WHEN YOU'RE HERE, BE HERE
"If you're always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you're in?" -- Unknown
Many of us have probably had this experience: You're talking to someone during a reception, at a party, or after a meeting. As you watch their eyes and body language, it becomes obvious they're looking past you and scanning the crowd for someone else they'd rather be talking to.
From that moment forward, what worth does your conversation with them have for you? Most likely very little. You know their priorities aren't with you. You feel devalued, minimized, maybe even a bit insulted.
Here's another situation for you to picture: You're playing with your child or grandchild, or listening to your spouse, or chatting with a co-worker, but you're mostly thinking about how soon the big game will start, or how much you still have on your to-do list that day, or who that text is from that just pinged into your cell phone.
As they watch your eyes and body language, it becomes obvious to them that you'd rather be somewhere else or be doing something else. From that moment forward, what value does your time with your child, your grandchild, your spouse, or your co-worker actually have for them? Is it possible they might feel devalued, minimized, even a bit insulted? When we're with another person and we are not present with them in that moment, it can cost us dearly in the quality of our relationships.
The heavy toll of trying to be in too many places at once isn't limited to interpersonal interactions. Even when we're not with another person, the cost of not being in the moment may be substantial. That's because not being present robs us twice.
1. Not being here when we're here means there's no way we can find joy or satisfaction or fulfillment in the present because we're not even there. We're somewhere in the past or the future, either reliving bygone moments or imagining future days. The present, with all its possibilities, is lost to us.
2. In addition, we can't do justice to the past or the future or the present when we try to straddle now and then. We're like the English soldier who "jumped on his horse and rode off in all directions." The result of our multitasking is that everything gets short shrift. When we try to do too many things at once we are ineffective and inefficient in all we do.
Every part of our lives has an important role to play. As Thomas S. Monson said, "The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it." But the key is to focus on one piece at a time.
Reflecting on our past is valuable, especially as we glean important lessons from our triumphs and tragedies. Planning for the future is critical to our ongoing success. Set aside time for both; just don't do either when the here and now needs your attention.
We do ourselves and those around us a huge disservice when we rush off to somewhere else when we should be here. We fool ourselves when we think we can keep too many plates spinning at the same time. We sacrifice a brilliant future and sully a golden past when we fail to live in the present. When you're here, be here!