Walking through the door and hearing “daddy’s home!” is a tremendous experience. Whatever the circumstances of my day, or entry, they are immediately required to disappear. What matters in that moment is being present to my family, and being fully present is a task I hope to take into every area of my life.
I have often heard stories about folks meeting Mother Teresa and John Paul II. Those who had the opportunity to speak to these new Saints recount how it seemed as if they were the only person in the room. They had a magnificent ability to be present to each person that stood before them. Three seconds felt like three minutes. The holiness of these two saints accentuates the lesson to success – being fully present.
Noise is everywhere and in many forms. It quickly becomes distraction – social media, smart phones, iPads, TVs, thoughts about dinner, daydreams. If we want to succeed in life and business or in our walk with the Lord, being present in every moment of our life and every encounter we experience is a must. We can’t love in the past (although hopefully we did). We can’t love in the future (although hopefully we will). All we have is the present moment. Love calls us to the here and now, and love demands complete and utter attention.
In working with college athletes, being in the present moment is a big deal. It takes mental energy to be thinking about other things the moment you take that shot or step to the plate. That mental energy is a distraction from the task at hand. It applies to our work and relationships as well. When we have something in front of us that needs to be done, or are sitting in a meeting, if we want to be excellent at the thing before us (I am assuming we all want that), we have to fully engage. That means we have to live in the present moment and avoid all distractions.
How do we do this?
- We make the decision and shape our mindset. For example, if someone steps in my office, this is my goal: I will either give them 100% of my attention immediately or let them know I will finish quickly and address their need.
- We become aware of the things that distract us. If it is our phone, make a habit of not pulling it out of our pocket during conversations. Just fight the urge and the urge will shrink eventually. If the distraction is always looking for the next girl in the room to ask out, commit to loving the person in front of you (at least for a minute or two) completely, and trust that habit is going to help you love the woman of your dreams in the future.
- Understand that success takes effort. In this age of instant, we can forget what good old hard work is. Succeeding in life, love, friendships, work, etc. takes our effort to engage and be present. Be willing to make the effort.
We appreciate when someone gives us their complete attention. We are impressed at individuals that are able to be in the present moment (like Mother Teresa and John Paul II). The challenge now falls on us. I hope each of us can live completely in the present moment – it is, after all, the only time we “have”.