Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
I sometimes wonder why if I am retired and have limited my mandatory requirements why I so often don’t seem to have time to do some of the things I would like to do. As I look back on my days I can see that often my days are not as filed as they seem since much of my time is spent as my mind wanders. When I asses the usefulness discovering what my mind is finding along its wandering path I discover that most of the time is spent on unsolvable global problems and more often than not on things I don’t even remember.
I decided it was time to revisit an article sent to me years ago by the PositivelyPresent folks. Their suggestions help me to reduce the mental clutter allowing me more time for more productive pursuits. You might find it can help you too.
Mind Clearing Tips
The next time you find your mind wandering from the present — dwelling on what could be — use these questions to rein in those wayward thoughts and bring your focus back to the now.
- Is it TRUE right now?
Take the thought you’re having and figure out if it’s true right in this moment. Let’s say you are worried about an upcoming presentation at work or school. In your mind you are standing up in front of the crowd, sweating, forgetting all the points you wanted to make. In your mind you are arriving unprepared, you are mocked by your colleagues or classmates. Now, those are very real concerns, but are they true right in this moment? No. Just like with this example, most of the things we imagine are not true in the present moment. Could they come true? Possibly. But thinking about them and giving them the same attention we would a true thought is pointless. It is a waste of our time and energy to focus attention on what may or may not happen. Also, take another look at the tale above. Even if the worst case scenario did come true, do we know why it came true? Perhaps there is something worse than the worst thing we can imagine. Use this question to focus on what’s real and true, not what might/possibly/maybe/could happen.
- Is it ADDING anything?
If the first question didn’t help and you have still been able to convince yourself that your thoughts about the future are true (remember: as much as they seem like very real possibilities, nothing is truer than the present moment), this question is the next step for bringing that brain of yours back to the now. Examine those thoughts you’re having about the future and ask yourself if they’re adding anything to your perception of the world. Let’s use the same example we used with question #1: you’re stressing about an upcoming presentation and all you can do is imagine how you will stumble over your words and embarrass yourself. Are these thoughts adding anything your present moment? Are they making you more prepared for your presentation? More confident that you will do well? Are they helping you to go over the information you will need to present? Nope! In fact, these thoughts are most likely taking something away from you — value time and energy that you could be using to prepare and practice. If the thoughts of the future aren’t adding value, let them go.
- Is it POSITIVE?
You might be able to convince yourself that the future thoughts are true and adding value (“They’re preparing me for potential outcomes!” you might argue), but you can’t argue with this third question: are these thoughts positive? Imagining what could occur in the future might seem to have it’s value, but more often then not the imagined scenarios are harmful to living a positive and present life. Yes, we must all look to the future at times, but dwelling on or obsessing about the future, assuming we know what will come to be, is almost never positive. Look closely at your thoughts — even those about the past and present — and ask yourself if they are positive. Going back to our example, you can see that imagining the worst outcome is not positive. But what about imagining the best outcome? That certainly must be positive. While I won’t argue that imagining yourself giving an amazing speech is much better than daydreaming of a failed performance, either way you are choosing to focus on something that is imaginary. The most positive choice of all is to focus on what’s happening right now, what’s real and true.
The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back
A Secretary’s Rules For Their Boss
- Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 4:00 and then bring it to me. The challenge of a deadline is refreshing.
- If it is really a rush job, run in and interrupt me every 10 minutes to inquire how it is going. That helps. Even better, hover behind me, and advise me at every keystroke.
- Always leave without telling anyone where you are going. It gives me a chance to be creative when someone asks where you are.
- If my arms are full of papers, boxes, books or supplies, do not open the door for me. I need to learn how to function as a paraplegic and opening doors with no arms is good training in case I should ever be injured and lose all use of my limbs.
- If you give me more than one job to do, do not tell me which is priority. I am psychic.
- Do your best to keep me late. I adore this office and really have nowhere to go or anything to do. I have no life beyond work.
- If a job I do pleases you, keep it a secret. If that gets out, it could mean a promotion.
- If you do not like my work, tell everyone. I like my name to be popular in conversations. I was born to be whipped.
- If you have special instructions for a job, do not write them down. In fact, save them until the job is almost done. No use confusing me with useful information.
- Never introduce me to the people you are with. I have no right to know anything. In the corporate food chain, I am plankton. When you refer to them later, my shrewd deductions will identify them.
- Be nice to me only when the job I am doing for you could really change your life and send you straight to manager’s hell.
- Tell me all your little problems. No one else has any and it is nice to know someone is less fortunate. I especially like the story about having to pay so many taxes on the bonus check you received for being such a good manager.
- Wait until my yearly review and THEN tell me what my goals SHOULD have been. Give me a mediocre performance rating with a cost of living increase. I am not here for the money anyway.
As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.
Esther wanted a divorce from Irving. The judge asked, “What fault do you find with your husband?”
“Your Honor, he’s a liar, a brute, a thief and a brainless idiot.”
“That’s very serious,” exclaimed his Honor, “Can you prove all that?”
“Prove it? Why everybody knows it.”
“If you knew all this, then why did you marry him?”
“I didn’t know it before I married him.”
Irving shouted out, “She did too!”
The best thing about the Future is that it only comes one day at a time!
Despite his best sales pitch, a life-insurance salesman was unable to get a couple to sign up for a policy.
“I certainly don’t want to frighten you into a decision,” he announced, standing up to leave.
“Please sleep on it tonight, and if you wake up in the morning, let me know what you think.”
If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.
As a kid I used to have a lemonade stand. The sign said, “All you can drink for a dime.” So some kid would come up, plunk down his dime, drink a glass, and say, “Refill it.”
I’d say, “That’ll be another dime.”
“How come? Your sign says — All you can drink for a dime!”
“Well, you had a glass didn’t you?”
“That’s all you can drink for a dime.”
An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
Ray’s Daily has been sent for more than fifteen years to people who want to start their day on an upbeat. If you have system overload because of our daily clutter, let me know and I will send you the information via mental telepathy. If you have not been getting our daily you can request to be added by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Back issues are posted at https://raykiwsp.wordpress.com/ currently there are more than 2000 readers from around the world.