“Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. You miss a lot of the ‘now’ doing that. There’s only so much ‘now’ to go around”.
Reading a book the other day these couple of sentences really sent bells going in my head. The book is just an easy read fiction thriller and these few sentences just grabbed me. How much time do I spend in thinking about the past and, in some instances doing something really useless ……. trying to rewrite history? However much I know that, apart from perhaps taking a valuable lesson from it, I cannot change what has happened, do I allow valuable thinking time to be wasted with going over it? Sometimes even going over it again and again a bit like a stuck gramophone record!
And what about the future – how much time do I have my attention there? I am not talking about the potentially useful stuff, the creating the vision, setting some achievable goals – I am more asking myself about the fears and concerns over things that might or might not happen. The answer is that, if I am brutally honest, too much time is wasted on that activity which achieves little. It brings to mind something I read – I think in a Stuart Wilde book – many years ago; ‘there are only two types of things that anyone can worry about – the things that you can control and the things that you can’t. Well, if you can control it then do something about it and if you can’t control it then there is nothing you can do. So, in either circumstance, there is little point in worrying!’
The ‘now’ is incredibly precious and that is the only place where you might take your learnings from the past and do something that could impact the future. Staying totally present sounds as though it would be really easy. Just try it for a very short space of time – say one hour. Then ask yourself the question “how often did my mind slip into the past or the future?” You might just surprise yourself and recognise that perhaps it is not quite as easy as it seems!
Penny Ferguson is an inspirational speaker who changes lives and business. Part of ‘The Living Leader’ they provide leadership development programmes that promote long lasting and positive change in business. She has worked with businesses like Sage and Travis Perkins. For a competitive edge, see how Penny can help you at The Living Leadertoday.