Most of us are so busy chasing the future of our dreams that we overlook the joys of the present.

Even worse, if we don’t get what we think we desperately want, our life might seem ‘ruined’.

Look at all the pressure put on teens to get good grades so they can get into the college of their choice.

If they don’t get in for any reason, they often feel as if they are a failure or as if their life is ruined.


Happily married couples think kids and a home of their own will make their lives perfect

They then discover one of the partners is infertile and the roof starts to fall in due to heavy winter snow.

It’s times like these that test a person’s character, and often make or break even the best relationships.

Outside stresses abound, but we place a lot of stress on ourselves due to all our expectations, thoughts and desires.

We spend so much time chasing after the future we want,

such as money for the down payment on that dream house, we fail to live in the now.

We do what we have to in order to keep our jobs so we can keep on earning in order to pay the mortgage,

but there seems little time for anything other than work and other commitments.

Then we get frustrated and feel like a giant hamster running on a wheel all the time.


This constant doing instead of being,

of living in the future,

instead of living in the now,

can cause anger and frustration to build.

Very few of us are at our best when we are stressed and angry.

It can cause us to do something we will regret;

such as doing or saying something to our partner that might be very hurtful.

Once or twice might not be a deal-breaker,

but if you find yourself arguing about the same issues over and over again,

it’s time to look at your present if you ever intend on having a future with that person.

The #1 cause of divorce is money trouble.

Money can’t buy happiness, it’s true,

but it does give you a lot more choices than being poor.

The important word here is choice.

Do you find yourself just doing the same thing over and over because it is easier than trying something different?

Or ignoring opportunities because they don’t fit in with what you picture your future to be like?


The truth is that your life unfolds moment by moment in the present.

In the time it’s taken you to read that sentence,

about 10 seconds have already passed into the past.

By the time you finish, which might take about another 10 seconds,

those future seconds will become the present, and then the past.

Understanding this can help you realize just how precious your time is,

and how each present moment is the foundation to a happier future if you take time to live in the now.

Let’s look in the next chapter at some of the ways to free yourself to live in the present.

How to Live in the Present

There are many ways you can train yourself to cut links with the past and stop chasing the future so you can live in the present.

This will mean some focus and effort, but the results will be well worth it.




What you do with these thoughts is up to you.

Either observe them and think about what lesson you learned from the event at the time,

or simply allow the idea to go back into the vast ocean of your thoughts just like a wave falling back into the sea.



However, this means that at the end of an hour,

for example, you’ve got 30 minutes of work done on 2 tasks, and they are likely to be half-finished,

compared with having worked on one thing at a time and completed it,

then turned your full attention to the next chore on your list.

Multitasking is a time-eater, and a time-waster,

that prevents you from living in the moment.

One could even argue that it damages your chances of a better future

because few of us do our best work when we are distracted.




For example, it is nice to have a lovely lawn, but it requires work and ongoing expenses.

And after all your efforts, you might still look over at your neighbour’s lawn and decide that their grass is somehow greener.

It may be, but in the end, it’s all just grass.

Make the most of the life you have, and love the life you live.

It’s unique to you because you are unique.



You can also focus on positive things in your life, such as your wonderful spouse or the joys of chocolate ice cream.





Accept that things are neither good nor bad, they just are.

This is particularly important in relation to your thoughts.

Don’t judge, just observe.

There’s no need to feel guilty about how much you detest your aunt.

As long as you aren’t mean to her or say anything nasty, no harm is done.

On the other hand, you could be grateful to her for presenting you with problems that enable you to learn and grow as a person.




You don’t have to be perfect.

You just have to try your best.

If you procrastinate at work because you are a perfectionist or worry about getting judged, remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be completed by your deadline.




As the famous quote by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr says, “…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.”




Dinner is a great time to connect, catch up on each other’s day and discuss a range of interesting topics, which fosters open communication and enjoyment of the present moment.

Studies have shown that families who eat dinner together regularly are a lot closer than those who do not.

They have also shown that the children in those families tend to be a lot less likely to experiment with alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and sex.


There’s really no greater gift we can give a loved one than to be present for them,

listening supportively and relaxing together, even if it just for a few moments each day.

As American cartoonist Bil Keane said, “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift.

That’s why it’s called the present.”

Being present is a gift that will keep on giving,

to your family,

and above all, yourself,

as you discover the power of living in the here and now.