Your time starts ‘now’
Obsessing over a perfect life distracts us from appreciating our days as they actually are. Live in the moment, say experts
We often try to mould our lives by creating five-year plans or devising perfect morning routines. Essayist Charles Chu wrote in The Polymath Project that we should move away from the concept that we can create a perfect life. His former idea of a perfect life was recognisable to anyone who has been 22 and idealistic. Travel the world. Become a millionaire entrepreneur. Universally charm the opposite sex before marrying a PhD who equally adores literature and math. It was his ‘Eight-Year Plan’, and the answer to his present dissatisfaction and social isolation. In his piece, Chu outlines why that plan was so misguided — and why he ultimately scrapped all of it. Chu wrote, “Life is always more out of our control than we would like it to be.” It’s rarely possible to succeed at aligning real life with a 5 am wakeup, meditation, and exercise session. Plenty of folks are moving away from obsessing over the perfect morning routine or life plan. Productivity and time management expert Laura Vanderkam doesn’t have a morning routine, for instance. Vanderkam does keep a journal and exercises each day, but rarely at the same time. Part of the reason: People get so caught up in having the perfect routine that, if they miss even a small part of it, they’ll just give up on the whole plan. Focusing on building the perfect life can detract from the beauty of today. Instead of obsessing over the perfect life, we should appreciate the present as it is. A truly perfect life is something that can only exist in imagination. By obsessing over something that can’t exist, we miss out on what we could enjoy today. The current productivity ethos of designing our been deaf enough for many years to know the worst, and my deafness has not been a handicap but a help to me.” Albert Einstein was not just a genius physicist but also a master violinist. His bri l l i ance may be l i nked to the fact that both his brain hemispheres were well- connected, according to a study. The ability to use the right ideal selves through crushing morning routines and lofty plans doesn’t help us appreciate the current moment we are living in. “The perfect life is always just around the corner but, if you stop for long enough and breathe, you may find that the minimally- decent life is here already, just under your feet,” Chu wrote. Focusing on the present is a skill that can be cultivated. Happiness is predicated on being aware and it’s important to start training that muscle.