Why Your Belief In The Past & Future Destroys Your Present
“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” (Simone de Beauvoir)
Unconventional opinion: The past and future do not exist. The present moment is all there is.
Think about it, our lives are simply a series of present moments. When thinking about the past and the future, we merely engage in thought. The past and future aren’t tangibly real, but our memory of these present moments are very real — we just choose to label those experiences the “past” and hypothetical scenarios the “future.”
Belief in the past
The vast majority of people are living in the past. They believe in the past so much that they allow themselves to ignore the present and create a negative cycle of rumination within their psyche.
Now, it is extremely valuable to take note of the past and learn your lessons from it. But, the imbalance of obsessing over it is toxic in every way.
Excessive belief in the past results in the following:
Unhealthy Habits & Addictions
Belief in the future
The vast majority of people are also living in the future — constantly thinking of hypothetical scenarios that will likely never happen. This also holds them back from the potential growth of their minds and bodies.
Just as we say for the past, it is highly valuable to think forward in the future and learn from the potential mistake that one could make, but the imbalance causes suffering.
Excessive belief in the future results in the following:
Being stuck in fantasy land
Lacking practical action in the moment
Notice, there must be a balance struck in between the “past” ad the “future” — this balance lies within the present moment.
Below, we’ll explore the power of the present moment in terms of this context.
The Power Of The Present Moment
The present moment is where we can utilize our full power for a number of key reasons:
We can acknowledge the past, learn from it, and implement it into the present moment.
By being completely in the present moment, we can refer back to the past and implement the lessons that we learn from our previous experiences.
The present moment is where all action takes place. We don’t take action in the past and we don’t take action in the future.
We can forecast the future, plan accordingly, and implement it into the present moment.
By being completely in the present moment, we can plan to a certain extent in the future. What I mean by ‘plan’ is the following:
Implementing high quality habits in the present for future reward (gratitude, meditation, exercise, so forth.)
Take a look at the mistakes of others and avoid those mistakes in the present.
Create a plan of action for your series of present moments that will carry you into the “future.”
We can utilize flow.
Flow is where all great work comes from and this only comes about when we are so focused on the present moment that we lose ourselves.
Deep work within your field of work for at least 90 minutes is essential.
We can recognize the illusion of thoughts.
When we are fully in the present moment, we can view the train of thought bubble up and allow it to dissipate. The more we can do this, the more we begin to understand that our thoughts are not actually ours. Instead, they are a train of random thoughts based on external factors.
This allows us to remove the following:
The most under-estimated negative impact of focusing on the past and future in an unhealthy and imbalanced manner is this: It takes away our resources from what we can do in the present moment.
In essence, it’s an opportunity cost. Focusing on the past comes at the expense of the present and focusing on the future comes at the expense of the present.
Below, we’ll discuss strategies in how to become present moment oriented as opposed to past and future oriented.
How To Become Present Moment Oriented
To become present moment oriented, we must practice some of the following:
Mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to become present moment oriented. It will show you what the past, future, thoughts, really are and free you of unnecessary suffering.
You must focus on your own type of deep work for at least 90 minutes, every single day. This, done consistently, will move you closer to flow and will help you produce great work.
Understand The Mind & Ego
Understanding how the mind and ego works does wonders for our ability to become present moment oriented. Study up on valuable resources out there because they are available and will aid you on your journey.
The present moment is the foundation of everything. Don’t get seduced by the past and future and focus on the present.