Mindfulness: Past, present and future
Welcome to the show everyone, thanks for joining me!
Todays date is _April 1st_, 2019
We are on episode #_8__ of the Tasty Dangerous Podcast.
Todays episode we’re discussing the notion of “Past, Present and Future”.
The quote of the day and one that I think of often is from Buddha and goes like this.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
The significance of this quote is one that could do many folks well.
It seems that many of the people I’ve met along the way who aren’t happy with their current situation is because they’re either living in the past or dreaming of a future that’s beyond distant.
Now don’t take this the wrong way.
Dreams in and of themself aren’t bad.
They give us some of the motivation it takes to push forward when times are tough.
Yet, like I’ve mentioned a number of times in my blog and podcast, a dream without a plan never becomes more than a wish.
I’ll come back to dreaming of the future in a moment, but first let’s back up and chat briefly about the past.
The past isn’t something to avoid whether bad or good.
It’s what makes us who we are and builds the character of our actions.
The trials and tribulations that we survive are what gives us the armor and tools needed to continue to move forward through adversity.
The beautiful moments of introspect, humility and accomplishment develop our sense of being as well.
However, it’s dwelling on the past that can become the weakness in the armor.
A double edged sword as some would say.
Use it to your advantage or allow it to destroy you.
The interesting thing about our past is that even the good memories can debilitate us moving forward if we dwell on them.
Take for example the stereotypical high school jock that was the star athlete.
This is a character that’s often portrayed in movies because it’s something many can relate to.
There have been a number of occasions in my own life where I’ve met someone who’s major life accomplishments they discuss where those from high school or college.
The accomplishments that where the pinnacle of their existence.
It’s as if they’re in conflict with themselves in that they were a star at one point in their life and became content.
From that point on they no longer made any major life achievement in their own eyes and so they lean heavily on their past accomplishments.
It’s these past accomplishments that are the ball and chain.
The weight that pulls otherwise ambitious people below the surface only to drown out their own potential.
You’re either making it or you aren’t, there is no made it.
The moment you believe you’ve made it is the moment you become the high school jock that continues to relive their glory days as an adult.
The moment you stop developing and growing and instead become stagnant and stale.
This might sound a bit forward and blunt to many of you, but maybe it’s the truth you need to hear.
Maybe it’s the motivation of calling you out on your excuses that’s needed.
It’s really easy to make the excuse as to why something isn’t possible.
That’s why so many rely heavily on excuses.
The difficulty comes in pushing through the constant friction and advancing through the un-known.
The uncomfortable uncertainty that shakes you to the core.
So the past. For better or worse can hold you back or pull you under.
Sure, remember where you came from.
Acknowledge your past and the fact it will always be a part of who you are.
Yet, if you allow it… this history can be the sandbag that weighs you down and prevents you from reaching your true potential.
Something I struggle with regularly is the content I create as a videographer and creative.
Every time I create a great video or work of art I get a bit unnerved.
I struggle with the idea that I’m unsure how I’ll excel beyond the current level of creativity for my next project.
When I finish a project I find myself digging into it and considering all the decisions I made along the way.
I recount all the problems that required solving and the countless efforts that went into the product that will go unnoticed by those not familiar.
It’s these aspects that I think about every time and wonder what’s next.
The uncertainty of what’s next isn’t so much an inhibitor for me though as it is a motivator.
However, the uncertainty of achieving a higher level of accomplishment, in some respects, keeps me up at night.
As much as I’d like to say I crave failure, I can’t say that this is 100% true.
I know it’s necessary and try to share this sentiment with my readers and listeners, but if I’m to be totally forward, it’s something that I struggle with regularly on my own journey.
There’s a certain feeling of accomplishment that comes with achieving something through uncertainty and adversity.
However, there is an equal and similarly negative feeling that comes with attempting something and failing to achieve satisfaction.
This feeling that comes with failure is one that I’m slowly learning to adapt to and understand.
I’m approaching it as more of a learning experience than a failure, but this is proving to be a slow evolution of thought.
The benefit I have going for myself is that I’m about as far from risk adverse as possible.
This isn’t necessarily a good thing in some instances.
However, in terms of building my business and personal development, it’s been working.
Let’s jump forward a bit now and look at dreams of the future.
Dreams in and of themselves are great.
A dream gives us something to aspire to.
However, if we don’t take the next step, i.e. setting a date and building a plan, then the dream will never develop into anything more than a thought.
Dwelling on a dream allows us to sit back and pretend like it’s something we will eventually get around to.
How often have you been in a conversation in the last month… or even the last week, where someone has discussed something they’re planning to do.
Something they aspire to and yet for as long as they’ve talked about it they haven’t shown a real attempt at achieving that goal.
No sacrifice to make it a reality.
Don’t be that person.
Let your actions speak.
The product of your labor.
There have been numerous studies done that show when you talk about something, you’re aspiring to do, it gives you a sense of accomplishment as if you’ve achieved it.
The studies illustrate that by announcing your goals you are statistically less likely to achieve them.
In some instances I’ve announced my ambitions with the intent of holding myself accountable.
This has worked and given me a bit of added motivation through accountability to push onward during difficult times.
However, it tends to also add a new level of stress.
If I fail to meet the goal I’ve set and announced to the world then in some ways it makes it worse than if I hadn’t said anything to anyone.
In many ways this has shown me the idea of announcing my goals as a means of accountability isn’t something that’s wise.
Rather just grind and do what it is I’m aspiring to and let my work speak for itself.
I’m gonna share a quick story. It’s something that’s happened as recently as the same week as the recording of this podcast.
For those of you who follow along in some capacity on one or many of my social media accounts you already know I’ve recently hit the road on a bit of an adventure.
For those you not already aware, I’m currently in Thailand…again…. for a bit prior to heading into India.
A great place to chill and get my head space right prior to the second part of the adventure.
When I left corporate two years ago I made it a goal to travel a few months of every year.
The two weeks that are traditional for corporate warriors just wasn’t enough for me.
This was one of the many weighted items that helped me determine it was necessary for my own happiness to exit the corporate lifestyle.
It works for many just not for me.
Going into this adventure I knew it would present a number of problem solving opportunities.
Specifically in terms of what I’m attempting with Tasty Dangerous.
I’ve made it a point to make regular daily uploads to my Instagram account as well as weekly blog and podcast uploads.
I had intended to have a small stockpile of content prior to leaving the states, but this just didn’t happen.
Between juggling the priorities with my primary business, Optic Ninja Media, I wasn’t able to get the amount of content developed that I wanted.
So when I hit the ground in Thailand I was 12 hours jet lagged and trying to get my bearings.
Shout out Donald Rumsfeld for the intriguing if not controversial statement that follows and one I will paraphrase.
“There are the known knowns, the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns.”
Say that 10 times fast.
I appreciate this thought process and what it illustrates.
This being that we can have a plan A and a plan B and play the “what if” game to develop as many plans as necessary, but in the end… there will likely always be some unknown unknowns we just can’t plan for.
Case in point
I had anticipated wifi at the rental space, but there was an unforeseen issue that prevented usage for a few days.
On top of that I didn’t grab a sim card when leaving the airport… sleeps deprivation maybe… idk… and didn’t get set up with a transportation initially.
The following few days my sleep was sporadic and the wifi became a bit of a mission to find.
I got to a point that I had to step back and reevaluate what the bigger objective was for this trip.
Although I’m motivated to create and publish content for the masses.
A big aspect of this Tasty Dangerous adventure is for my own personal development.
Daily reminders of mindset, problem solving, self awareness and personal development.
It took all of about 24 hours in country and I can say with certainty I’ve had opportunities to experience each of these components already.
So think back to what I mentioned about announcing plans.
I was super stressed with the idea of failing in front of my audience… you people.
I had thought that going into this Tasty Dangerous adventure it would be beneficial to have that daily upload announcement looming over me as fuel to my fire.
It turned into more of gas fire that spread rapidly and one I had to extinguish mentally.
I think I was still able to maintain some resemblance of a daily upload, but the traditional scheduling I had planned was lost and that bothered me a bit.
However, the entire experience was great for me and once again humbling.
It’s actually quite the Tasty Dangerous example of experiencing something out of my comfort zone and a lesson learned in a number of ways.
Maintain a positive mindset, keep problem solving and eventually you’ll weather the storm.
In some ways the series of events that unrolled on my arrival was better than had everything gone to plan A… or B.
Something that’s been eluded too already.
Being present in the now.
A curious thought is how many of those who are listeners or engage in other areas of Tasty Dangerous have tried meditation.
