Maria, in Paulo Coelho’s book, Eleven Minutes, records in her diary:
I spend all day …longing for work to begin, and, when I’m working, longing to get back to the boarding house. In other words, I’m living the future not the present. (p.34, emphasis added)
Recent neuroscience research shows that we spend more than 50% of our time either in the past or in the future – we spend so little time in the present.
The downside of spending so much time “living the future” is that we can develop anxiety because we are constantly concerned about future events that may never happen. We are also missing the opportunity to fully experience the present – to enjoy the beauty, relationships and positive experiences that surround us.
We also miss the opportunity to appreciate what we do have and be grateful for the many things that make our life enjoyable.
Living in the future can be precipitated by envy – we “want to have what they have got” and so we look to the future in the hope that we too will be like them.
One way to check whether you are living the future is to monitor your words:
- I wish it was Friday
- I can’t wait for the weekend
- Summer holidays can’t come soon enough
If we find ourselves constantly expressing desire for the future rather than experiencing and enjoying the present, then we can stop talking this way – we have the power to shape our reality by choosing our words consciously.
The present moment is the only true reality. If we miss it, we miss so much that life has to offer and potentially harm ourselves and our wellbeing.
Image Source: Copyright R. Passfield