I do not know about you, but I find myself living a lot of my life in the past. I really do not like to make mistakes. I think I am an idealist. I have such a strong desire to do everything in a perfect manner that it frustrates me as I look back over my life because I realize there are many things I could have done better if I had just applied myself more.
It has always been a secret desire of mine to know how to play the drums and I am confident I could have learned to play them when I was in middle school. When I see someone playing the drums, I try to play along with them in my mind, but, I have no idea how to actually play them. I believe, however, that I could have played if I had only applied myself.
When I was in high school, I took a Spanish class, but, at that time, learning the language just did not seem to interest me. I would give anything now if I could speak the Spanish language. I have been to Spain, Mexico, and South America. In fact, I have been to many other Spanish speaking countries. Over the years, I have picked up a few words and phrases here and there, but, I cannot speak Spanish. I know I could have learned the language well had I applied myself more diligently at that time in my life.
Those are just a couple of examples, but I could go on and on. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not depressed over these circumstances. I just wish I had done things differently. But, all of that is history.
When I look to the future, I sometimes wonder what will happen in my life. We are living in very uncertain times. I cannot think of a time in the last thirty to forty years when there have been so many things shaping up to create a perfect storm. We have a hurting real estate market, a declining stock market, international terrorism, soaring gas prices, and a faltering airline industry. Sadly, no one seems to have any good answers. But, again, this does not depress me. It just reminds me that the future has much in it that is yet to be revealed to us. I actually look into the future with optimism. I know that I can play a role in my own life, and in the life of others, to make things better. We live in an exciting time where the opportunities are endless as to what can be. Although I am a strong believer in God, I also know that He has left many aspects of this world in our hands. It is very important that we all apply ourselves and do the very best we can to help shape the future for ourselves and our children. I think, depending on where you live in the world, some of the greatest, most prosperous, exciting and happy days could still be in the future for all of us. However, at this time it is still a mystery.
But, that brings us to the third aspect of our life which is today. The day you are reading this Tip is the only day that really matters because it is the only day that you can actually do anything about. If you apply yourself to today, you have a better opportunity to see things change in your future. Maybe an illustration will help.
If I were a farmer and was disappointed in last year’s crop but wanted to have a better crop this year, the only day I could do something about that would be today. If I went out into my field and worked the soil, planted seed, and fertilized my crop, that would be the best thing I could do. Although I would have no guarantee about what might happen to the weather and the future of the crops, I could not do anything about that either. All I could do is what I could do today.
As you are reading this, you may be thinking, “But, isn’t that obvious? Doesn’t everyone know that?” Actually, I think very few of us really realize it. Here is why; we tend to want to dedicate ourselves to some task that will be of monumental proportion that will have great impact on our own life. The only problem is that most often that is just a dream. It is a hope. It is an idea. The question we should ask ourselves is, “What did I do today that will actually make my hopes and dreams come true in the future?” That is where the secret lies. Today is the only day that we really have. That is why it is called “the present.” If I can take the present of today and open it, and use it to the best of my ability, I will be doing the best thing possible to make up for the past and to plan for the future. If I want to learn how to play the drums, I need to enroll in drum lessons today. If I want to learn how to speak Spanish, I need to enroll in a Spanish class today. In other words, I need to do something today that will make things different in the future. Today is the key to life.
I once had a professor who said that it is easy to dedicate your life to a task. It is just hard to dedicate each day to that task. That sums it up pretty well.
I hope that you will begin to look at each day as a little more special. The daily seeds that you plant will have an impact, but, they will never come to fruition unless you plant them. And, the best time to plant them is always today.
Why not take an inventory of your life? See what regrets you have from the past. See what dreams you have for the future. Use today as a gift to begin to see those dreams become a reality. Then you will have the present you want..one that will bless your own life and others.
Have a great week! God bless you!
Robert Rohm Ph.D.
Personality Insights, Inc.