I have just come back from the USA, taking a youth performing arts group to compete in the world championships. We go every 3 years and it’s always a rollercoaster of a week in terms of energy and emotion. This trip was one of our most successful in terms of things going smoothly and competitive success (we ended 8th in the world and the only European team in the finals). I wanted to blog about this (it’s not my normal type of subject) because it reminds me what happens in life when you are 100% present.
This trip got me thinking about how I don’t live in the present enough and that is something I want to try and improve. So what was it about this trip that had me so present? Well firstly I was one of the people in charge so I had to focus on ensuring people were in the right place at the right time (we were a group of around 50) and secondly, to survive a trip like this you can’t look at it in its entirety instead you have to just focus on the next task at hand. Lastly, I was doing something I love so that naturally keeps you in the moment.
Through the rehearsals and competitive performances they remain focused on the task at hand. Indeed one of the reasons we were so successful was because we never focused on the competition, but rather getting a little better at each rehearsal. We always talk to the members about remaining in the moment and letting go of the past (for example, if they just made an error in their performance then let it go because focusing on it, will undoubtedly lead to another error). What good lessons for life in general and certainly in business. If we stay focused on the task at hand we will get it done quicker, more effectively and will enjoy it more.
When you are 100% present:
- Time slows down since you are so ‘in the moment’
- You stop worrying about the future and thinking about the past
- You take more pleasure in what you are currently doing
- You get a stronger sense of accomplishment since you don’t feel distracted
I challenge you (as I challenge myself) to try and be more present (for example, I am just focusing on writing this blog in one go rather than getting distracted and it taking longer). Use your senses to help with this – what can you see, hear, smell etc.? Focus on one task at a time and do it slowly and thoroughly.
The latest term for this is ‘mindfulness’ and comes from Buddhism practises that have been around for thousands of year. The advantages of leading a more ‘mindful’ life are less stress, better mental well being and renewed energy and focus.
So a trip like I have just returned from not only gives me a huge sense of accomplishment and fun but also reminds me to try and be more present – because the potential benefits of this are huge.