Are you being hindered from progressing forward, being held back by your past?
Or perhaps, you feel overwhelmed by your fear of the future?
Do you find yourself not doing the things you know you ought to be doing, but caught up in anxious thoughts and worries instead?
Do you find yourself stuck in the state of ‘inaction’, unable to be more productive as a result?
Do you have a problem with procrastination?
I’ve a confession – I do.
And I have found ways to ‘mindshift’ forward.
In my recent workshops on overcoming procrastination, I taught one simple yet profound key that has personally helped me shift from inaction mode (procrastination) back to action: live in the present.
Our minds live in three time frames: the past, the present and the future.
Release The Past
We know that ‘The Past’ is the time frame that has passed us by. It cannot be repeated, changed or replaced. It is over. It is gone.
We may have memorable moments of triumphs and successes. We may also have moments of failures, mistakes and regrets.
Some people (their mind) still live in the past. The relive the unhappy moments regretting their blunders, wishing they could turn back the clock to correct them, to make amends.
Some are still stuck in the blame game. They are still blaming those who have wronged them in the past. They are still living their stories of how things could have been better if not for unwanted circumstances and people who got in the way.
It’s not all about bad pasts. What about the good ones? There are some who still dwell in their past successes. Oh, if you listen to their tales, you would marvel about the glorious years and decades of their colorful history. And then you wonder, how are they doing now? Who are they now?
Whether they were good or bad pasts, dwelling in them and not being present rob us of what matters most – living and creating our lives in the here and now.
Get Out Of The Future
‘The Future’ is the time frame that has yet to happen, we have yet to live it, except in our own imagination.
“Worry is a misuse of imagination” ~ Dan Zadra
Imagination is one of our most profound gifts, a powerful and creative energy, useful for inspiring visions, solving problems and creating infinite possibilities.
Unfortunately, people often misuse (even abuse) their imagination in doing this utterly wasteful activity called ‘worrying’. I know because I had been one of them.
I wrote in an earlier post on overcoming fear, that fear is an emotion relating to the future. When we are fearful, we are responding to images that we conjure in our mind, not to reality. And the sense of fear can only exist for something that hasn’t yet happened, not something that is happening or has happened.
There are infinite possibilities of what may happen in the future, and our mind loses its clarity if we overwhelm it by all kinds of predictions and probabilities, of which most (if not all) of them would never become a reality.
Over 20 years ago, I was a competitive chess player. One of the worst advice I’ve heard (given by those who don’t play the game seriously) was this: “You’ve gotta think 3, 5, 10 moves ahead of your opponent”.
Playing in a chess tournament is usually quite draining over hours and days of matches. In my experience, the best thing I could do was to focus on my next best available move. Of course, I’d have a direction and strategy, and rely on my intuition as a guiding hand. But to anticipate all the possible moves by my opponent is a suicide strategy. That impossible task is for computers, not human minds.When we are caught up in our fears, we are actually doing more work than is necessary. Click To Tweet
What are some of the important things you’re delaying out of fear or dread?
Nike’s slogan is right: just do it, fear or no fear.
It is always easier (and quicker) to just do it, than entertaining those fearful thoughts and then taking action (because you have to do it anyway).
I’ve often discovered that the thing which I feared most usually did not happen, and the dreaded tasks were usually easier than what I had imagined. As a result, two emotions often come over me: relief and regret (for those precious time wasted in fearful thoughts).
Worry and fear for the future robs us of courage, clarity and the joy of living in the present moment.
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” ~ Mark Twain
Live In The Present, Shift To Action
Don’t be held back by the regrets, mistakes and even successes of the past which now exist only in memories and stories.
You need not be gripped by worries and fears of what hasn’t happen yet. You do not have tomorrow yet.
Today is all you ever have. Live and act in the present time frame – today. Take advantage of the present.
You may not know the full consequences of your current actions, and that’s the beauty of it all. You don’t have to be afraid in taking steps forward.
There is a big difference between playing to win and playing not to lose, living life in anticipation and living in apprehension.
You can choose to live in all 3 time frames or you can choose the path of least resistance – living in the present. If you choose the former, may I ask you something? Why do you manage what you no longer need (the past)? And how do you manage what you do not yet have (future)?
Some Other Coaching Questions to Consider
1) What is on your mind?
2) What would you do today, if you are truly unafraid of the future?
3) How can you be free from the past (mistakes/failures/successes)?
4) What has to happen for you to be free?
5) What would happen if you continue to delay ….(only you know what should be inserted here)….?
6) What is stopping you from living/working/playing full out today?
7) What can you celebrate today?