The 80%/20% Rule and Living in the Present


Too many times, we have a tendency to focus too much on the past and in the future.
The reality is, all we have is right here, right now.  Creating a discipline of mind to completely enjoy and experience the present moment is definitely a worthwhile endeavor.  The Buddhists call this mindfulness, or complete awareness of the present.

As a rule of thumb, spend 80% of your time living in the present, 5%-10% learning from the past, and 10%-15% planning for the future.


Enjoying the Present
When you pay attention to the present, you enjoy a heightened sense of awareness.  You create a greater sense of curiosity and appreciation.  Think about how a three-year-old embraces the present, looking at a butterfly or eating an ice cream cone.  They become completely immersed in the present.

Benefits of looking in the past & towards the future
While you can’t change the past, and the future is uncertain, there are certain benefits.  There is satisfaction in reviewing your journey, with the highs & lows, so you can determine what you want more of, and what you want less of.  Regarding the future, defining your direction has immense power on what you do now, and the decisions you make in the present.  There is value in self-reflection.

Readjustments happen in real-time. Take baby steps
Oprah said “You are responsible for your life, and doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”  Each present moment is a baby step to the next moment.  Each decision and action will either take you closer to or further from your desired goal.  Make a conscious effort to be aware of the direction you are going in each present moment.

Worrying about the future and living in the past are ineffective uses of time.  If we choose to live each moment as it arrives, not before or after, our lives will be more fulfilling, more joyful, and more meaningful.  Namaste.