The art of being present is a skill few have mastered. We have so much that brings us out of the moment naturally, our thoughts and fears of the future. Our worries about our past. We have a hard time as it is, without technology, to be present, that technology simply compounds our natural tendencies to break free from the moment and into a time that doesn’t yet exist or has already happened. (Read This: The ‘Put Your Phone Down’ Challenge)
To first find clarity and to master the art of being present, you must remove those things that break your focus.
A friend of mine, recently married, has a great line as it pertains to remaining a faithful husband. It’s something he follows for all things the tempt him from the path he wants to walk.
It goes: If you don’t want to eat candy, don’t walk into a candy shop.
While distractions can be everywhere, we do not have to have them in our presence. Why would you fight the battle against temptation with the tempter starting at you in the eye when you can have it behind bars and out of sight?
The art of being present has as much to do with how many things distract you or pull you out of the present as it does with your mental fortitude. (Read This: Force Focus to Find Productivity)
• When you’re playing with your kids or talking with your wife, shut the TV off.
• When you’re working, shut the internet off and only use it as you need to. If you’re writing, no internet.
• When you’re training, leave your phone in your truck.
• When you’re on vacation, turn the thing off and don’t look at it.
• Facebook should be blocked for a certain period of the day when its use won’t inhibit your quest.
There are tons of things you can do to be better at being present, it just takes a bit of strength and self-awareness to take the actions necessary. So, take a minute, actually, after this paragraph close the browser and write down 5 things (no more than 5 things for now) that you’re going to remove from your life when you’re focused.
Do this now.
This isn’t simply about being a successful business person or father, but being a successful man. You have a potential within you that cannot be claimed unless you bring your mind out of the future or the past or the gutter, and into the present.
Being present is also how you’re able to be aware. Awareness is how you’re able to listen to your inner voice, be it the coward or the warrior, and respond accordingly.
Are you complaining?
Are you whining?
Do you wish things were different?
If you catch yourself comparing who you are or what you have to what another human has, it’s only awareness that will allow you to root it out. If you find yourself complaining, even about low energy or the weather or work, you must be aware enough to stop yourself before you become a complainer in general.
Awareness when matched with brutal honesty and courage will set you apart from the rest of humanity. It will allow you to improve on your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. It will enable you to be a great father, a successful business man, and a badass on a quest to conquer humanity.
If, however, you choose, as the masses choose, to remain numb to the ways of the world or the ways of your own mind, you will fall in line like the rest of them. You will become a pussy, a victim, a follower of someone else’s path to success rather than creating your own path to meaning and value.
To know what you can accomplish you have to be real and brutally honest about where you are and what you are.
Take myself as an example. I am terrible with distractions. Even right now, writing this, I feel a tug to check my email or site stats or facebook or ESPN.com. This tug can only be stamped out by the removal of the temptation, which is the internet.
If I left it up to my own sense of discipline but did nothing to help myself out I’d get no work done and I’d spend my life checking things that don’t matter rather than doing things that hopefully do matter.
Before you move to the article or distraction, take an second to reflect on this stuff. Write down those 5 things that you deem non-essential and work on removing them from your life.