Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.
I remember when I first heard this quote – the very brilliant Jenny Mosley, (Quality Circle Time and The Golden Behaviour Model), was running an inspiring training day for staff at the school where I was deputy-head – yes, it was some years ago now – but it resonated with me big time then, and continues to do so today!
This simple quote guided me a little further on my life-long learning pathway, enabling me to begin to work on how to let go of past mistakes, determine how to truly learn from them and understand that whilst planning and strategising is vital for success, safety, wellbeing, etc., I believe it’s equally important for us to focus on the here and now. Through mindfulness approaches to living, we have learned more recently, that being more actively engaged with the present whenever we can be, supports a keen focus on our behaviours and responses and improves the relationships we have with ourselves and others.
Here’s another quote that supports this approach and has carried me further forward on my life journey …
Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation.
As a result, I continue to grow as a leader and I hope, a better person all round. Because I’m not constantly dwelling on the past or planning for the future, I have more time to focus on the present and am therefore able to listen more actively and engage more deeply. I also do my darnedest to respond, when required, in ‘adult mode’ (TA: Parent, Adult, Child Model, Eric Berne) – which doesn’t necessarily always come naturally to any of us because we are so wired to respond from our alter-ego states. But mindfully not giving what may well have been received as thoughtless, knee-jerk, or defensive reactions, prevents unwanted responses and invites positive ones, which undeniably leads to improved communication and relationships. But believe me, I am still making mistakes and still learning. We all are – each and every day – that’s the nature of humans!
I wake up and reflect on the notion that each day is a gift. Before I go to sleep every night, I give thanks for that day (and that’s not always easy), and for whatever lessons it has brought me. I think, that if we can manage to see each day as an opportunity to use our personal history as another life-lesson rather than dwelling on the mistakes we’ve made in the past, we will surely move steadily forward in the direction of our dreams and goals.
My son lifted my spirits yesterday evening, after I shared a minor disappointment with him. He actually galvanised me into a little self-coaching, and consequently, I am making a few small changes in an area of my life today – thank you, Jacob! Yes, knowing who to call on, who to ask for help, who your support circles/genius groups/coaches and/or mentors are, is an important part of moving forward, growing and changing. I know for sure that I wouldn’t have learned all that I have, achieved all that I have, and be where I am now, if it wasn’t for my own personal ‘genius groups’ who continue to support me through various challenges.
Yes, our ‘yesterday’s history’ can teach us to recognise when and how we need to build a bridge with someone, re-write a document, edit an article, set up that meeting again, revisit that business plan, or change something that makes us feel uncomfortable … but only if we are fully present are we then enabled to do this.
So today, I am happy to challenge myself – learn from my minor disappointment of yesterday, with the help of my genius son coaching me into action, and move on to today – focussing my attention on the gift of the present and all its lessons. I aim to be fully engaged in the gift of today, which has created time and space for me to listen to:
1. my higher self;
2. people I come into contact with;
Oh and this is the hardest one …
3. the people who challenge me the most. Yep, I shall listen to them too – they’re great teachers!
Do feel free to join me!