I was chatting with a friend of mine recently and during one particularly deep moment we discussed how so many people, including ourselves, tend to live each day looking forward to something in the future. We talked about being more ‘accepting’ and ‘appreciating what we have’ instead of seemingly always having this gap that can only be filled by an up-coming holiday or shiny new toy or concert.
But as we discussed that, something occurred to me. Far too often in this world of self improvement, we find ourselves divulging words of wisdom. We tell people what they should do. Even when we tell them not to use should, it is like we are telling them that they shouldn’t use should. It is like there is one way to happiness and success and relaxation and confidence and we have the secret… the answer… the approach.
Take Mindfulness. A fantastic approach that can make a real difference to your life. It gets you thinking more mindfully about what is going on inside of you and outside of you. Staying in the present helps you to let go of bad feelings from the past and bad feelings from the future. That is all great. Except when you take it too far. I have overheard far too many people lecture others on not ‘living in the future’ when the person wasn’t doing that… they were just enjoying the fantasy of the future.
Having something to look forward to is wonderful… because it makes us feel happy. It motivates us, excites us and builds positive anticipation in us that helps us perform our tasks better. Letting ourselves dwell on the future is a good thing. True, when your happiness only comes from that… maybe it is time you looked at all that you already have as well. But if you can do that too then organising your life to give you more experiences to cherish and to be excited with is something worth doing. At least I think so. It is not the only way. But it works for me.