Live in the Moment

June 20, 2021

Last month, I was planning my speech for a public speaking conference. The process was stressful, and sleep eluded me as I agonized over what could go wrong during my presentation.

2021 06 20

To alleviate my anxiety, I needed to focus on the present moment. Worrying about things that might never happen was a waste of both time and energy. While preparation for tomorrow is important, the best way to prepare is to be fully engaged in today's tasks. That is the only way to effectively plan for the future.

In prayer, we ask only for "today's bread," without dwelling on yesterday's stale loaf or tomorrow's uncertainties. The idea is to live for today—you can only consume what is available to you now.

Preparing for my presentation is largely a mental exercise. I like to think of life as an hourglass. Thousands of grains of sand rest at the top, slowly and evenly passing through the narrow neck in the middle. Attempting to rush more than one grain through this bottleneck would clog the hourglass.

Each morning when I wake up, it feels like I have a multitude of tasks ahead. However, tackling them one by one and allowing them to pass through my day gently and evenly—like the grains of sand—is essential for maintaining both my physical and mental well-being.

Rather than fretting over yesterday's burdens or tomorrow's presentation, I can live a more fulfilling life by focusing on today, a compartment of time separate from past and future.

I stand at the crossroads of two eternities: a past I can't change and a future I can't predict. I can exist only in the present moment. I can endure whatever today brings until the sun sets, knowing tomorrow will be a new day.

Life passes by quickly. We journey through space at an incredible speed. Today is the most valuable asset I possess. I live only in the current moment. No one ever loses any life except the one they are presently living, and no one ever lives any life except the one they are about to lose.

The distinction between the longest and shortest lives is negligible. We cannot lose the past or the future; our only guaranteed possession is now. Therefore, to minimize worry, I should focus on living in the present moment.

Of all the resources—focus, time, and money—time is the most crucial for my success and well-being. Anxiety about tomorrow's speech will not improve my performance; rather, it will likely hinder it, causing poor sleep and diminishing my focus.

By optimizing my time and concentrating on the present, I can achieve better outcomes in life. This is the only moment in which I have the power to effect change.

Generally speaking, living in the moment contributes to a happier life, personal growth, improved social interactions, and greater self-acceptance. Trusting my instincts and feelings as they occur helps me combat feelings of impostor syndrome.

Lowering my expectations and knowing that I've given my all in a specific situation helps alleviate embarrassment in case of failure. I must take responsibility for my present circumstances, rather than hiding behind unrealistic fantasies or blaming others.

By caring less about what others may think of me in the future, I can take risks and discover my capabilities. Stretching my self-beliefs could reveal that people are more accepting of my flaws than I thought. Being vulnerable and genuine could lead to stronger social connections.

Currently, I avoid overreacting to societal judgments. I value the present moment with the candid opinions of those who truly appreciate and respect me. I worry less about past perceptions and focus more on how specific people will see me in the future.

Living in the present moment is a powerful tool for moderating overwhelming feelings of rejection and humiliation. It makes me more aware of the irrational negative thoughts that occasionally cloud my mind.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn