I woke up this morning to a sunrise of astonishing beauty, so I walked out the front door to experience it. And as I stood in the yard gazing up at the pink, orange and blue sky, my heart sung and ached at the same time.
Instinctively, I wanted to share this breathtaking moment with Angel and Mac, but they were still asleep, and that troubled me. I felt a bit down and incomplete, without being able to share this special moment with them, or with anyone. The most beautiful sunrise I’d ever seen was slipping through my fingers.
I considered running into the house to grab a camera so I could at least show Angel and Mac a photo of the moment that they missed, but I caught myself and took a deep breath.
I then acknowledged that there was something else I needed to do instead: I needed to let this moment be enough, without anything more – without needing the moment to be shared or photographed or uploaded online.
So I gazed back up at the sky, and told myself out loud, “This moment is enough, Marc. This moment is enough just as it is.”
Truly, there was no good reason for me to feel otherwise. And I’m glad I came to my senses.
Of course, I know I’m not alone in this feeling – that the beautiful moments of our lives need to be shared, or photographed, or uploaded online to be complete. It’s half the reason social media is so prevalent in our lives today.
Too often we feel like the good moments of our lives aren’t good enough unless we somehow capture, share, and solidify them as a semi-permanent fixture in our lives.
Or we feel like the moments of our lives just aren’t good enough at all. So we choose to distract ourselves with gadgets and TV shows 24/7 just to stimulate ourselves. It’s like second nature to us – we’re so used to feeling like the present moment isn’t worthy of our full presence!
And this mindset of dissatisfaction and distraction – of reality never being enough for us – trickles into every facet of our lives…
- We are continuously thinking about what’s to come, as if it’s not enough to appreciate what we have right now.
- We sit down to relax for a moment and then immediately feel the urge to read something on our phones, check social media, or text someone, as if relaxing for a moment isn’t enough.
- We procrastinate when it’s time to work, choosing more distractions, as if the process of doing good work isn’t enough for us.
- We get annoyed with people when they fail to live up to our expectations, as if the reality of who they are isn’t enough for us.
- We resist changes in our lives, in our relationships, and in our careers, because the reality feels like it’s not enough.
- We reject situations, people, and even ourselves, because we feel like none of it is enough for us right now.
But what if we accepted this moment, and everything and everyone in it, as exactly enough?
What if we accepted that this moment is slipping away right now, and saw the fleeting time we have within this moment as enough, without needing to share it or capture it or alter it in any way?
Think about it…
This moment is enough.
What if we started acting like it?
7 Mantras for Making the Best of the Present Moment
Like I mentioned above, I often forget to pause and appreciate the present moment for what it is. So I’ve implemented a simple strategy to support the practice of doing so. In a nutshell, I proactively remind myself…
- “This moment is enough.”
- “This situation is enough”
- “These people are enough.”
- “I am enough.”
And anytime I catch myself thinking otherwise, I pause and read the following mantras to myself (I keep them on a folded paper in my wallet). Then I take a deep breath, and bring my focus and appreciation back to the present…
- If you worry too much about what could be, and what might have been, you will ignore and overlook the beauty of what is. Right now is life. Don’t miss it.
- Let go of everything else, and just remind yourself how fortunate you are to be experiencing this moment right here, right now. The more you appreciate it, the better it’ll be. (Angel and I discuss this further in the “Happiness” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Stop rushing. Breathe. Be where you are. You’re where you’re supposed to be at this very moment. Every step and experience is necessary.
- The richest human being isn’t the one who has the most, but the one who needs less to be happy. Wealth is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more in this moment.
- Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being great. And no one is great all the time. Do the best you can until you know better. Once you know better, do better.
- Don’t compare your progress with that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance. Focus on your daily rituals. Focus on the step you are taking right now. That is enough. (Angel and I build tiny, powerful daily rituals with our students in the “Goals & Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
- Be present. There are few joys in life that equal a genuine conversation, a genuine story, a genuine perspective, a genuine laugh, a genuine hug, or a genuine friend, right now.
So let’s revisit a question I presented above:
- What if you accepted this moment, and everything and everyone in it, as exactly enough?
How might doing so change your life?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Also, our next annual Think Better, Live Better conference is taking place February 18-19, 2017. Sign-up here to be notified the moment tickets go on sale tomorrow, and you will also be automatically qualified for a discounted early bird ticket (while they last). Note: you can watch short clips from our 2016 event here, here and here.
M&A, your course and teachings have been an invaluable resource that has allowed me to practice exactly what you’re preaching in this article — letting go of attachments and making the best of the present moment. I’m still an ongoing work in progress, of course, but I can tell you that I used to be a walking, talking basket of stress simply because I had to make everything “perfect” or because I had to be “busy” ever moment of my life.
So I’ll say this: When you embrace the present moment, and everyone and everything in it, you put yourself in the best possible position to make a positive impact, regardless of the specifics.
