~ Henry David Thoreau
You must live in the present. If you want the success in life and in business that you say you want, then you must do this and not look toward another land.
That other land could be the someday moment when everything is perfect or thinking you'll only be happy when you make $5,000 a month. There is no perfect someday and it is only now that happiness exists.
Stop reading this for a moment. Look up. What do you see, hear, feel, smell? If you're eating while reading this, what do you taste? When was the last time you ate without doing something else and really tasted your food?
And don't start to label what it is you are experiencing. Just experience it. Don't say that was a truck that rumbled by or that you love the taste of the may on your sandwich. Just experience it. Not easy. Our brains want to label and categorize. We have filters in place. We think we're experiencing when what we're really doing is conceptualizing. Stop it for a minute. Even for just one second.
Now that wasn't easy. I just tried it. But I have learned to experience things as they are rather than to just name and move on, at least part of the time. It's a great practice. The implications are far reaching. What i mean is that our prejudices get disrupted and for a brief moment we can be aware of them. This means we might not act on them.
At the point maybe you see where I'm going with awareness being the doorway to success. When you're in the present moment and fully aware, you're not in some idea of what you think is going on. You're not telling a story about it. And usually it's that story or idea that gets us into trouble.
Let me give you an example:
When my husband is late getting back from somewhere I worry. He was in a car accident a few years ago and so that comes to my mind. The thing is I know nothing about what may be keeping him. the worry stems from the story I tell myself about the situation. My mind conjures up images of accidents. I get scared. I create a stress response in my body. And then he walks in the door. Nothing happened. It was all in my mind.
I don't want to do that anymore so when I start to go there I give myself other, more probable scenarios to thing about or I keep myself in the present moment. I relax into reading my book or getting some work done. It helps and I don't waste time worrying. I get my studying done or a blog post written.
So you can see where not being in the present moment can thwart your success. How can it help you be successful?
The present moment is a point of power. It is the only place from which you can act. You may be visiting the past or future when planning, but when you take action, you are acting from the present. If you keep in the present and take stock of the facts around you, your actions will be clearer.
Here comes another example:
A friend calls and leaves a message that they don't want to go out tonight. You thought they were looking forward to it. They didn't leave an explanation. Your mind starts to think that maybe they are tiring of you or that you did something wrong since they've been acting strange lately, so you begin to avoid them. The friendship fades.
The thing is yo based your decision on a story you made up. You didn't know what your friend was thinking. If you had called the next day to check on them, perhaps they would have told you that they were exhausted by work for the past month. Instead you made an uninformed decision that ended the friendship. This may be extreme, but you get my point.
We make assumptions all the time, but we need to have enough awareness to see when we're doing it and to check them out.
The best thing to do is to just stop making assumptions or at least catch ourselves in the act. To live in the present moment more often is to give ourselves the space to watch our inner workings. When we can see what's going on inside, we can see when we're telling ourselves untrue stories. This awareness is freedom. It's a doorway to success because our decisions and actions will be based on the facts and not lies or preconceptions.
Thoreau spent a lot of time in the woods. He took in his surroundings and wrote about them and his inner workings. Here are some things you can do to help create greater awareness. I'm sure Thoreau would make similar suggestions.
Experience your surroundings
Take time to just be. As yourself this often: Am I present or is my mind a mile away? If you're not present, come back to the moment and take a deep breath. Notice without naming.
Journaling is a great way to be present. You can write in detail about what you see or hear or smell. Maybe you'll write a poem. Poets don't live in their preconceptions. Well, the good ones don't. It's also a way to be present to how you're feeling at any given moment.
This is probably going to come up in most of my blog posts. Meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, is the best way to train your mind to be in the present moment. It's the training that will help you ask that question above: Am I present? During mindfulness meditation you keep bringing yourself back to the breath or some other point of focus. You also stay mindful of what's going on in your mind.
Give them a try. I promise you that with time and practice your life will begin to shift. Awareness is truly a doorway and not just a key to success. It's a threshold and on the other side are clarity and the confidence to move forward.