GET PRESENT ORIENTED
How do you get “present oriented?”
In essence, the basic strategy requires a dedication on your part to the present. A commitment, or recommitment, as it were, to “the here-and-now.” It is a commitment that comes when you realize the importance of the present-orientation and why, as we’ve described, it is so symptomatic of healthy personality. Simply realizing, therefore, that a focus on the present time-frame is good (and that excessive time spent preoccupied with past or future is bad), is the basic start of a lasting change.
What you really face is the challenge of making today’s life so good that any past sadness and glory or future fears and dreams won’t be able to compete for your immediate attention!
How can you do it? Well, first of all, other Fundamentals can help…
As I have said throughout this book, “practicing one Fundamental helps to fulfill another.” As we’ve progressed with your work with the Fundamentals, it’s clear how much they tend to overlap on one another. One Fundamental mastered helps out the mastery of another. Working on one Fundamental has a carry-over effect on another one. And so it goes!
Fundamental Eight is like this: to “Get Present-Oriented,” one can rely heavily on a number of the Fundamentals we’ve already covered. “Be More Active” (Fundamental One) will probably be your best bet. Becoming more active — living a busy, full life of enjoyable activity — can’t help but automatically focus your attention more on the present. Likewise, Fundamentals Two and Three (“Spend More Time Socializing” and “Be Productive At Meaningful Work”) can be an aid as well. There is nothing in the way of “present- oriented” activity that exceeds the immediate engrossment provided by social interaction or the occupation with a meaningful task. The advice we gave to “Stop Worrying,” “Lower Your Expectations,” and “Develop Positive, Optimistic Thinking” (Fundamentals Five, Six, and Seven) clearly apply here too.
Based on these previous Fundamentals, a clear set of recommendations becomes clear…
Become more active. Do more “fun” things which occupy totally occupy your mental time.
Develop a hobby or a social activity which consumes more of your idle time.
Spend more time in enjoyable social interaction. There is nothing like time spent in conversation to focus one’s time on the present.
Stop worrying and, thereby. eliminate on of the major negative mental tendencies you have. and “positive,
Work on your optimistic thinking to begin to cancel negative mental-wonderings.
“Thought switch” to train yourself to focus more attention on today.
Focus more on the enjoyment of an immediate task rather than its eventual goal.
Try the more ancient forms of “present-oriented” activity like meditation and exercise to help focus your attention on your immediate surrounds.
Get away from your regular situation with vacations or even short-day trips. There is nothing like novelty to absorb one’s attention to the present.