This is not a blog post about Fatboy Slim. This post is about being present in the moment. Not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Just concerning yourself with right here, right now. This all came about when Keily asked me a question last week and the response kind of rattled her and somewhat pissed her off (me on one of my righteous psychology and philosophy moments.) but it made complete sense to me. Keily asked:
‘How do you think you will feel if you can’t do this run?’
No holds barred! She hit me with a question that could have shattered me, ‘Does she not believe in me?’ ‘Are people thinking I will not be able to do this?’ Of course this question came out of a general conversation and undoubtedly stems from her concern for my well being and desire for me to succeed. What follows is a paraphrased version of my response. Thinking back to it now I feel as though I sounded like one of the great greek orators. Clearly I didn’t, but in my mind...
‘I cannot possibly give you an answer. To look forward 6, 10 or 12 months from now and have a guess at how I would feel in that moment would be irresponsible and probably inaccurate. Looking forward and attempting to predict how an event might make you feel can cause anxiousness, an anxiousness that will serve no purpose here and now.
I am all for being aware of all the possible events moving forward but to attach an emotion to that would be guessing. You might have expected my answer to be angry or upset but for all I know it could turn out to be relief, it could turn out to be a feeling of joy. Even if today was the day that it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be doing this run I couldn’t tell you how I would feel because you also have to consider the many factors in place that could cause the failure of this challenge. Injury? No Volunteers? Can’t get a campervan? So many things could potentially cause a failure in this process before it even begins and to guess how I might feel would serve no purpose.
I once heard that depression is to look back and dwell on the past and anxiety was to look forward and worry about the outcome and how you might feel. I don’t know how accurate and true a statement like that is to those who suffer from depression and struggle with managing their anxiety but it does enough for me personally to do neither. What has happened has happened and there is nothing we can do to change that so to dwell on it serves no purpose. What is in the future hasn’t happened yet and with so much that could happen between now and that potential event that may or may not happen would not be beneficial.
All I can really concern myself with is the present moment. All I can do is concentrate on the next action or decision. Remembering to base what I do on my values and principles of doing what is right and with good judgment’
It went something like that.
Some might say it is a short sighted and neglectful process to only concern yourself with the next move when you are aiming towards a goal but I would disagree. Part of the decision in front of you also has to consider the direction you want to go in. You may have a path in mind but life will throw things at you that may move you from that path. This will undoubtedly happen but as long as you keep the direction in mind you will get there. Isn’t it most likely that if you make decisions based on good judgement and doing what is right you will end up following the direction you wish to follow? Either that or it will reset you to where you should be heading instead. Good judgement and doing what is right at your next decision what more do we need?
Good judgement and doing what is right is quite blasé, What is good judgement? What is doing what is right? That depends on what you hold dear to you, what you perceive those things to be. Most importantly it is what principles and values you hold. These are the things that will guide your good judgement. These are the things that will give you direction.
This isn’t a case of ‘trusting the process’ or blindly making a decision. It is about constantly refining the process and checking your direction. To blindly ‘trust the process’ and not check in on your values and principles routinely would be irresponsible. You have to challenge them, you have to refine them. It is our refined principles and values that give us our direction. If we utilise them at every decision and they guide our judgment and reason then we will be lead down the right path and in the right direction.
I think this answers Keily’s question very well.