“We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.” – R.D. Laing

Life is short. Seize the moment. Live each day as if it were your last. We’ve all heard advice like this before but most of us struggle to take it. This post outlines three keys of embracing the present.

1. Learn from yesterday.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One challenge to living in the present is being preoccupied with the past. We get stuck overanalysing all we’ve said and done, wishing we could somehow go back to change what happened and have things turn out differently. We long for the good old days. We feel regret about missed opportunities and anger towards people we believe have wronged us. But we’re all human and we all make mistakes. Expecting otherwise is naïve.

Ultimately, we need to acknowledge the past and move on, simply because there’s absolutely nothing we can do to make it better. Well, there is one thing. We can always learn. Doing so may prevent mishaps down the line. All the challenges we overcome make us stronger. All the experiences we’ve gone through, both good and bad, define who we are. They are chances for us to learn about ourselves and grow in the process. Life isn’t perfect and all the “quirks” add so much colour. As long as we strive to better ourselves and craft our true identities, no failure will be in vain.

2. Plan for tomorrow.

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.” – Albert Einstein

Moving on from the past obviously involves looking to the future. It comes from believing that no matter how dark things may be, brighter days will come again. It comes from believing success is just around the corner. However, thinking about the future has its own problems too. Sometimes we tend to plan a bit too much, which only leads to worry. Again, it comes down to trying to control something we simply can’t.

There are a lot of things in life that cause anxiety, most of which are unlikely to occur, unlikely to last, or nowhere near as bad as we make them out to be. We worry about what may or may not happen and whether our lives will work out the way we want them to. Clearly, this isn’t healthy and it’s another thing we need to consider. We need to get over the fact that life is uncertain and that things change. Nothing is forever. We grow up and we move on. All we can do is plan wherever possible and then hope for the best because the rest is out of our hands.

3. Live for today.

“The living moment is everything.” – D.H. Lawrence

The best way to affect the future is by focusing on the present. This is where our power lies because it is the only thing we can actually control. No matter how many times we’ve failed, everyday is a new day and every moment is fresh chance for us to start again. Taking action is what produces results and the only time we can take action is right now. No, it won’t guarantee success, but a step in the right direction is progress nonetheless.

Living in the moment does not mean being irresponsible or going from one whim to the next. It simply means taking your life one day at a time, dealing with whatever comes your way, and adjusting wherever necessary. We’re born to live. So make the choice to stop being tied down by a disappointing past or fixated on an increasingly uncertain future. Your life may very well pass you by! Instead, choose to focus on being engaged and happy in the here and now. It’s all we have.

Author's Bio: 

About Me

I have been an active writer for over a decade and published my first book in August 2007. This marked the start of Varsity Blah, a personal development blog that has now received almost 250,000 hits from over 120 countries worldwide. This article is one of almost 100 posts that were compiled into my upcoming book, which was reviewed on Authonomy.com: “This is some very insightful stuff… The way the book is structured, paired with your capabilities of drawing great narrative, leads this on the right path. This cleanses the mind.”

For more free chapters and special reports, please email editor@varsityblah.com.

About My Services

Graduating from college with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano has given me a uniquely creative approach to all I do. As a personal development copywriter, I specialise in creating content on improving health, relationships, finances, and career. This includes writing and editing articles, papers, blog posts, web copy, and much more. My professional background in marketing (as well as my extensive experience as one of the first external bloggers for the World Advertising Research Centre) means I can also provide case studies, company profiles, and whitepapers focused on branding, communications, digital media, and market research.

For more information on the services I provide and to discuss your project needs, please email editor@varsityblah.com.