Here’s the thing about life: The past is already a done deal, and the future has no guarantees. The only thing that’s promised (the only thing we can control) is right now. The present moment.
Although we might not have the ability to dictate what happens in a given moment, we have the ability how we receive and respond to the current moment.
When we think about achievement, we must always center it from the perspective of living in the present moment. Achievements generally live in the past or the future. Most present moments involve striving toward something, or building on something that came in the past.
Keeping Your Focus on the Present Moment
Whether you’re trying to climb a rock wall or Mt. Kilimanjaro, the only way to successfully reach new heights is by focusing on the present moment and what’s directly ahead and immediately above. Looking down just reminds us how distant our comfort zones have become. Looking too high evokes the unknown and uncertainty.
When we keep our focus on the present moment, we greatly reduce the stress and anxiety we may feel about reaching our goals.
How Thoughts Interrupt our Mindfulness Potential
The past and the future are constantly trying to intrude on the present moment. Think about it. When was the last time any of the following happened to you?
● You finally got some time away from work to take a long walk in nature and you ended up being plagued by thoughts of a weeks-old argument with a loved one.
● You landed a big deal at work and that night when you went to sleep, all you could think about were the deals you failed to close this month.
● While playing in the yard with your kids, you became preoccupied by a big work deadline that you’re not sure you’ll be able to reach.
These kinds of thoughts steal the joy of the moment. Nothing should get in the way of enjoying nature, playing with kids, or enjoying a great night’s sleep. The present is a gift we can never get back.
What is Mindfulness?
When I’m asked to define mindfulness, I’m reminded of a story my friend told me about her daughter. One day they passed a group of people practicing Tai Chi in Roosevelt Park. Her daughter had never seen this before and wanted to know what they were doing. Her mother explained it was a form of martial art. Her daughter asked, “So they are learning how to beat people up in slow motion?”
Her mother laughed and explained Tai Chi is a mindfulness practice that makes the body, soul, and mind healthy. This always struck me as a great explanation. The principle of Tai Chi is to clear the mind of everything that clouds it while focusing on th represent through movement and breathing techniques. It is an exercise in mindfulness in its purest form. All that matters is the action of now; immersing all senses into the offerings of the present.
Simple Habits to Increase Mindfulness and Enjoy the Present
While you may not have access to Tai Chi classes, you can still practice daily habits that will increase your mindfulness. These are simple activities but you must practice them in the correct way to get the mindfulness benefit.
Walking Instead of walking with your head full of random thoughts, focus on the action of walking. Pay attention to the concrete on the ground, the way your shoes feel on your feet, and the pace of heartbeat.
Put down your electronic devices and enjoy the food you eat! A lot of us have gotten into the habit of using mobile devices during our meals. A mindful approach is to eat slowly, being aware of every flavor as it hits your palate. Take time to chew thoroughly. Feel the esophagus constrict as you swallow each bite.
Speaking and Listening
The art of communication has gotten lost in this era of expressing our thoughts in social-media sized bites. Many people have a bad habit of waiting for their turn to speak instead of actually listening. When you listen mindfully, you hear every word and pay attention to your own inner dialogue. When you speak mindfully, you’re thoughtful about the words you choose and you take your time to express them.
Research about the brain shows we spend 40% of our time worrying about things that will never happen. When the mind is flooded with inconsequential thoughts and unmerited worries, our mental energy becomes directed away from the present moment. Adopt mindfulness habits today so you can improve your quality of life, increase your self-awareness and enjoy your journey to the top.
Want to learn more about improving your mindset for greater success in sales and life? Get your copy of my book, Journey to the Top: How to Reach Your Peak Performance Life.