PS: I’m going to get two tickets to your next live event when they go on sale Tuesday. One for me and one for my best friend. Nothing better than escaping the northeast winter in February to attend a mind-enriching seminar.
I’m looking for info on their event in feb will you please share info. Thanks Jack
Marc Chernoff says
Jack, info and tickets for our Think Better, Live Better 2017 event can be found here: http://thinklivebetter.com 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you in February.
Love when you posts pop into my inbox and news feed right when I’m looking for something good to read! 🙂
To answer your question: If I practiced more acceptance in my life, I’d have a lot less to worry about.
I’ve been gradually coming to terms with the fact that I’m a worrier. Instead of making the best of the moment I’m in, I’m always worrying about the next moment, or something happening some other time and place. This post reminds to to pause and practice presence, which I have been doing more often lately.
Thank you for another enlightening read.
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
Very good! I agree.
Paula Dawson says
Excellent read, as per usual on your blog!
If and when I embrace the moments of my life without conditions, I am my happiest and most effective self.
To quote your 1000 things book:
“The best present you can give someone is the purity of your full attention. Just be present with them, and pay attention to the little things.
And remember, that ‘someone’ can be YOU too.”
As always a great, insightful post! I look forward to our meeting you two in February 2017. I know it’s gonna be an awesome event! Peace&Blessings
Barbara DeJong says
Thank you for another uplifting blog. Funny thing is, I do not know how to be present. If seems just as I think I’m appreciating my life for what it is, something or someone, cut me down to the core. Sending me into a spiral of depression and self loathing. I realize I should not let people get to me, but I’m a single Mom, with no one to turn to.
Anyway, thank you again.
ayesha sheikh says
This is just beautiful in every possible way, enabling us to understand the subtle details which we mostly ignore
I remember one year we went to Walt Disneyworld. I must have taken 300 pictures to capture every great moment. But when I got home I realized I hadn’t really lived the trip – I was always behind the lense.
Let that be a lesson to us all!!
Lisa, it’s so funny to read that. I had a similar experience in Disney World. I took tons of pictures. The next time we went, I mostly left the camera behind and I enjoyed the trip so much more.
What a perfect piece of writing. I cannot tell you guys what a difference you have made to my ways of thinking, and therefore to the quality of my life. You deserve every happiness and success for yourselves.
I feel that I can totally relate to this post. You are absolutely right. That’s exactly what brought me to practice mindful meditation and sand mandala #sandmandala
When I do it it reminds me of your mantras: this moment is enough. Also remind me to not compare my moment to others. And not fall in the ego game.
You can find more about this at Kaizentree.com
Thank you for sharing
In a society that is based on unending, mindless consumption to say “Enough” is a radical and revolutionary thought and statement. I’m glad you’re saying “Enough,” and are encouraging others to do the same!
CAROLYNE CHEGE says
My life would be so much easier and more peaceful if i could live moment by moment, day by day.
I’m making every effort to do that, some days are easier, some not so much, but i’m making progress.
Sharada Sarjane says
This is amazing
Hello, once again!
I really enjoyed this one, since I can relate to it. I have to quick story to share. It is about being present and enjoying the moment.
When I hadn’t realize that filming and taking pictures of everything isn’t the right way to truly enjoy life, I went to a Katy Perry concert. I filmed a little bit of almost every song with a phone (the quality of course was awful). And when Katy sang her lost song of the concert – Firework, I was trying to keep my phone straight and looking in the little screen, when it suddenly stopped working. While trying to fix my phone I missed the very end of the show – I missed the colorful explosion which cocluded the show. I was very dissapointed in myself. And since then I try to really enjoy the moment, not only concerts, but any other event. Of course, taking pictures on someone’s birthday or Holidays won’t do any harm – on the opposite – some pictures are just nice to have, look at them after some time and remember the good old days.
But sometimes it is very healthy to just leave your phone and social networks behind and just enjoy little moments, which you can always rewind in your memory! 🙂
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
So, reading this post this morning gave me a chance to say, “This moment of peace, reading this message, is enough in this moment.” I would normally be downloading work from my office or running a process for work while I’m reading my personal emails. But today, half-way through this post (that I followed from my email), I stopped doing all the other work and just enjoyed a couple minutes of quiet reading, and I really absobed the message. Thank you.
If I could do that I’d finally have what the meds don’t seem to give me.
Just my Opinion says
Melissa~ You CAN do it. But first, you have to stop telling yourself that you can’t.
Wow this was completely perfect today! I have spent the last 7 years doing school full time, work full time, raising kids and now that I have graduated I keep thinking I should be doing more. I am not happy in my new job because it is boring but my fiancé and a friend both said maybe I just need to enjoy the downtime right now? And your post solidifies that I just need to be present right where I am. I love it! Thank u!
Patricia. Shark says
I am so glad to receive this information it makes everything feel right despite what went wrong . Like today is a good day to go back to being happy and not to worry or be sad.
