“ The present is never our goal: the past and present are our means: the future alone is our goal. Thus, we never live but we hope to live; and always hoping to be happy, it is inevitable that we will never be so.”
- Blaise Pascal
As someone with high ambitions and who’s encouraged/inspired by people pursuing their own dreams, I was recently reminded how important it is to be present. We’re all familiar with the 1, 5 and 10 year plans. And, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had conversations with friends that start out with phrases like, “I’m working on,” or “I hope to,” or “My plan is.” We’re all working towards goals. I can only speak for myself when I say, my energy, towards achieving any goal, is cyclical. There are times when I’m extremely aggressive and optimistic, times when I decide to pace myself, and other times when I need a quick break. I’m pretty good at self-starting, but every once in a while, I just need to take a breather.
We’re all encouraged to be driven. So driven sometimes, that even when we accomplish a task, we immediately refocus on the next goal. You know the deal – you congratulate yourself for finishing a business proposal, but not for too long, because in 5 minutes, it’s time to start hustling to bring that proposal to fruition. Similarly, it’s easy to become anxious when you don’t feel as though you’re headed to any destination at all. When I was finishing college, my peers would fearfully say , “It’s time for the real world.” I couldn’t help but wonder, what do you think you’ve been doing these past 4 (or 5) years? You’ve been living. To me, the next step was just a transition. It was no more or less real than anything that preceded. This was the first time I noticed people devaluing their current experience.
Recently, I realized that one of my plans might not work out as intended. I laid out a roadmap and followed directions, but I may not reach my final destination – at least, not on schedule. All of this has served as a reminder that I stay present. I have to be sure, that no matter what step I’m on, I’m enjoying and see value in my journey. Because, even though you have a 5 year plan, you’re 5th year may not be exact. You’ll still be disappointed if your goal gets rerouted, but enjoying the steps along the way will make your journey that much sweeter.
So, keep hustling, but I hope that you are all enjoying your journeys.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
- Henry David Thoreau