Roman poet , Horace, wrote these famous words, “carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero“, which can be translated as “Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow or the future”. Our generation has taken that idea and made a tee-shirt logo out of it: “YOLO” which is translated “you only live once”. These phrases are near, if not already, cliché, being something we all say but rarely practice.
Motivational speaker, Gautam Jain, describes it as the rambling of the mind. He argues that the mind is very seldom focused on the present, but that it worries about the past or it is anxious about the future. I find that to be absolutely true about my own life. I am almost a textbook introvert. I spend lots of time contemplating both the past and the future, so I’m not writing this as some sort of focus expert. I’m here to tell you, that if you do the same, I get it.
However, spending all our time in the past and the future, zapps our peace today. Consider this. What are you worried about today? Will it still be a concern 5 years from now? If it is something from your past, can you change anything? Nine times out of ten, you and I are spinning our wheels. With our minds are actively engaged in these thought processes, we are misappropriating our energies toward things in which we have no control.
Listen carefully. You can’t change the past, nor can you control outcomes. Both are beyond our capacity to manipulate. At best all we can do is replay and speculate without being certain of the outcome. You can’t change the past, nor can you control outcomes. Overcoming this issue is simple, yet not easy. Carpe diem and maximize your now by:
- Let go of the past. When you find yourself drifting into the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s just let it go. What’s done is done and there is no need in continuing to cry over spilled milk.
- Go back and forgive. This is tough, I know, but it is necessary to preserve your peace. There are some people you need to call and talk to, but there are others you can just release. You can’t hold a grudge and maintain peace, it is impossible.
- Deadline your plans. Planning is wisdom, but many use the planning stage as a procrastinating agent. Give yourself only so much time to develop, then make yourself execute. It is better to start with something, than to never start at all.
- Do something today that will shape your future. Once you realize, what you do, or don’t do today, will affect tomorrow, that should be motivation enough to get something done. Set small, reachable goals everyday and get them done. This will occupy your mind and your hands, getting you closer to your desired end.
- Take time to rest and enjoy. I say it all the time; rest is just as productive as work. Give your mind the chance to rest, and engage in some sort of activity that brings enjoyment. All work and no play will eventually bring the same result of all play and no work.
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time …” Ephesians 5:15-16a (New American Standard Bible)
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