This is so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes…especially when Marc was describing the sunrise.
I totally agree with you, Marc, about us wanting to share everything with everyone. I have never understood that inclination. We often miss fully experiencing and embracing so many amazing and beautiful moments because we’re too busy looking for shares, likes, faves, etc. Nothing is wrong with sharing things we find beautiful or uplifting. Personally, I love to share articles I find stimulating, jokes that might lift someone’s spirits, or photos/artwork that I find exceptionally beautiful. However, I don’t find myself wanting to post something every moment of every day, or even on a daily basis. I’ll sometimes go for weeks without getting on social media.
If we let it, it can take up too much of our precious time and life. I’d much rather spend that time reading, revelling in the glory of nature, or doing something fun with family and friends. These are the things that I find the most fulfilling.
Taking each moment as enough would increase my humility and gratitude for what I do have (instead of stressing about what I want). It would keep my mind at attention of what’s in front of me instead of drifting off to what may never come to pass.
Thanks for this reminder.
Dave M. says
What I have encountered so far on this very interesting journey called “Life” is »»» Acceptance is the answer to almost all my problems.
I have spent a lot of time in useless pursuit of control, trying to plan, predict and prevent some possible future pain. In not choosing to believe and accept that this moment is enough, I miss out on the very feelings I’m trying to “protect” by not being in this moment (love, happiness, certainty, significance, etc.) and end up experiencing the very feelings I’m trying to “prevent” (anger, disappointment, disconnection, etc.).
Thank you Marc and Angel. Your articles, blogs, videos have really helped me become aware of how much time I spend trying to plan, predict, and prevent the worst from happening, and how in doing so I miss out on the gifts, the blessings, happening right now. 99.9% of the stuff I obsess about never even happens (saying that I think I took that as proof that all my worrying was actually working! 🙂 ).
Marc – I love this – again your emails seem to come into my inbox at just the right time – the universe must be listening – I spend a day yesterday all by myself doing some great things but feeling very lonely – looking around seeing couples, families groups of friends having a great time and being by myself.
If I had read this before hand I would now on reflection have seen the joy in just being in the moment – with myself by myself and not needing to share it.
Next time I will take this thought and your mantras with me
As a mom of 3 who loves photography, and capturing priceless moment I have some insight painfully gained after the kids have launched and are in their 20’s!
PARENTS remember to participate in the ALL the precious moments of your children’s lives totally BEFORE stepping back to take photos.
(And this is even more crucial now with all the social medial , photo phone and life gimmicks t keep us online and “posting” our lives away!
In looking over 20 years of my children’s history in photos, I’m in hardly any!
They even say, “Mom, were you even on that trip”? Lots of group photos, family photos ……….with mom behind the lens ( hours of videos or 10,000 stills). only.
A very sad reflection of my lack of awareness , my busyness and preoccupation with observing the moments but not being in the moments and engaging with the gift of gratitude.
One cannot photoshop on back into memories that will last a lifetime.
Isiiko Aggrey says
Worries always deprive us of our happiness. The moment to be happy is now, we cannot anticipate for a good tomorrow and yet we are not satisfied with today. We ought to live our lives to the best….being resourceful to those around us. Looking at what happened long time ago, or what is to happen in the future is very useless, now is the only time.
adele barron says
Always love your blogs, Marc. And, they always seem to come at the right time! Thank you again, for the inspiration and good common sense you always reflect and pass on to us, your readers and fans. PLEASE PROVIDE DETAILS FOR THE FEBRUARY EVENT – LOCATION, DATES, ETC. Would love to attend if on the South/West part of country. Thanks again.
Marc Chernoff says
Adele, info and tickets for our Think Better, Live Better 2017 event can be found here: http://thinklivebetter.com 🙂 We hope to see you in February.
Mary Spiegel says
I get what you are saying, but I am in thr midst of being a house mother for 5 teenage boys from foreign countries who are here to. Get an education at a local high school. They have needs that I need to help feed so we can be content where we are. So they like meat and potatoes but the school doesnt provide them. They are happy with that. I need to be content and patient with them as I too want meat and potatoes. The world made things complicated. We need to uncomplicate it and be up early enough to see the sunrise to start our day. Amen
I remember when my first Spiritual counsellor asked, “How much time to you spend “with’ your self, Trenton?”
I said, “I’m always by my self, I prefer to be by myself.”
She reminded me, “Being ‘with’ yourself is not the same as being ‘by’ myself.”
Be Here Now, Be Love Now, Be Peace Now.
Reality, it’s the only time I can Be. Everything else is an illusion.
Robert Bowley says
Being truly present and discovering the joy in every moment is a gift. It is a gift not just for yourself but one that we can share with everyone around us. Thanks for a great reminder.
To answer the question… Contentment would be the result of acceptance of everything and All. And isn’t it funny, even with the possibility of contentment, we can’t get our minds present and accepting… working at it all the time.