Living In The Present

I’ve just come back from spending a month in South Africa.  It’s something I’ve done several times before and I’m fortunate to be able to work from anywhere so this suits me really well and it allows me to escape some of the British winter.

On this trip, I was reminded of how aware one is when you are on vacation because you’re in new surroundings and experiencing new things. I realise when we are out of our normal routine, we are much more present yeah when we are in our usual day-to-day grind we can spend too much time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. This is really unhealthy and as Leo Tolstoy said, "living in the present is the only thing we have any power over” so in today’s episode explore more on this topic. 

Time Stamp

[1:01] How I manage to spend a month in South Africa every year
[1:53] Why is it when we are on vacation, we are so much more present?
[2:20] Use all your senses to be much more present
[2:40] Why is it important to live in the present?
[3:40] My story of not living in the present
[4:45] The consequence of not living in the present
[5:45] We are creatures of habit, so you need to work on more positive habits (not living in the past or future!)
[6:45] Time is not real it’s just a human-made construct
[7:00] My terrifying flight – an example of living every moment!
[7:55] Right now is the only time that is important, because this time we can control
[8:25] How this impacts day to day agency life
[8:57] How walking my dog helps me be present
[9:21] What can you consciously do to be more present?


“Living in the past is just a memory you can’t change.  Living in the future is a story we tell ourselves.” – Rob Da Costa
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness” – Abraham Maslow
"There is only one time that is important - Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power." – Leo Tolstoy

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 Full Episode Transcription

Hey everybody, and welcome to this week's episode of the agency accelerator podcast. Now today, I want to get a little bit philosophical and talk to you all about the importance of being present and living in the present. And this has come to the front of my mind because I've just got back from spending a month in South Africa. So that's what we're going to talk about today and let's get on with the show. I'm Robert Da Costa, and this is the agency accelerated podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes have started growing and selling my agency, I know just how it feels during the ups and the downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guests' experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing and profitable, sustainable and enjoyable business.

Hey everybody, I hope you're having a fantastic week. I have just returned from having a brilliant month in South Africa. If you followed my podcast or you've read my blogs over the last few years, you'll know this is something that I have tried to do every year when the pandemic allows and the trip that we did in January 2022 was a delayed trip from the year before so we were glad to be able to make that trip. One of the things that reminded me of is the importance of living in the present because without even thinking about it you know when you're on holiday you are so much more present. You are so much more at the moment than you are when you're on the daily grind of your life.

