We live in a “What’s Next” Society.
By that, I mean most of us are so focused on what’s coming next in life, that we fail to live in the moment and appreciate what we are currently blessed with. Funny enough, the things we pray and hope for end up happening, but we’re too busy focusing on what’s next, that we fail to see our prayers and hopes have come true.
At the time of writing this, I just finished up a housewarming party for my new place. I’ve been in this new house for almost a month and a half now, but it took this long for me to finally have a weekend to host a party.
Before moving out I was still living with my mom, building my business in a shed in her backyard. But an opportunity came where a house was going to be available for rent from a family friend. The house was almost perfect; great location, the right size for just myself, etc. The only catch; it needed some major remodeling. So I agreed to wait a few months while the house was remodeled until I moved in.
But like everything else in 2020, things took an unexpected turn. What was supposed to be a quick two month remodel, ended up taking almost ten months due to COVID. And being as impatient as I am, this was a death sentence.
So, I continued working out of the shed, waiting every day for the phone call that the house was ready. I’d drive by at least once or twice a week, peaking in the windows to see what progress had been made. Time seemed to move by much slower than normal (anyone that has had to wait on something important can attest to this).
Finally, I got the phone call mid-April of this year. The house was ready for me to move in. So I packed my office, bedroom, and all my other stuff into my truck, and set up shop in the new place. But there was no time to sit around and enjoy the new house. Monday morning, it was straight back to work; building websites and knocking out all the other tasks that needed to be done.
Fast forward a month and a half, and I think today it finally hit me that I had actually moved out. The thing I had been waiting for, for almost a year, was right in front of me. And if I hadn’t had this party celebrating moving in, I honestly might have missed this moment entirely.
Going back to the opening of this article, we do live in a forward focused society. Rarely do we focus on what’s in front of us, but instead our focus shifts to those things just beyond our reach. A new promotion at work, a new car to save up for, a new client to sign on, the list is endless. There is always SOMETHING we’re waiting for.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s what keeps us wanting more. I can remember when I was younger, the biggest thing to look forward to was the latest Avengers movie. Every summer, it was a new installment in the Marvel Universe. Between Captain America, Iron Man, or Hulk, there was always a Marvel movie me and my friends looked forward to.
If you watch Marvel movies, you know that at the end of every Marvel film, there’s a scene that teases the next film. A brief, three to four minute scene that set the stage for what was to come. And every time we left the theater, the end credits scene was the main point of what we discussed. Not the two hour long movie we just watched, but the teaser for what was coming next. Then it was just a four to five month wait for the next film. And the cycle repeated.
What I’m getting at, with both the house and Marvel example, is that often times we fail to take even just a moment, and take a look around at where we’re at, and how much we have accomplished so far.. That thing you’ve been praying for? Odds are you have it, but are praying for something completely different now. You had a goal, you accomplished it, but instead of taking the necessary time to enjoy your accomplishment, you’re already focused on the next goal.
The quote that keeps coming back to me is from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Rarely do we do this anymore.
I can remember when I first started my business, I dreamed of the day I could work for myself full time, and have my own space to grow and learn. Five years later, I accomplished it, but I didn’t even realize it at the time. I was so focused on what I had to do for my clients and continuing to grow my business, that I didn’t even stop to realize I had accomplished one of my biggest goals.
Put the phone down. Turn off the computer for a minute. Stop and take a look around you. Are you enjoying your accomplishments? Or are you rushing through them, focusing on the next task? I promise you, taking even a moment to sit back, and look backwards instead of forwards is an incredibly rewarding experience.
So what if you haven’t made a million dollars in a year yet? Last year you made more money than ever before, that’s an accomplishment.
So what if you haven’t found your passion yet? Look back at all the experiences you’ve had, and all the great stories you can tell.
The point is this; Focus on the now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not ten years when you have it “all figured out”, but where you currently are right now, and everything you’ve accomplished so far.
I’ll close with another movie quote, which is probably one of my all time favorite quotes:
“There is a saying, ‘Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift! That is why it is called the present.”
– Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda