Be here now! This is one HUGE problem with our society! Most people aren’t living in the present moment, the here and now. You share the planet with billions of people, but how many are truly in their life’s moment right this second? We cannot change the past, and each second carries us into the future. Meanwhile, there is the present to be attended to. People are far too focused on the past, or living so far in their future they don’t notice what’s going on around them. It’s like their minds are spread thin across the fourth dimension. As an old Irish proverb says, “Don’t waste too many of your todays on yesterday.”
Here is a little secret: the future is right now. Yesterday you thought about today, which in my mind means you were living in it. Tomorrow you will think about today. Eventually, the future will leave you behind. You will wake up one day and realize that you never even lived in the present. Don’t spend your time riding on a slow train back to the past; buy a ticket for a high-speed train to a future destination.
Every morning you wake up is like having a second chance, or an opportunity to change course in life. You open your eyes, and there is a fresh white canvas waiting to be painted on. Even if we don’t plan on making major changes on a given day, it helps to have an attitude of gratitude and just be thankful we woke up. There are thousands of people who didn’t, and I have no doubt all of them would trade places with us if they could. Don’t let the mundane day-in, day-out suppress your sense of awe. It is not sophomoric to take a moment to reflect on how amazing the simple fact of your existence is.
You are real, you are a person. The sky and the stars and the planets are real. Plants and animals and all the amazing things around us are miracles, as are the fact that we are privileged enough to be conscious of it. As philosophers have asked for centuries, “Why something instead of nothing?” Life is a sublime and wonderful mystery, and taking a moment now and again to recognize it as such can help ground us. So times are hard: the very fact that we exist to experience the struggle is enough to amaze us and shake us out of our complacency.
I have found that merely being grateful for the air I breathe helps me put life in perspective. It inspires me to get the most out of every day. As far as I know, I have one life to live. I intend to live it. Time and time again, I have seen people who have died long before they’re actually dead and in the grave. They are living miserable lives because they hold onto something—some pain, some insecurity, some fear or some hatred—that will not allow them to live their life to the fullest. A wise man once said that you must die before you can really live. What I take this to mean is that you must cease to be so concerned with your own life that you forget what it means to have life! It means you’ve been given the chance to do something amazing.
Whenever I see somebody just going through the motions of life, I have the urge to check their pulse. Do they realize an exciting and invigorating life could be theirs if they just opened their eyes to life? We live in a country blessed with bountiful freedoms. We can come and go as we please. If we’re down in the dumps in one place, we can move. If our career or lifestyle is bogging us down, we can head overseas for an invigorating intercultural adventure. Just volunteering to help the poor can make us more appreciative of what we have been given.
Sometimes you see wisdom in the strangest places. I once read the following on a button: “If you don’t like your lot in life, change your life a lot.” Maybe your environment isn’t providing the opportunities you seek. Well, a bus ticket is pretty cheap. Look at a map for a better locale, and if you decide it’s right for you, hit the road. New adventures are always just around the corner.
Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your current way of thinking. Ask yourself these questions:
Am I self-sufficient? Do I thrive or simply survive? Does unbalance control me or do I control my balance? Does time control me or do I control my time? Does money control me or do I control my money? Does food control me or do I control my food? Does anger control me or do I control my anger? Does passion control me or do I control my passion? Do I try to find the humor in the things, or do I take things too seriously? Do I live life to the fullest or do I live life with no fullness?
Don’t be the person laying on their deathbed regretting not having done what they always wanted to. Imagine your future self, looking back on what you did with your days and nights. Ask if this person had the guts to throw caution to the wind and just go for it. It’s a morbid thought, but one any mature adult must accept: the cemetery isn’t going anywhere; it will always be waiting for you. And you don’t have to be deceased to be a ghost.
Every day of our life spent wallowing in a situation we’d prefer not to be is like being a ghoul or a specter, haunting our own home, workplace, and the city we live in. A wasted day is a day living as a shadow of our true selves. Taking the safe and boring way guarantees you will have major regrets one day. How much better to live the exciting life! A life full of curiosity and opportunity! Feel the blood rushing through your veins and the air filling your lungs. You are alive! You are a beast!
Chances are that if you procrastinate in one aspect of your life, such as business, you will procrastinate in others, such as your personal life. You must live your life with urgency in order to accomplish your dreams. So: Procrastinate or Proactivate? The way you answer this question determines your destiny. It’s that simple. You have two choices in life, TO DO or TO NOT DO. Not choosing is also a choice. At every juncture in our life there is a fork in the road, and at least two paths. Both ways are riddled with uncertainties and unknowns. But as you stand there wondering what to do, you’re losing momentum. Choose, and let the path not taken recede into the distance.
The great thing about your life is that you alone decide your outcome through your actions. When you’re debating between doing and not doing, it will only be action that finally decides. Choices don’t have to be major, life-altering affairs. Start out small—baby steps! All the tiny moments—the seconds, minutes, and hours—added together determine the quality of your future. Every moment provides you with an opportunity to work toward a future that will profit you mentally, spiritually, and financially. Start with some small matter, and soon you will feel more comfortable taking the grandest leaps of faith.
By Derek Clark
Motivational and inspirational speaker Derek Clark was in foster care for 13 years and shares his expertise on overcoming the past and adversity with audiences all over the world.