Being happy now

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon

All of us carry baggage from the past and are preoccupied with the future, which distracts us from the present moment. Many of our problems stem from this preoccupation, which causes low productivity, more stress, and less energy. It also substantially diminishes our capacity to understand, decide, recall and memorize, and also inhibits our ideas and creativity.

Reflect on the following questions to evaluate your present moment awareness:

  • Are you enjoying the ride to wherever you are going?
  • Do you usually focus whole-heartedly on important things or get distracted?
  • Do you allow interruptions in the day? If so, how can you prevent them?
  • Are you often in a fire-fighting mode?
  • Do you worry about petty things?
  • Do you regularly count your blessings?
  • Do you worry about what others think of you instead of focusing on doing your best?

Attention requires mental and physical energy that your body can create only in limited amounts. Focusing on anything consumes a considerable amount of glucose from your body and brain. This means that distractions take both mental and physical toll on us.

Studies show that people who multi-task or have high-profile, risk-taking jobs that involve crucial decision-making are less effective at their work, as compared to those who focus on one task at a time.
Research also indicates that distractions take up almost two hours a day for most employees, most of whom only spend 11 minutes working on a project before they become distracted by something else, after which it takes them 25 minutes to again focus on their original project. So, in addition to affecting you at a personal level, distractions also have an adverse impact on your daily business targets.

You have a limited amount of energy, especially for tasks that are not uplifting or relevant. Therefore, whenever you engage in less important tasks, you deplete your energy.

Why do we get so distracted? Well, aside from the distractions created by others, most of us become distracted by thinking about the past, the future… any time but the present.

When you are in the present moment, you’re able to powerfully engage with those around you. For instance, when Azim visits his 86-year-old father at his care home, he experiences two kinds of visits: In one, he is totally in the present moment with his father and there are no distractions. During these visits, they sit near a window overlooking a school and watch children play; this leads to deeper connections between the two. In the other kind of visit, Azim is distracted by phone calls and emails, or his father is called upon by care givers. At such times, there is little bonding. In fact, a shorter distraction-free visit is far more powerful than a longer visit fraught with interruptions.

This kind of power, which comes from focused interaction, can be applied to both your personal and professional life.

Read more about how to energize your present moment in our forthcoming book, ‘What You seek is Seeking You’ co-authored by Azim Jamal & Brian Tracy.


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