But first – why, exactly, do you need to be good at “now?” As humans, most of us are pretty bad at “now.” We use our magnificently large brains to dwell on the past or stress about the future. And while we’re focused on those things, we totally miss the “now.”
Imagine that your first child is nearing that magical moment of taking her first steps. She’s mastered the roll, the crawl, the pull-up and is seriously contemplating picking up a foot, swinging it forward, and heading your direction with outstretched arms. Where will your focus be – on her, on the stained rug, or on your smartphone? On her, of course – no parent wants to miss that monumental developmental step in their child’s life.
Here’s the secret – all of life is filled with monumental moments, but you can only benefit from them if you’re “in the now” enough to recognize them. Last week I was at a networking meeting. While talking with a woman I’d never met before, I let my mind wander just a little bit. Maybe you’ve been guilty of that, too? I realized later that something she told me about what she does could be beneficial to one of my clients. Darn – what a great opportunity to help out two people, right at that very moment! Thankfully I found her contact information eventually, and did get the two of them connected. It would have felt better (and probably looked better to this woman) if I’d been paying attention – been good at “now” – and could have connected them right then, or at least gotten her info so I could follow up promptly.
Life is like an old-fashioned film – it’s a series of snapshots strung together, not an actual moving image. This moment here is a snapshot, then this moment is another snapshot, and now this moment it a totally new snapshot. Getting good at now means that you’re present in those snapshots, not internally focused on something else in the past or the future.
So – what about those three steps to getting good at “now?” Here you go:
- Every day, at the end of the day, write down three good things that happened to you that day. No fair re-using anything from previous days – this needs to be three new good things each day.
- Every day, at the beginning of the day, write down three good things that you expect to happen that day. Again, three new things each day.
- When something bad happens, before you go into blaming or shaming others or yourself, find three good things in that bad event. This is a very powerful way to train your brain to focus on the good, not the bad.
Get good at now. There is power to being in the moment, because it means you’ll see things (opportunities?) that others may not. You’ll be amazed to see what you’ve been missing!
I’d love to hear about how you stay focused in the “now.” Please post your thoughts to my Facebook page, and share this article with the person you thought of as you read it. Have a happy day!