That's why I want to talk to you about today's video and today's podcast is about the importance of living in the present. So I guess the first thing I thought of is well why is it when you're on vacation? And, just to be clear, my trip for a month was two weeks vacation and two weeks working. So why is it when we are on holiday or vacation we are so much more present? Well, of course, we're in a different surrounding wherever our usual cycle is and we are seeing lots of amazing sights. And sounds and that leads us to be much more present. And of course, when we're more present, it's so much more healthy. And I'll get onto that in a minute. And I think one of the things that we are more aware of is all of our senses, so are things that we see things that we hear things that we smell, and I guess one of the best tips I can ever give anybody about being in the present is to use your senses and be much more aware of them. So let's just spend a couple of moments talking about well, okay, Rob, that's great. But why is it important for us to be in the present to live in the present? And the key reason is it's the only real thing that we have which is this present moment. The past is just a memory and living in the future is dangerous because we start to make up stories about our future. And if you know anything about that triangle that thoughts lead to feelings and feelings lead to behaviour. So if we're having a negative thought about the future, then we start to have negative feelings about the future and that leads us to have negative behaviours that probably will create our reality and deliver that negative future that we're worried about. So just remember that living in the past is just a memory that you can't change. And living in the future is just a story that we tell ourselves. Also, our lives become dictated by thoughts and emotions that are attached to past events, events or potential future outcomes. It becomes rarer that we live in the present moment. I just want to tell you a really quick side story about that. So when I decided to become a coach, it wasn't the best time of my life. I'd sold my agency I'd lost a sense of who I was and what my purpose in life was. And the first thing I did was an NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming coaching course. And one of the things I teach you is about through time and in time. So one of the questions that they asked us is to say, point to the future and point to the past and point to the present. And most people go the future is here. The past is there, the present is here or they go the future is here. The past is here and the present is here. And at the time I kind of went. The future is here. The past is here and the present is somewhere mixed in with all of it. Of course, there wasn't a very healthy thing and I think one of the best things I got out of the NLP coaching course that I did was to learn more about myself and to start to change some of that because at the time I was very much living in the past or worrying about the future. And when you spend all your time doing that you've got no energy to live in the present. And that means that you start being susceptible to stress and depression and generally feel unhappy and uncomfortable about life. So not a good place to be. So because of all of that, it is super important to learn to live in the present moment. Abraham Maslow once said the ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. And only in the present moment, can you achieve true happiness, peace and joy, which are all key for our mental well being. Of course, it's natural to spend some moments in the past because we do learn lessons from things that we've done in the past, or daydreaming and planning about the future. But when our lives become dictated by those thoughts and emotions attached to past events, or potential future outcomes, then standing peacefully in the present becomes increasingly difficult and increasingly rare. You know, we are creatures of habit. So if we spend loads of time mulling over negativity and struggles of the past or becoming anxious and fearful about the future, then we stop living in the present and we are very seldomly. Here in the moment. And then those habits quickly become the norm and as we know from many of life's other vices, just because we're doing something regularly doesn't mean that it's good for us or the right way to live. So I just wanted to share that thought with you because it was present in my mind. While I was in South Africa. And I was enjoying the moment and being conscious to say, hey, we'll just remember this moment and enjoy this moment, and just being so much more present than I ever am when I'm sitting at my desk right now. So it's something that I am consciously trying to do. I think it's worth reminding us that time is just a human-made construct, you know, because why is it that time goes so fast when you're doing something you enjoy, like being on vacation, and yet time goes slow, when you are doing something you don't enjoy, and I'll give you a really good example of this because unfortunately, I flew home during storm evenness on Sunday, and I also do not like flying so put those two things together and I can tell you why it was living in the moment. Every single bump of the plane and I'm going to if you're watching this on video, I put a video of my plane landing you'll see how bumpy it was. And it was really scary. And we were wondering whether we're going to land in the UK of the pilot said we might have to be diverted to Paris. But I'll tell you what, I lived every single minute of that 14 minutes as we came into Heathrow, and it sort of forced me to be in the present. And of course, time went slowly, even though that was one of those rare moments where I was trying to think about the future and not be in the present but to be quite less most of the time. That doesn't happen and most of the time we want to be in the present living at the moment enjoying the moment and cherishing the moment so I think the key to remember is we kind of make up time and that is so important that we live in the present. Leo Tolstoy said there is only one important time. Now, it's the most important time because it's the only time we have any power. So that's true and worth me saying again that there is only one important time, which is right now. It's the most important time because it's the only time that we have any power. I think in the day to day running of agency life we're very prone to not being present. We're too busy making plans for the future. We're thinking about clients. We're worried about past projects, or client cons, we're stressing about what might happen. None of that is healthy, and we're not living in the present. So I would encourage you to try that. This is really why the mindfulness movement has emerged over the past few years. My trip to South Africa reminded me of the importance of making a conscious effort to be more present. Now there are several things that you can do. One thing I try to do when I'm back in my UK office is walking my dog every day. And I tried to be present so I don't take my phone and I try to learn the lessons that dogs can teach us because my dog is never worrying about what route we're going to take on the walk or how long the route The walk will be. Because he's far too busy being in the present, chasing whatever or sniffing around. So my question to you today and I'll leave this as my sort of last parting thought for this very short podcast is what can you consciously do to be more present?

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