Here, I offer you some of the insights I have gained over the years and continue to discover. If you find value in them, fantastic, I have served you well. If you would like to discover more, schedule a complimentary session and see what nuggets of gold lie within you.
The present has been the subject of several articles. It most likely will be at the center of this one, but with a twist. Like many activities, too much is not always better. The same is true for certain aspects of our temporal existence, namely the past, the future, and we can’t seem to escape the present. The present must always rest upon the past, just as it is dependent upon the future for sustenance. What this means is our main focus should be on the present moment, not be mistaken for the current day. The moment includes parts of the past and future, for they provide us with our bearings in life. The moment brings to mind experiences from another time and anticipation of developing affairs.
As with all things, over indulgence is a risk we face almost continuously. Focusing solely on the present is akin to walking down a street blind. While blindness to us equates perpetual darkness, to the blind it may be a different form of sight. Blinders, though remain blinders in any case. Fixing our gaze solely on the present is disastrous because it puts us in a constant state of survival. Living in survival mode is living paycheck-to-paycheck, event-to-event, or circumstance to circumstance. Those who prefer living this way may have little in the way of subsistence. For them, it is easier to avoid difficulties than reconciling them. When I lived this way, life was a rut. Change did not exist, unless moving from one crisis to the next is considered change. To get out of this trap, I had to look elsewhere. Looking backward appeared to be just as stagnant as standing still.
Moving backward is as bad as staying in the same place. Everyone else is moving forward while those clinging to the past merely experience the passage of night and day. Those not moving exist in a different time. Living in the past is like looking for someone in one room while ignoring the others. What’s the phrase people like to use? ‘Same crap, different day.’ People may move physically through the day, meeting minor challenges out of habit, but they don’t seem to progress much. Mentally they are stuck somewhere else. A loved one who has passed, a husband or wife who has exited someone’s world, or perhaps that one moment when all was right in the world, only now you may not know what to do next. These are markers people leave along the way in case they want to hang out for awhile. Unfortunately, some chose to stay long past visiting hours.
People who favor living in the past have reasonably organized lives. Structure allows them to experience their illusion to the fullest. Those who live with both feet in tomorrow may have little regard for what is happening today. They may appear disorganized and live in a fantasy of what life might be. Satisfaction is an elusive sensation. Many fail to recognize it when they are in the midst of it and are continuously searching for it. People who live like this have no foundation. They accomplish little in life because they don’t know what they want. This should not be mistaken with obsession. Those caught in an obsession are fulfilling a goal.
In each of these brief descriptions, people achieve little. They have nothing to draw upon. Those who draw from future and past experiences are able to measure their progress. The purpose of temporal opposites is to provide us with a sense of movement. Past and future are boundaries of today. We are drawn to the past through a sense of nostalgia and call to the future to dream of possibilities. No matter how strong the pull, we are rooted in the transition of time. Each point is a tool for us to use.
What lies behind are the experiences of opportunities. Judging them as mistakes, successes, or failures may undermine their value as instruments of development. The same is true for what might be. Tomorrow holds more than just opportunities. Tomorrow holds experiences waiting to burst upon our sense of being. I sometimes wonder if events control us. I like to think we are able to exert some level of control over them. I’m not implying we control the event itself, but I believe we have some level of influence in how they affect what happens around us. When we chose to do so, we act with intent. This approach moves us closer towards a goal.
Within is the ability to shape events relative to our authentic self, or to allow ourselves to be part of the landscape. You are the artist of your life. Only you can blend the colors of creation in shades pleasing to you. Those who attempt to create in place of others reshape us into versions of themselves. Their desire to shape another’s life is unfulfilling for those forced to take ownership. Life only holds meaning for the one creating it. Take ownership of your life. One way of taking ownership is through goals.
Setting goals harmonizes the past and future with today. They help you shape your experience of life in a fashion unique to you. Goals, big and small, are sign posts created by you and understood by you. They mark your progress through life. Goals are temporal tools to help people move through life in a meaningful way. For those who desire to improve their life experience, but do not know how or have trouble doing it on their own may want a BRDNSKY Guide. Changing only one aspect of your life brings changes throughout the life spectrum (Newham-Kanas, Irwin, & Morrow, 2008). Most people, when asked what they want in life don’t know (Maslow, 1970). You have a choice. Don’t be one of them.
Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2 ed.). New York: Harper and Rowe Publishing.
Newham-Kanas, C., Irwin, J. D., & Morrow, D. (2008). Co-active life coaching as a treatment for adults with obesity. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 6(2). doi:Business Source Complete
What is it like being an adult? Not the kind of question I would expect from a thirteen-year child whose main concerns were bullies and homework. He also happened to be my client. The question evoked all sorts of responses and images. Taking me to a time when I was a teenager daydreaming about it would be like being an adult. Walking home from junior-high school, I would say to myself, “I can’t wait until I’m an adult. Then I can do anything I want. No more school.” What a joke that turned out to be. I ended up going back to school several times. If someone wants to stay on top of their game, they needed to continue improving their skills. People become habitually unemployed. In the first ten years as an employable member of society, I would have to take off my shoes to count how many times I was without work. Often, people find themselves in this predicament is because they have adopted the attitude that school is out forever. This only works for Alice Cooper. When a person chooses to be this shortsighted, they are placing severe limitations on their potential. I had better take this young man’s question seriously, because I want him to reach his potential.
I could tell him as an adult, you can do what you want, only that is a myth. For someone to do what they want to do, they often have to do things they do not want to do. Paying bills and taxes are things no one wants to do. People don’t always realize that paying bills is a good thing; it means you are earning money. We pay bills because we want to do the things we enjoy. We pay taxes because we want protection. We pay taxes because we want to help those in need. At the same time, we don’t want to pay taxes because those in charge squander our hard-earned money. Is this what it means to be an adult? Is this what I wanted to impart to this child?
Then I began hearing some of the smart assed comments adults like throw out, thinking they are cute. ‘You pay taxes, and then you die.’ ‘Life’s a bitch. As some of these comments voiced themselves, I remember the one thing I tried to teach my children, to think. When one did something he or she knew was wrong, if the child could convince me it was the right thing to do, no punishment was given. If I was not convinced…well, you know what followed. I didn’t swat their butts or send them to bed without supper. I explained why I their explanation was unacceptable. No, the lecture was not the punishment. I asked them open-ended questions. This allowed them to arrive at a better solution on their own. This must have worked, because my son, who was eight or nine at the time, came up with a good reason for being late.
At the time, I lived in a mobile home community. Like any other kid, my three liked to roam the park and mingle. During the summer, night rolls in around 9:30 and they needed to be in by 8:30. My son, who is also the oldest, came home one evening around ten o’clock. As soon as he closed the door, he began his explanation.
“Sorry, I’m late, dad,” he began as he caught his breath, “but I couldn’t leave.”
He must have run home. “Why?” I asked.
“Mrs. Carlson asked me if I would watch her kids while she went to the store. She was late getting back.”
He was confident in his response. “Why didn’t come and tell me before she left?” I challenged.
“She said she would only be gone an hour.” He offered. Then added, “She left around seven. I thought she would be back in time.”
“Couldn’t you have walked over here with them?” I continued. The park was only three blocks and isolated. I lived in the middle, which meant that traffic was not a problem.
“She had already put them to bed.” He said defensively. “They’re only three and four.”
I thought about it for a moment. “Good enough.” I decided. “You did the right thing. Next time someone asks you to watch their kids,” I added, “check with me first.” No punishment. I hadn’t forgotten what my kids were like when they were small. Even a short walk around the house can give them enough time to get into some mischief. I was impressed. Of the three, he was the only one who thought before acting. It didn’t stop him from making mistakes, but at least they were not as bad as they could have been.
My answer to my client was, “Being an adult is being accountable for your actions. Being an adult is being responsible for what you do. Unfortunately, many adults blame others for their situations when most of the time it was a lack of action on their part. At least," I added, “that has been my observation.”
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Producing value is tied to honesty and integrity. Thus, producing value is easier than creating value.
Hamilton, Mark; Alexander, Tracy; Savage, Eric & Wallace, Frank R. (2007). The Nouveau Tech Package of Inside Secrets. Neo-Tech Books
Some of the issues people experience may be due to unfinished business, meaning they can be traced to past relational conflicts. Other problems may be a person's inability to reconcile events with expectations. Exploring this possibility is important, because they can be resolved today.
From Barbara Okun & Ricki Kantrowitz - Effective Helping: Interviewing and Counseling Techniques