on track.


​Conclusion

​We live in a world of opposites. There will be good times and bad. You are ambitious and you want to build a better life for yourself and the people you love. That is admirable and is something to be encouraged. However, it shouldn’t be your sole focus. You must remember that you cannot live in a past that is no longer here or a future which does not exist yet. Plan for that brighter future but never forget to live in the present moment and make the most of the day you already have.