Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thinking in the Present Moment

When it comes to thinking in its chronological form, I am the "in-the-future" type. I think about what's going to happen next. Which is good, don't get me wrong (this is the kind of thinking that gives your conscience the reigns of decision-making, keeping you effectively out of trouble). But too much future thinking can also ruin the spontaneity that life gives you with present thinking.

Thinking in the present moment is most fun. I recently read a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink. The book took a scientific approach on split-second decisions, saying they gave the better result when compared to the outcome you would have gotten with a long, thought out hypothesis or plan made before taking action. It was definitely an eye-opener for me - especially since it spent so much time rebelling against what every parent tells their children to do (think ahead!) But I think from his book, I mainly found the importance of split-second decision-making in certain settings that could make them most memorable and fun.

Of course you want to plan ahead things that are meant to be long term, like moving or scheduled classes you will need before obtaining a degree, or budgeting before making an addition to your family; and trust me, being the future-thinker I am, these all have THEIR OWN FILE in my brain already. But once that is all set in place, the rest of your life should be devoted to spontaneity. If we have a stable job, a mode of transportation, good friends to call up when we need a night out, what is to stop us from keeping with the same schedule everyday? All is good in well with this uniform stability, so why go and shake it up? It is with this previously-thought-out state of mind that we fall into the abyss of normalcy, where our


I have heard this phrase spoken in long conversations with my friends many times. It's usually juxtaposed with conversations of boredom and forgetfulness. On the less frightening end of the spectrum, we will be talking about what happened the other day, and then one of us will say, "What day was that? I can't even remember - my days seem to be running into each other." On the other end, my friends could take on a depressed countenance, speaking in dragging tones of how completely boring school is and how they can't remember the last time we hung out together.

This is where we must seek help from spontaneity!

Even if we have no choice but to resume our normal life schedule - the whole darn thing that is keeping us down in the first place! - we must make time to think at the present time, for the sake of giving each and every day roundness. In giving our days shape, we will realize that we are gaining back our memory. With present, snap-decision-making, we can learn to truly have fun in the moment and remember what the heck happened the other day.

So even if the only time you have is driving home from work, think during this commute, all-at-once,"What do I want to do right now?"And don't think any more of it; just do it. If adopting a puppy comes to mind, by golly, do just that. That's probably the exact thing you've been wanting for so long, and probably the thing that will not just add excitement and memory for that particular day, but likely every day for as long as you have that new member of your family. If what you think of at that moment is how much you miss an old friend, go see them.

What got me to reading Malcolm Gladwell's book was the fact that I made this year's resolution (2012) to be as spontaneous as I could be. This led me - on a greater scale - to do crazy things like taking a 14-hour drive to Destin, Florida at the beginning of January, and also taking it upon myself to kiss a guy I'd liked for five months. (Though, in hind-sight, I suppose the latter is not a very good example for the benefits of split-second thinking). But I also realized how much learning I received in these experiences. And besides, let's be honest, had I just stayed here in Missouri over winter break I'd have probably just watched That '70s Show re-runs and read fairy books.

Anyway, the point is that thinking in the present moment is not juvenile thinking. Though it may result in doing seemingly crazy things, to not do them could lead to becoming crazy ourselves. This day-to-day living where we can't tell yesterday from today NEEDS to be interrupted with spontaneity if we want to be truly living.

Let your life be shaped with decisions made as quick as a blink.

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