Here’s a personal development point about something that’s easy to do, and can also be surprisingly easy to fix…
I took that photo out in the Kent countryside – it’s a nice thought to just sit down and take in the view to help think about things.
I also quite like the aspect of no-one sitting on the bench, because it drives home the idea that although some peaceful contemplation sounds good, which it is, and although it’s readily available, which it is as this bench clearly demonstrates, more often than not it’s an opportunity that people let pass them by.
So, why is the bench empty? Why are people not in the present to take advantage of opportunity? Because they’re too busy worrying about thing that *aren’t* in the present, that’s why!
Too busy worrying about yesterday. Too busy worrying about tomorrow. Ignoring today.
It’s easy to do, I’m certainly not about to tell you I’ve never done it! We think about what happened yesterday, and worry about why something didn’t go to plan, why something failed, why someone didn’t like us.
Or, we worry about tomorrow – what if it doesn’t work? What if they don’t like me? What if it’s hard to do?
This reliving of the past, and the predicting of the future, they both take up time, of course, but they also take up energy. It takes mental energy to go over what happened and wonder about various outcomes, just as it takes energy to go over the possibilities in the future.
Now, the central point of this article is about how we use that energy…
Am I saying we should not think about the past or the future at all?
Not at all, that would be silly. If we did that, we’d never get anywhere! I’m talking about the difference between ‘worry’ and ‘analysis’.
If we look at what happened in the past, we can compare what happened against what we thought or planned would happen. We can look at what we did right, as well as what we might do differently.
That helps us plan for the future. We all have internal models built up in our brains, and those models are shaped by past events, but it’s the analysis that helps us shift those models into ones we prefer, into the outcomes we prefer.
Worrying is not the same. Worrying is not a positive use of energy. How many times have you worried about something, then found yourself thinking it wasn’t as bad as you’d thought?
For most people, that happens *a lot*, and it goes to show that worry about the future is usually not justified to the extent that we let it dominate.
The other point about spending time worrying about yesterday and tomorrow is that we really aren’t focusing on today. If we aren’t in the present, then we can’t give it the best of ourselves.
Then when the future comes, we’ll look back and worry that we weren’t in the present! It’s a self perpetuating cycle!
That’s why it can become a habit that’s easy to maintain, and can be very hard to break. Break it we can though, and that’s done by turning worry into assessment, by giving this assessment a blocks of time, and no more, and then giving yourself blocks of time to focus on the *present.*
If we do this, and stick at it, we find that we get more done in the present. As a by-product, our worries about the past and future will start to lessen when we change the way we approach it, and instead of letting opportunities pass us by, we find that we are able to take our seat on the bench, to enjoy the view that’s been there all along.
Try it, it can be a life changer – it can transform it!
I’d love to hear what you think, as ever – do leave a comment!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
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