When I was a kid, we used to take these road trips from Connecticut to Florida to visit my grandparents. I know that may sound like a huge waste of time when you can just fly there in a little over two hours, but the fact is we remember more about the adventures we had on those car trips than we do about the actual vacations themselves. We truly enjoyed the journey.
At some point in time, and I can’t pinpoint when exactly, I started to disregard the journey. My life became a game of what’s next, instead of focusing on what is. When I look back on my kids, I realize that I just couldn’t wait for them to get to the next stage of development from crawling, to walking, to talking, and the next thing I knew I blinked and was dropping them off at college. At some point, I stopped enjoying the journey.
I found myself getting distracted by work. I was buried answering emails on my phone when I should have been enjoying whatever movie was on. In short, I didn’t live in the moment. Here’s the thing, as efficient as I was living my life, I was blind to what I was missing out on.
This all reminded me of a conversation I had with Shihan Manny Esmeraldo, the senior instructor at the Karate studio my kids and I used to train at. Listen in as I recap what he has to say about the importance of enjoying the journey. At the end, I share four tips for how we can do a better job at living in the moment including:
- Awareness. Be aware of what your actions are suggesting to others. It isn’t just you who you are shortchanging by not enjoying the journey, it’s other people in your life. When you are with others and are not embracing the moment because you are distracted by your phone, your thoughts on work, etc. know that your behavior might suggest to them that you do not value the time they are spending with you. If you are aware of your own behavior and what it suggests to others, you will be more likely to keep it in check.
- Remind. Remember that the journey is part of the fun. Think about it as you would reading a good book. When you are so engrossed in a story, you don’t want it to end. You don’t just rush to the last page to see the conclusion. You want to stay on the journey! Conversely, how many times have you been let down by a story that ends abruptly? So, enjoy the story you are writing with your life. Don’t rush to the end.
- Enjoy. Find a way to simply enjoy being where you are. On those long car trips, my brother and I would record silly fake radio programs on a boom box. We’d make up stories about people we saw driving. Find the joy of any situation and you will be more likely to stay present in it.
- Avoid Temptation. If you are so distracted by things like your phone, and I know just how easy it is to be distracted by what I call my “work thingy,” maybe lock it up when you don’t need it. Kind of like how you can’t eat that bag of chips if it never makes its way into your shopping cart. So if the phone is your Achilles heel, leave it in another room when it’s time to watch tv. Or if you go to a party or sporting event, leave it in the car. Someone else will take pictures.
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We will be back with another episode on Monday. And next Thursday, wow do I have a treat for you. But I’ll tell you more about that on Monday.
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