By Nadine Saad
I honestly believe that achieving goals and building the life you want are pointless - if you can’t enjoy or appreciate them.
Here’s an anecdote you might relate to...
I love Italy. I love the scenery, the architecture, the history, the food, the wine, the language, the countryside, the seaside. The list could go on.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve visited the country a few times over the past decade.
Each time that I went and actually savoured the scenery, food and experiences, I left feeling so fulfilled.
So utterly and completely satisfied.
To this day, I can still smell the scent of lemons all over Capri. I can still taste the pear and Gorgonzola gnocchi I had in Verona.
I was fully present to these experiences. I lapped them up.
But on one particular visit to Italy, I was so distracted by work and so focused on stress, that I struggled to enjoy it.
There I was, on a beautiful island covered in thermal spas. I'm not sure what could possibly have been better for my wellness, but I spent a good chunk of the time feeling worried and unhappy. I was in just the right mood to notice plenty of flaws and get annoyed with every little hiccup.
I left feeling disappointed.
It wasn’t the destination’s fault. Nor was it work’s fault.
I wasn’t present to the beauty and good the island offered. Instead of being in that moment and being in that experience, I was distracted and anxious about issues I could have disconnected from.
I might as well have stayed at home, to be frank. What's the point of having stunning scenery and objects in front of you if your mind is elsewhere, focused on other places, times and situations?
I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the key reasons why some of the richest and most influential people on this planet are also some of the most miserable. And why social media can project such false images of success and happiness.
Of course I believe you should achieve your heart’s desires. Of course I believe you should build the life you deserve. But I believe even more strongly that unless you can truly enjoy and appreciate the good you already have - right where you are, right now - the aforementioned won’t fulfil you.
You’ll be so conditioned to focus on the next shiny bauble, or the next goal post, that you'll miss the chance to enjoy the value of what you've attained. You’ll continue along an endless path of grasping for the next temporary fix.
This is where practicing presence comes into play.
Cultivating in-the-moment presence balances creating what you desire with finding enjoyment in the good that’s already in front of you.
P.S. If this is something you'd like to practice cultivating, I'm hosting a mini online retreat where I'm holding an entire session on being present in the here-and-now.
Full details are available here.