4 Ways to Be Present that Anyone Can Practice

People tend to choose ruminating on the past or worrying about the future over being present.

Being present is being engaged in the moment.

But how much should you think about the past and the future?

Two finger hugging each other in fear.

You're thinking about the future too much when you're filled with anxiety and fear.

Powerless or powerful:

You are never at your best when you’re ruminating on the past or worrying about the future.

Nothing is created in the past or the future.

Power to make a difference is the ability to do something now.

“Remember then: there is only one time that is important—now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” Leo Tolstoy

How leaders think about the past:

Over-thinking failure leads to fear and regret.

Regret blocks learning.

Lack of regret for harmful mistakes is callused. Learning from harmful mistakes is responsibility.

Learn from past mistakes but ruminate on success as well.

  1. What worked?
  2. How did relationships impact success or failure?
  3. What do you want to repeat? Not repeat?
  4. Why did you succeed? Fail?
  5. What aspects of success were the result of good fortune?

Learning from past mistakes is power to contribute effectively today.

How leaders think about the future:

Over-thinking the future is destructive.

You’re thinking about the future too much when you’re filled with anxiety and worry.

Stress and anxiety come from feeling powerless.

Vision for the future is a beacon whose only purpose is guidance for today’s action.

4 ways to be present:

Being present is bringing your best self to what you’re doing now.

  1. Just for a moment, forget about the next thing and focus on this thing.
  2. Stay on task. Turn off notifications during one-on-ones, for example.
  3. Set one simple goal that you must complete in the morning and one in the afternoon.
  4. Chunk time into useable blocks. A deadline increases focus.

How much should we think about the past or the future?

How might leaders be present more frequently?