Do you often find yourself dwelling in the past or worrying about the future? Where do you spend the biggest part of your thinking time? Do you spend any time regretting certain decisions that you've made or periods in you life? Or maybe you spend much of your time thinking about the future? Worrying about how your life may change, worrying about the future of your family or loved ones? I think many of us do too much of this. We spend too much time thinking negatively about things we cannot change. As a result we neglect the one time zone that we can change, the one time zone where all the magic happens. We don't spend enough time living in the now.
Living in the past
You cannot change anything that has already happened. Sure it's nice to reminisce and there's nothing wrong with popping on some rose coloured glasses and looking back fondly at happy times. But do you sometimes look at your past with regret or in any other negative way? Maybe you wish you could have taken a different path or made different decisions? Remember that there is nothing you can do about anything that has already happened. You can't change the past so regretting what you may have done will not have a positive effect on your present or your future. Acknowledge your past mistakes and then move on. They are unimportant.
Living in the future
Perhaps you're one of those people who thinks in the future? While we have the power to change what's to come in our lives we can't do that by thinking in the future (more on that later). When we think about the future we make assumptions about what might happen. This is a skill we developed millions of years ago. Back when we used to hunt for food we learned how to predict the behaviors of our prey. We learned to track animals by making assumptions on how they move and which path they took. Now we use the same skill to try and predict our own path.
We have no way of knowing what will happen next week, tomorrow or even an hour from now. So we make assumptions based on what we already know. Depending if we are a positive thinker or a negative thinker (glass half empty, glass half full) our assumptions will either be good ones or bad ones. What's that famous saying? The only two certainties in life are death and taxes?
I'm reminded of a message I saw on Facebook. It was only a week after the tragic terrorist attack following the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester (2017). The person posting was trying to sell tickets to a Take That concert because she was worried about going. She was making negative assumptions based on current information. Because of the terrorist attack in Manchester she was assuming that something similar was going to happen to her. In truth the odds of her coming to harm were incredibly slim. In fact she stood a higher chance of being involved in a car accident on the way there. But all her attention was focused on that one assumption. The assumption that had come from her own mind. She was in fact denying herself a great time because of her own thoughts.
How to change?
One of my favourite films is called Sliding Doors (you should check it out). In the film Gwyneth Paltrow's character rushes to get on a train after dropping an earring. The plot then splits into two story lines based on whether she catches the train or misses it. In the film you follow both stories side by side so you can see how one simple change in events radically alters her future.
The decisions you make right now can change which path you take. The only timezone you have any control over is the present. Yet how often do you actually live there? You're living there right now because you're taking in all this information and, it's my hope that this makes you think differently and therefore changes your future.
When was the last time you stopped to truly appreciate everything that's in your life right now? Just to focus on the good stuff for a minute and be grateful for it. The way you regard and appreciate your present has a big impact on your future. If you think everything in your present is good then your future will always be good because all your thought processes will be governed by that positive state of mind. The opposite applies if you only focus on all the negative aspects of your current situation.
The path to a brighter future starts with a bright present. Learn to appreciate what you are experiencing right now and your next move will also be a positive one. To find out how to help shape a more positive present take a look at this article.