"Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive
down a country road at night with no lights while
looking out the back window."
I don’t know about you, but I realized a while back, in spite of EVERY effort, bribe, promise or prayer, I have an incomprehensibly small amount of control over anything that may be about to happen in life, my own actions and reactions often included. Even knowing I have less than a modicum of control, I frequently let my fear of what might happen (“What if this?”) drive my mental bus to distraction, instead of being with the present (“What is right now?”). I wile away hours upon hours planning how to make things happen the way I would like for them to. As this occurs, I am actually moving through my day on a sort of cruise control, playing out scenarios that aren’t actually happening.
I wind down this road until an interruption snags my attention: someone speaks my name, a good show comes on, or a device dings and I am suddenly present. The swerve into now lasts for as long as the action is happening. The interruption inevitably stops, and in the next instant — if my future-focused “What if this?” brain fails to take the wheel again — my past-worry “What was that?” brain buckles in and gears up. This part adjusts the mirrors to suit it’s purpose and starts yammering on about recent endeavors, picking apart my words and deciding summarily what should have been said instead… as if there is anything to be done about that.
So here my little bus goes bouncing down the cartoon road, with a miniature Mr. Magoo hood ornament, bobbing from side to side, one side leaning towards review and regret, and the other strategizing and planning the impossible. This wasted time just flies out of the side windows and bounces like skipping stones across my precious days.
What to do to stop this gas-guzzler of unnecessary suffering? Whenever I can catch one of these buggers at the wheel, I find a way to get more present. I stop and notice what is happening around me and find what interests me in the space of now. Maybe I turn on music and sing along, doodle a piece of art, play a podcast while I clean, do a set up of jumping jacks, write someone a random thank you letter for being born. Certainly I seek a path more rewarding than fret and regret, and hopefully it doesn’t involve cruising over to a social media site! (More on that later…)
While I work on redirecting my focus to now, I’ve decided to give myself a break from any judgment: I have stopped saying that I am "easily distracted" and started saying that I am "intermittently focused” and getting better at keeping both hands on the wheel and an eye on the road. #mylifesomystory
Drive into Now:
Give it a spin: See if you can catch yourself lost in past or future pointless thoughts. When you do, take the wheel back and turn
towards what will make you happy right now.
Speeding into Presence,
The Coaching Process: Step 2
If you are clear on your goals, but don't seem to make progress, it can mean you have unconscious "brakes" that are holding you back. Sometimes simply realizing what fear is underneath stagnation can make it float away.