I won’t go too deep into this, but I will share briefly a unique experience and one that many of you who’ve never tried meditation can have yourself.
The first time I was ever introduced to meditation I was skeptical and had a number of preconceived notions on the practice.
Namely the belief I needed to be burning incense, smell like patchouli and have dreads in order to participate.
Stereotypes… they can be damaging.
However, after a single session I realized its importance.
In only 10-15 minutes you can have an interesting experience of your own and I’ll share quickly what this experience is and how you too can achieve it.
First, the fundamental experience itself is simply being fully aware of your body and thoughts.
The interesting thing that happened for me was that when I started the routine I quickly realized how how far from self awareness I was.
The persons that was walking me though this session started by instructing everyone to take up a neutral seating position.
This can mean a number of things, in a chair feet flat, shoulders back chin tucked and palms up on knees…
Or maybe you’re on the floor seated on a pillow, cross legged and similar shoulder, chin and hands position.
Anyone unsure can use the internet and go from there, but alas this isn’t so much meant to be a mediation exercise as a short story into my own experience in being present in the now
What they then instructed was to focus solely on the center of my chest and to only be aware of the raising and lowering during breathing.
Mindfulness of my own breaths… lesson one. My breathing cycle needed adjusting.
They also identified the need to defeat any incoming thoughts that weren’t specific to this breathing exercise.
Lesson two… my mind is like a lightning storm of thoughts and idea crashing around and striking randomly.
Quieting this noise can be a bit of a task at first, but well worth it.
Once we spent some time just finding our space and managing it they suggested transitioning our focus from our breathing to the muscles in our feet and moving upwards to new muscle groups once each group was relaxed.
Lesson three… I can be tense.
As I moved my focus from my feet to my calves to my thighs and so on… I realized I was a ball of tension ready to spring into action… and would benefit from a bit more meditation.
By the end of the short session I had a somewhat of otherworldly experience.
I’m not talking astral projections or out of body anything, but what I am suggesting is a sense of being that was like nothing I had until that point.
For those of you who’ve never tried meditation… I challenge you.
Find some sounds of meditation online and do what I just mentioned.
Walk through the breathing and thought exercise then once you’ve got a pretty good grasp of this… move to the muscle awareness exercise.
It can be a significant experience and one I think many folks could benefit from.
So…. the present.
Using the meditation practice as an example.
I would d be totally unaware of changes I could make in the present to improve my current state of being if instead I was focused on the past and future.
The past can’t be changed.
The future is what happens based on your actions in the present.
Be here now.
Funny, the statement “Be here now” was one being pushed by an internal initiative while I was in corporate.
It was mindfulness training that was being instilled in the company.
A great attempt at getting people to recognize their actions and thoughts during the day to hopefully increase productivity and moral amongst employees.
Though thinking about it now I get why that would have been an initiative that was being pushed.
A year later the company I was in sold off a large chink and pushed roughly 26,000 people out of the company.
Layoffs, reorgs and general bottomline goal setting.
No hate, in fact props to a company for taking the initiative to prepare their workforce for a major upheaval.
I’ll leave this idea of perceived security for another podcast and leave this episode on a different note.
For those of you who actually made it through this podcast I challenge you.
Take 30 minutes of your day.
Late evening, early morning… or in your car on a lunch break.
Find the chill type of sounds that are widely available online for meditation and actually try what I discussed.
If only one of you has the realization I did then this episode was entirely worth it.
Be focused, be aware, be alive.
Self awareness…. it’s a beautiful thing.
Well that does it folks, I hope you enjoyed todays episode and feel like you got something out of it.
Be sure to hit up tastydangerous.comfor the show notes.
While you’re there, check out the blog section.
I’ve got a lot planned moving forward and it would be great to hear your feedback.
Also, hit up Tasty Dangerous on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (YouTube) by searching @TastyDangerous, all one word.
My intention is to engage with my listeners and create content specifically based on their input.
So if you have something you’d like me to speak on or write about, let me know!
Also, if you’re a fellow creator, let’s connect! It would be great to see how I could help you out.
Until next time….
Keep living that Tasty Dangerous Lifestyle!
***Tasty Dangerous…. Lifestyle Development focused on Mindset, Creativity, Adventure and Business.
All things tasty, some more dangerous than others.