I’ve been having some great experiences this year in every aspect of my life, from relationships to sports to business. One thing I’ve noticed is the more interesting experiences I have, the more chances there are for detracting from those experiences or otherwise ruining them completely. I find it difficult to live in the moment and maintain the integrity of the present experience because I have so many things going on that encroach on each other.
Here are a couple of examples. When I go to the gym to workout, I will occasionally bring my phone with me and text or even take phone calls from people. I’m sure you’ve seen people who do that! That detracts from the experience of having a great workout, and may even negate some of the benefits of exercising, such as stress relief. My other relationships are now infringing on living in the moment.
If I’m dating around or working several prospects for future dates, I’m constantly running text and Facebook game to progress the relationships. Managing all of this is a huge distraction and sullies the present moment experience, whatever it may be.
Another example, and this is a bad one, is that I’ll actually run text and Facebook game on other girls while I’m on a date with a girl. That’s horrible, because the present moment date should be an exceptional experience, a real highlight. How many people have you seen doing this, texting other people while they’re on a date? There should be some kind of man law against this.
I went on a solo trip recently and explored the West Coast, and what I discovered was that there was no pressure to stay plugged in and connected with my other relationships, be they work or personal, because I was in vacation mode. Thus, my present experiences were purer and memorable. I recall I spent the entire day exploring a SoCal beach town and walking on the beach and I didn’t make a single call, send a text, or think about work. It was awesome.
There are a couple of things I’ve done to preserve my present moment experiences. First, I’m framing time around the experience as a “no contact zone” and I’ll make an honest effort not to communicate with anyone but the folks who I’m present with. If I’m going to play sports, I’ll not use my phone for the 20′ drive there and back, and leave the phone in my car during the play time. I’ll even go so far as to turn off my radio and drive in silence so I can get psyched up.
Taking it a step further, I’ll actually police my thoughts so I’m focused squarely on the experience at hand. I find it unacceptable that I’m thinking about chicks when I’m competing, so I’ll put in a strong effort to shove those thoughts to the background. This has been the biggest difference maker for me in staying in the moment, something I don’t think I was mentally agile enough to compartmentalize my thoughts in this way until recently. Clearing my thoughts and focusing on the competition allows me to perform better and enjoy the experience fully.
Try it and see how it affects your experiences. I’m a big believer that interesting experiences make up the fabric of our lives, so it’s important to live in the moment and soak in our experiences fully. Don’t let the other things you have going on in your life detract from the present moment.
Also, I deleted Facebook and other social media apps from my iPhone. That’s helped a lot.