I have just watched my daughters drive off up the road to school – Alice, the eldest, passed her test in early December and Maisy has already assumed the role of ‘Lady Muck,’ with the god given right to be chauffeured everywhere! I was just sat in my office and looking out the window as they set off, the overriding emotion was of pride, but there was also a sense of incredulity – how did that happen?
I know readers of this blog cover a full range of ages so I am sure that you have experienced similar things; whether it be buying your first house, watching your baby walk for the first time, the trials of kids going through O Levels, burying a parent or having your grandchild to stay for the first time. All significant events in their own right, but also significant because they mark the inexorable passage of time. Tempus fugit…..
The Daily Stoic often writes on this topic with a sharp and focussed perspective, acting as a great reminder that life is always coming to an end so get on with it.
So what can you do to ensure that you strike the right balance between suitable planning for the future and living in the moment focussed on eking the most out of each day?
Tap into your subconscious mind – the brain is a wonderfully clever organ and a powerful positive processor, give it a problem and it will work tirelessly to solve it, give it an opportunity and it will find ways of realising that opportunity. What it is conscious of it seeks out – a fine example and reflecting back to Alice driving her little Fiat 500 – now before we bought it they were rarely seen, now I swear every other car is a Fiat 500! Give yourself the permission to articulate the future you want, verbally, emotionally and physically by writing it down. Now you have created it once, the brain will work hard to help you create it again – this time for real.
Plan but take the first step – plans are all well and good but sometimes we can get so caught up in the planning that we forget to actually take action. Ensuring the plan is robust and fully thought through is important, but so is getting on with it. Always have an immediate first step in any plan – one that gets you off the start line and heading in the right direction, no matter how small.
Don’t waste time being angry – anger is a powerful emotion and can generate so much effort and energy to take action (it is a flight or fight response after all). But it is also destructive and time wasting – the person, situation or thing you are directing your anger at may well be oblivious or quite likely will be impervious to your anger, so the only person suffering is you. You suffer from wasted time, wasted emotional energy and potentially harmful decision making, none of which are conducive to being productive in life.
Practice being grateful – it is easy to get focussed on what went wrong, what you don’t have and what is missing in life. This has the effect of again dissipating energy and effort but it also clouds your view of what is possible and narrows your horizons. There is always someone worse off than you – simplistic and easy to say but true and a powerful reminder to get focussed positively. I have adopted the practice of writing a gratitude journal daily – capturing 3 things (at least) that I am grateful for that day – it helps to ground me and creates a positive energy to take forward.
I would love to hear about your approaches, tactics and perspectives – please feel free to comment or drop me a note. Life is too short not to be the best that you want to be, we all face the same challenge of maximising shareholder value – only in this most important of industries the major shareholder is us!
As Seneca said “Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. … The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”