Last week I was conducting a training session on the east coast for some people hand picked by the CEO to take part in a leadership development program. They worked in the military land/sea/aircraft and intelligence industry and most of them had PhDs. The room was full of incredibly intelligent people who spend 10-12 hour days working in a high stress environment.
We were talking about the importance of being fully engaged – another term for living in the present moment, being mindful, or giving someone/something your full and best energy – and what percentage of their day they think they actually spend in that state of mind. Based on the informal polls I take of the groups I speak to, most people estimate they spend 10-20% of their day in the present moment. I think this is optimistically high. We’re always thinking about what we have to get done next, constantly multi-tasking to try to accomplish as much as possible, rehashing what we should have done yesterday, worrying about possible future events, and more. It’s hard to stay in the present moment.
One of the gentlemen in the room was sharing what he was going to do differently as a result of the training. One of the issues he was focusing on was a “general fogginess” as he put it – a lack of focus, no real connections, and just sliding through life. He went through his list of new commitments and then finished by saying “Instead of living in a dream, I’m going to live the dream.”
There was complete silence as we all sat there and let that statement sink in…”Instead of living in a dream, I’m going to live the dream.”
I’ve been giving his statement a lot of thought – how important it is to stay focused on the present moment and what really matters. It’s so easy to get caught up in our brains, project into the future, live in the past, lose sight….and that’s where most of our stress and unhappiness comes from. There is typically very little stress in the present moment.
Right now, at this exact moment in time, how much stress are you experiencing? I want you to set a reminder of some sort for one hour from now. At that precise, exact instant in time, I want you to assess how much stress you are experiencing within that present moment. You may be shocked to realize how little stress truly exists in the present moment. The majority of it comes from projecting into the future or the past.
This week I’m challenging you to give more attention to living in the present moment. Focusing on who or what is right in front of you. What is real versus a projection. Because that’s where life happens.
Where you live it.