For many of us life is pretty much focused on achievement. Whether instilled in us early in life by our parents or through our educational experiences, it seems that there are benchmarks that we constantly set for ourselves that serve to inform the focus of our daily activities.
As it turns out, if we indeed really want to be productive and achieve our goals, it might well be that our ability to make this happen can be facilitated by actually disengaging from the pursuit. Our lives seem to be constantly focused in considering the future and how our current activities will ultimately play out, and there is clearly a profound upside to this uniquely human attribute. Contemplating how our activities today will impact what happens tomorrow allowed our ancestors, for example, to prepare for times of food scarcity, while today we can embrace how our activities might impact things like climate change in the years to come.
But there is a great benefit to disengaging from future-oriented thinking and engaging with the present. And to be sure, this isn’t necessarily going to be a simple task for many people. Nonetheless, it’s important.
Reconnecting with the present means experiencing what’s around you in the here and now. It means really connecting with friends and loved ones and being truly present. Being truly present actually implies, dare I say, not having your smartphone in hand. In fact, relinquishing your connection to technology, even for a few hours, absolutely opens the door to a better relationship with nature, friends, and even yourself.
Being connected to the present embraces things like enjoying a meal without texting or reading. In fact, any pleasurable experience will be enhanced when we are fully immersed in the experience.
And ultimately, getting back to our need for achievement, productivity might well be enhanced when we’ve trained ourselves to be better participants in the moment.