Photo by John Mark Arnold on Unsplash

THE POWER OF BEING PRESENT

Life passes us by if all we do is focus on the future. Being present, for the present, is really what is important. — Brandon Jenner

I heard a great quote by Lao Tzu the other day that said, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

I raise my hand first to being anxious and living in the future. Sometimes I get it right, feel at peace and life is good. But, more often than I’d like to admit, I’m anxious, curious and a bit frightened of what the future may hold. I can’t predict the future, but I sure do want to. Ha!

Living in the present takes skill. It takes effort. It’s not a natural way of thinking for me. But you know what, I love being at peace. I love the feeling of being present with my bride, kids and friends. I love the power I feel when I put my phone down, gaze around my surroundings and take a deep breath. Life seems to slow down. You know what I mean?

Last night at dinner I introduced an exercise I’ve learned from Jay Shetty. It’s all about being more present and it’s fantastic. It goes like this and activates all of your senses. Simple but very profound.

Find 5 things you can see around you.

Find 4 things you can touch.

Find 3 things you can hear.

Find 2 things you can smell.

What is 1 thing you taste?

We went around the dinner table and each of us had a turn. The kids love it. They all try and find different things around the house. They all see, hear, touch, smell and taste different things. In the end, it brings us all closer together. It activates peace in our home because we are present. It’s extremely powerful and I absolutely love it.

Another thing I am really working on is harnessing the power of social media. I recently watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I should have watched it sooner, especially since the majority of my life and work is on social media. It’s fascinating to understand what social media commerce is all about. I mean, I knew some of the dark bits of social media, but this really laid it out.

I mention this because, social media’s #1 goal is your attention.

Your iPhone screen is doing everything it can to get you to look at it more. Why you ask? Yes, it may appear free, however, advertising is paying millions of dollars for your attention. The longer you stay on an app or website, the more money they make. Basically, your data, usage and habits are being sold to the highest bidder.

When you wake up.

When you login to Instagram or Faceobook.

When you click a button.

When you like a post.

When you dislike a post.

When you keep scrolling.

What time of day you’re scrolling.

It’s all being tracked. You and I are the commodity being sold. All of that data is extracted and manipulated to get you back on your phone. It’s more mental warfare than anything. And you know what, it usually brings depression or anxiety. They want you to trade your ‘present’ for either the past or the future. Your peace is in the middle and being hijacked.

It’s crazy.

Which is why being present now more than ever is so powerful. The images and videos we watch on social media are all skewed to affect your behavior in some way. Just like Vegas want you coming back, social media is the same way. You may think you are getting away with a win but in the end, the house always wins.

So, what are we supposed to do?

Knowledge is power, and it can help you overcome any fear of the unexpected. When you learn, you gain more awareness through the process, and you know what pitfalls to look for as you get ready to transition to the next level. — Jay Shetty

I’ve begun to educate myself on these topics. It’s not enough anymore to walk through life and be unaware. Your life is so valuable with so much potential, why would you want something to detract from it?

When I say educate myself, basically, it means I’m watching films and reading about how valuable my presence is. By doing this, I can with courage, put my phone down and be more present. I can resist the urge to move from boredom with my phone and instead, look around, be grateful and invite joy into my day.

Your presence is powerful. I’ll be the first to admit, when you embrace the moment, the present, your life will change. It’s like having blurry vision and getting glasses for the first time — everything is clearer.

I don’t have all the answers on this but I’m working on figuring out a few for me and sharing some of those with you. I don’t know if I’ll ever master it, but if I can get 1% better each day, I reckon it will bring more peace in my life. If I can have more peace, I can share more peace. And that for me, brings me joy. It fulfills me. It says, “Anthony, you are created to help people.”

That’s all I got today. That’s what I’m learning. I hope you keep on learning too. a.

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