By Beth Tabak
"The future depends on what we do in the present."
-- Mahatma Gandhi
Do you ever feel that your mind is about 5 miles ahead of the rest of your body? By the time you catch up you are standing there dazed and confused wondering what exactly you are suppose to do next. Then you remember the one other thing you were suppose to take care of at the last stop...now that you are on the other side of town...and you only have 20 minutes left. You know the feeling? Or maybe you are stuck in the past? STOP! Get back in the moment. The moment is the place to be to reap the most precious treasures that life has to offer. After all, you canít smell the roses by reminiscing or day dreaming about them now can you? Read on to see what you can gain by being present.
1- Your memory improves. It improves because when you are in the moment you consciously notice what is going on around you, and you are able to retain it. If you find yourself frequently misplacing things you may want to try this exercise. Take 24 hours to keep a mental tab on where your thoughts are. Are you living in the past, the future, or the present? Now begin the process of becoming more focused in the present. It is fine to look at the future and reminisce about the past as long as you are spending most of the time in the present.
2- You become more productive. When you are in the moment you make fewer errors and can focus on the task at hand. This saves you time and results in higher quality work. Consider spending 30 minutes to plan your day either in the morning or the previous night. Then you can focus on each task one by one vs. trying to remember all that you have to do. How about when you are stuck in traffic? Do you spend your time yelling at the cars to move or just grumbling about it? I was definitely one of those people telling the car in front of me to ďmove!Ē You can imagine how much I accomplished. Shift your attitude. How can you spend that time to make the most of it and make it productive? Deep breathing exercises, listening to a book on tape, or enjoying your favorite music are just a few ideas. Instead of thinking ahead about what you are missing or how someone will react when you are late, consider how you can make the most of the moment. The more systems you put into place the less you have to plan and the more time you have to be present.
3- You avoid accidents. You are aware of your surroundings and what is going on inside and around you at any given moment. I remember almost 20 years ago saving $3000 to put down on a brand new RX-7 with sunroof. One month after purchasing the car I wrecked it. I was lost and took an exit to figure out where I was. I stopped at a stop sign and was looking for signs to figure out which way I should go. I thought I had looked both ways. I pulled out right into the side of a large bright red 4-door car. How could I have missed it? I was not present. Fortunately, no one was hurt. I wonder how many people have lost their lives because someone was not in the moment.
4- You increase your own security. Police officers stress to be aware of your surroundings. Criminals look for easy targets, and those targets are often people who are not present.
5- You improve relationships. How often do you notice someone really listening to you? How many people in your life do you talk to who really listen and are in the moment with you. I can say for sure that the best relationships I have are with people who are present with me in conversations. It is extremely difficult to develop a relationship with someone whose mind is elsewhere. So if you have a teenager that you would like to relate to better consider this. Try just being present with them and listening without reacting or the need to fix. See what happens and let me know.
6- You can reduce fear dramatically. Fear is always about a future event...the fear that something will or will not occur. If you live in the present, then you should not have any fear. I know...easier said than done...and worth working towards. You think so?
7- Life becomes richer! You can appreciate life to the fullest by using your senses to connect with others, listen intensely, savor the tastes, smell wonderful fragrances, hug and be hugged, feel great textures, and see the beauty that surrounds you. If you found out you only had 6 months to live suddenly these things would become a priority. Why wait? Appreciate the journey no matter what your life looks like right now.
Right now...what can make this moment great for you? I am savoring the taste of a new French Vanilla flavored coffee I am sipping on...mmmm... while I feel a light breeze on this beautiful sunny day in Southern Texas. I also caught the glimpse of a bright red cardinal sitting on a tree branch just in front of me. I would completely miss out on all of this if I were allowing the future to steal my present. The present is a gift you donít want to miss out on. Make your life rich by aligning your mind and body in the same place at the same time...smell the roses... Starting Now! Please send your comments and tell me what you want to read. l would love to hear from you!
Copyright 2002, Beth A. Tabak, All rights reserved.
Beth Tabak is a Professional Life Coach and owner of Starting Now. She works with clients nationwide to get on the fast track to their goals while creating a life they can get excited about right now. Contact Beth to learn more. Ignite 2003! For details send a blank e-mail to