GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski
If you are anxious, you’re worried about what might happen. You’re living in the future. If you are sad or angry, you’re reacting to what happened. You’re living in the past. Nothing can be accomplished when living in the past because the die is cast. And nothing can be accomplished when living in the future because it’s all in your head. The only time we have is now.
The only time to start is now. Even if your project is a short one, you’re in a day-for-day slip with your completion date for every day you don’t start. And this is doubly true for long projects. If you’re living in the past, you block yourself from starting because the last project was difficult, you didn’t have the resources or it didn’t come out as expected, and you want to protect yourself from a rerun. If you’re living in the past, you block yourself from starting because you don’t know how it will turn out, you don’t have all the answers, you don’t have sufficient resources, and you don’t know what you don’t know. Acknowledge the problems with the past and potential problems with the future, and start anyway.
Starting starts with starting.
The only time to say something is now. If you’re living in the past, you block yourself from saying something controversial or thought-provoking because you remember how it went the last time someone did that. If you’re living in the future, you prevent yourself from saying something radical because, well, you weren’t paying attention and missed your opportunity to change history. Acknowledge that there may be some blowback for your insightful comments, live in the now and say them anyway. And live in the now so you can pay attention and use your sharp wit to create the future.
If you don’t say something, nothing is ever said.
The only time to help is now. Living in the past, you block yourself from understanding the significance of the situation because you see it through old lenses. Living in the future, you block yourself from helping because you worry if the helping will help or worry the helping will get in the way of your future commitments. If someone needs help, help them now. They will understand that the outcome is uncertain, and they’re okay with that. In fact, they will be happy you recognized their troubling situation and made time to check in with them. When you live in the now, people appreciate it. The time to help is now.
When no one helps, no one is helped.
When you find yourself living in the past, close your eyes, recognize your anger or sadness, and focus on your breath for ten seconds. And if that doesn’t work, put your hand on your chest and do it again. And if that doesn’t work, tell yourself your sadness is temporary and do it again. This is a fail-safe way to bring yourself into the now. Then, sitting in the now, start that project, say what must be said, and help people.
And when you find yourself living in the future, close your eyes, recognize your anxiety, and focus on your breath for ten seconds. And if that doesn’t work, put your hand on your chest and do it again. And if that doesn’t work, tell yourself your anxiety is temporary and repeat. This will bring you into the now. Then, sitting in the now, start that project, say what must be said, and help people.
The only time to shape the future is now.
Image credit: Pixabay
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