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

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Busi­nessin­sider.in

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.

Pics: Getty Im­ages, AFP

Kim Kar­dashian

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