Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The here and now

My employer was featured on the local news this week and something my boss said on that segment got me thinking. He was talking about all the career opportunities we have in our company and how that sometimes makes it hard to focus on where you are right now. I know this to be true from my own personal experience with the company.

I've been with the company for a little over two years and during that time I have had multiple job titles and numerous different areas of responsibility. Each new role acted as a stepping stone to the next. While it's really exciting looking forward to the next step, it is very easy to lose focus on where I am today. The same can be said for much of life in general.

The Past
You can't really talk about the present and future without at least mentioning the past. History is a wonderful thing. Besides the fact that it's a treasure trove of memories, it's also a guide to where you're going. As the lovable tow truck Mater from the movie Cars said, "I don't have to know where I'm going. I just need to know where I've been."

We should appreciate and learn from the past. I always like to say I learn things best by doing it the hard way. In other words, I tend to remember things better when I make mistakes first. The important part is trying to learn from mistakes so you don't repeat them. (I'm not always as good at that last part.)

The Future
Learning from the past is great, but the natural progression is to then jump right into planning for the future. Don't get me wrong...it's great to dream and plan for the future. You can mess up your life pretty quickly by wandering aimlessly through life without a plan or goals. Focusing too much on the future though can also ruin the present.

If you're always dreaming about what could or will be, you will lose appreciation for what is now. Life will pass you by while you continue to look further into the future. The best example I have experienced with this is watching my kids grow up. From the moment they're born, it's easy to get overly focused on the future. You anxiously await their first steps and first words and in the blink of an eye, you start to miss the days of them sleeping in your arms. (Not to mention they are constantly on the move after that and never stop talking.)

The Present
The here and now doesn't seem to get the respect it deserves. You can make your life downright miserable by only focusing on what was or could have been in the past and what might be in the future. Maintain focus on the present and enjoy what you have now. Before you know it, the present will be the past. It's already yesterday's future. Until next time....