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The pace of life seems to be accelerating with every passing day. Certainly the development of internet based communications has collapsed the time float which existed with communications throughout history. We no longer have to wait for a letter to be delivered or even an overnight package of information to arrive. It is possible to have instant access to others and a wealth of information. The time float is gone. Ask a question, instantly expect a response. Give a direction, expect instant action. The question is whether this change is an improvement. We certainly have the opportunity to start more things than we ever could in the past. Unfortunately, our ability to finish things has not kept pace. I would speculate that our individual ratio of ‘things to do’ to ‘things done’ has never been higher.
Each of our lives is a continuum of moments in time. Life proceeds moment by moment from the moment in time that a life begins, however you define it, until the moment in time in a life ends. Life is a stream of present moments. History is the record of what came before the current moment in time and the future is the prospect for what will come after the current moment in time. Another way to look at it as your history is the story of what you have done. Your future is the story of what you will do. The only time left for getting things done is therefore the present moment. This instant, right now, is the only possible time you have to actually do anything. Blink and it is gone, now a part of your history. If we spend too much time dealing with the past or planning for the future we lose the opportunity to get anything done. Want to lower the stress in your life? Want to have a greater sense of achievement? If the answer is yes, then concentrate your attention on the only moment in time in which you can do anything, the present moment. Do something, get something done, now.
Thomas Jefferson stated, “It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing”. Songwriter, singer and social activist, Harry Chapin told a story of his grandfather coming home after a long day of work and being ‘good tired’. The type of tired you are when you have expended yourself in a good cause, when you have worked against things that are meaningful to you and others. Teddy Roosevelt in his “In the Arena speech” (April 23, 1910) states, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…..who spends himself in a worthy cause”. Three statements from three very different people at different points in our collective history all saying the same thing; the most important aspect of being successful is to use your present moment to finish something worthwhile. What we start tells the world what we want to be. What we finish tells the world what we are.
October 23, 2009
Taking it Deeper:
“The Present”, Spencer Johnson, Doubleday, 2003 - This is a short and easy read with a great message.
“My Grandfather”, Harry Chapin, Gold Metal Collection (Disc 2), 1988 – Harry was a great storyteller with his music. This piece is a short interview segment which is interspersed with a collection of his best songs. It was released six years after is death caused by a car accident.
“In the Arena”, Teddy Roosevelt, April 23 – The excerpt of the full speech which gives it its title is presented on www.JoeSchumacker.com
. It is a powerful statement in support of people who decide to make a difference, check it out.