All of us spend 100% of our time in one of 3 places:
- The Past
- The Present
- The Future
Ok, yes… PHYSICALLY we are always in the present, but MENTALLY our thoughts can be focused on things that have happened, things that are happening or things that may happen someday.
I think the grand paradox of our existence is finding a balance between being happy with who we are and what we have in the present moment, while also working towards a better future for ourselves, our friends, family and all other conscious creatures in our cosmos.
My ideal allocation of time in each place is this:
I believe it is beneficial to remember the past and learn from it, but not to dwell on it. I think “Living in The Moment” is extremely important to achieve lasting happiness in life. Finally, I believe that thinking about and planning for the future is the best way to get what you want out of life.
I unfortunately have not yet been able to achieve my Ideal, so I am probably a lot closer to spending my time like this:
I am pretty close to where I want to be when it comes to the past. The past is set in stone and I can’t change it. I’m ok with that and I don’t dwell on much. I do however let the words or actions of others bother me more than I’d like to admit, so continuing to work on letting go of the past and forgiving people for their mistakes is something I focus on.
When it comes to the present, I don’t spend nearly as much time in this place as I’d like to. I have recently taken up the habit of meditating on a daily basis and I have already realized some great benefits of this practice. Living in the moment helps me identify thoughts as they arise. By recognizing them, I am able to proactively choose a response instead of reacting in a defensive or aggressive way. This is not an easy thing to do, but with mindful practice it is something that anyone can improve on.
And finally the future… I spend the vast majority of my time thinking about things that have not yet come to pass. Whether it be worrying about something that needs to be done at work or in my personal life, being excited about an upcoming visit from a friend or family member, or contemplating the future of my family and the entire human race, I am completely drawn in by the literally limitless possibilities the future holds.
I just finished reading an article today titled: “The AI Revolution: Our Immortality or Extinction”. It is a very well written synopsis on what Artificial Intelligence is, what it can be and what the possible implications of achieving high level AI may be. If you take the time to read the article (which I highly recommend), you’ll realize that the future truly does hold limitless possibilities (I’m talking humans being able to live forever as soon as within this generation). Things like this are what truly spark my interest in the future and draw so much of my waking consciousness towards it. The fact that we really have NO IDEA what the future will bring and that we are the ones who get to write the endings of our own story books is utterly fascinating!
People all throughout history have been born into less than desirable situations and have worked their way to the tops of their fields. Had they dwelled on their past or settled for the life they lived in the present, we would be without many of the modern marvels and comforts we enjoy today.
These stories of success and dreams of the future are what motivate me to break outside my comfort zone, to boldly go where no man has gone before!
The moral of this story, since I haven’t made it clear until now is to challenge you to actively evaluate how you think:
- Do not dwell on the past – use it to your advantage and learn from it.
- Learn to live in the moment – it is the only one we every truly experience and it is where true happiness can only be found
- Dedicate time to think of the future – Not to worry, but to dream and believe that there is a better tomorrow and that all of us have access to it if we have the courage to do something difficult and the imagination to see what isn’t yet there.