Time is an important concept to human beings… it dominates our lives. We are driven by the demands and boundaries of time, yet time is beyond our ability to control – rather, we learn to “manage” it. There is an entire industry birthed around helping us “manage” our time better. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an important concept. I, for one, want to make sure I use my time on this earth as effectively as I can. But I wonder if we all wouldn’t find a greater measure of freedom if we thought about the concept of time differently before we attempted to “manage” it?
Time is a continuum and a constant in our world… at any given moment we will always have experienced a past, be living in the present, and be facing a future. How did that mere fact become so controlling in our lives? Think about it – we are endlessly juggling the implications of our past, the demands of our present, and our thoughts about the future. I hear so many people say “live in the moment” or “live one day at a time”… we all are familiar with those phrases and perhaps they have lost some of their impact due to simple overuse. But the truth behind these sayings is that nothing is truly REAL except for this very moment, and now the next moment, and now the next… and on and on. Unfortunately few of us think that way… somehow we’ve allowed our past and our future to become more dominant and real to us than the present moment. How much time do you spend truly immersed in the moment at hand versus thinking (often worrying) about what happened in the past or what may happen in your future?
Let me give the past the acknowledgment it requires – yes, we understand that our past shapes us. We should learn from it and teach those lessons to others. But is the past deserving of the power that we so willing give it? Should the past, whether it be our childhood or what happened this morning, be the lens through which we see our present? Often we don’t even use the past to define our present moment; rather, we spend so little time in the present that we use our past to frame our future and spend our energies on those thoughts. The present moment has no place to exist or be enjoyed when we do this. Then comes the cycle of regret for not effectively using our present moments which have quickly become our past. The past is not real… yes, it happened, but it ceases to exist.
What about the demands of the future? As a entrepreneur coach I would never suggest that you don’t think about it… in fact, I am a big believer in setting goals, intentions and planning for your future. We all must have dreams that inspire, guide and push us closer to fulfilling our destiny. Hope for our future is a powerful and important emotion. However, many people spend more time shrinking back from the fear of their future, and this is when it begins to control and take us away from the power of the present moment. No matter how obvious the concept is, it bears repeating: the future is not real. It hasn’t happened yet and neither you or anyone else can predict what will occur in the future moments. How have we been so persuaded to spend so much thought time in and on our future?
Live in the present moment..it’s not just a feel-good quote on a plaque. Make the most of what you can do right now. Put the past and the future in their rightful place, but stop giving them top billing in your thought life. The past and the future are not real… we truly live moment by moment, whether we want to our not. Recognize and embrace that principle in your life and walk in the freedom that it offers.