Last week I held a weekend class to teach business owners how to do waxing and threading services. On the last day of my 3 days course, I had one student who cannot seem to focus at all. She was physically in the room but her mind was elsewhere. A few hours later, she sat down at the corner of the room and stopped paying attention. I asked her what’s bothering her and she said she cannot concentrate because she kept thinking of her problems she had at home.
I think everyone ever faced a similar situation, being physically present but mentally absent. Sometimes, I did that too. After thinking (and doing a lil bit of calculation) on how much loss she had by skipping last day of my class (energy, time and money) I decided to write an article about being physically and mentally present.
Our mind tends to wander thinking about the past and imagining the future until we missed present moment. We end up passing through present moment on the way to somewhere else (either rehearsing the past or anticipating the future). In doing so, that is how life passed by us so fast.
In my opinion, being physically and mentally present is a very important skill that everyone should master (especially entrepreneurs). It gives us a sense of respect for ourselves and others. If we are doing things halfheartedly, we will be wasting our time and energy. We only have 24 hours in a day, the same amount of hours Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, Mother Teresa and Dalai Lama have which means, we actually stand equal chance to create something meaningful if we use our time wisely and do things wholeheartedly!
Due to the struggle my student’s had from her inability to focus on the present moment, I have developed my own practical ways to be physically and mentally present in any given situation. Put in mind, this advice is based on my own experiences so there is no guarantee of success but these are the ways that work best for me.
- Understand and act according to your roles in the situation. When I am at home, I am a daughter to my mother and a big sister to 2 younger sisters. When I am in my workplace, I am a leader to my employees. When I meet my clients, I am a consultant who has the resources to help them solve their problems. If there’s a time I had a big fight with my mother and I need to meet my client anytime soon, I should leave my identity as a daughter behind the door and be all in as a helpful consultant for my client. You need to understand and act according to your roles. There was one time I went for a volunteer to help kids with mental illness and then I was given a task to clean their snot. It was really tough for me cause I never cleaned anyone’s snot before. But since I am already physically present in that building, I told myself I’d better be a so damn good snot cleaner. I leave all my identities behind and act like the best nurse ever.
- Give undivided attention to the person you are with. Last year I met a new friend and when I met him, he was busy replying people’s texts and answering phone calls. I did nothing and still kept my phone inside my bag. Every fifteen minutes of our conversation, his phone will ring and he excused himself to answer the phone. Even though I had 425 unread messages on my phone and I have extremely little interest in pursuing any further relationship with this person, but I know that the most important person right now is the person I am currently with. To cut the story short, he ended up he felt extremely appreciated because I kept my phone inside my bag throughout the entire afternoon and he said he never met anyone who could be so respectful towards him before. By giving undivided attention to the person you are currently with, it trained you to be physically and mentally present.
- Stop multitasking. Women are known to be able to do multitasking and to be honest, I cannot multitask. I had a lot of tasks but I am not capable of answering a phone call while reading a book. I tend to complete a single task with full focus starting from wrapping my products for shipment to evaluating the financial report. If someone asked me for chit-chat while I wrapped my product for shipment, I would end up stop wrapping my product or ignoring the person until I finished my task (even though this task does not involve much usage of brain capacity)
Those are my ways to be physically and mentally present in the moment. To end this post, I would like to give readers understanding that there is no one in this world who is capable of changing the past or predicting the future accurately all the time. You do not have to recall the past as it already happened and the is no way you could change the past. So, thinking about the past will only wasting present moments. You do not have to wait for the future to come as it will come by itself without you waiting.