Let’s face it, life is complicated. How we choose to live our lives is really complicated. What do I mean?
Should I focus on making the world a better place? Or should I focus on kicking butt in my career? Or maybe I should put all my eggs into the spiritual awakening basket. Or should I place all of those behind being a great dad, husband and friend? Or should I work hard to find the perfect balance among all these paths?
Keep it simple
It gets complicated, confusing, frustrating and mentally exhausting. As such, I’m always looking for ways to simplify how I lead my life.
Here’s one way to try on for size. How about looking at each moment of your life with this idea in mind: “I want to make this moment better for it having been put in front of me.”
That’s it. All you’re doing is going through life with that one idea front and center. Serving your moments. How would that play out? Here are a few relatable examples.
To flip off, or not to flip off
Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit I comment on often: Driving. Someone cuts you off in traffic, forcing you to hit the brakes. In that moment you could lean on your horn, scream in your car and flip them off.
OR, you could stay calm and throw the offending driver a look of “No big whoop. I’m good.” Choose the latter and, because that moment was put in front of you, that moment was better.
Or maybe your spouse or significant other gets home from work, clearly exhausted and in a bad mood. They start nagging or complaining. “The kitchen sure looks clean. Did you have a party I wasn’t invited to?”
How are you going to make this moment better for you having been a part of it? By saying, “Oh, go F&%K yourself.” Then grabbing your glass of wine, storming into your bedroom and watching three episodes of Game of Thrones?
Or you could say, “You’re exhausted. Why don’t you get a glass of wine and chill out.”
You could also try the humorous path my mom often took when my dad was a grouch. She’d sing the old Nat King Cole classic, “Stay as sweet as you are, don’t ever change.”
Serving our work moments
How do we serve our moments at work? If we’re writing a memo on first quarter sales strategy, we summon all of our attention and effort into writing that memo. And nothing else. That’s how those moments are best served by us.
How do we serve those moments where nothing is going on? In other words, when we’re bored. We serve those moments by staying in the moment and not drifting off into egoic thought.
Of course what this really is is a way to frame your life in a way that gives primacy to staying present and in the moment. And the secret is that merely being present is, in itself, the way we best serve the moments that come before us.
Consider giving this a try. Experiment with it. Maybe designate one full day where you devote all of your will and attention to making the moments that come before you better because you were in them.