Illustration by chris-supernerd
We’ve all heard the benefits of writing to-do lists. We’ve heard how effective they can be for getting things done. And frankly, I agree…
But there’s an element within fulfilling goals, that’s far deeper and more profound than to-do lists, and it takes place in no other moment then the one you’re in, right now.
I’m not advocating one should dispense with the to-do list. I am however, emphasizing where your endless list of things that need to get done, actually do get done.
Envision Yourself at Your Best
Think of yourself at your very best, at the top of your game. What enters your mind? Probably, you’re accomplishing myriads of feats, employing good habits and getting things done. But this is only partly true. Look a little deeper and realize, it’s equally as accurate to say your success can be broken down to a single moment.
Just like happiness, productivity is a state; not a destination. Getting to the destination is about what you do now, not what you do later. There is no later.
Lao Tzu says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Traversing those thousand miles is all a process that unfolds in a now moment. Your greatest accomplishments are no greater than the sum of its parts. If you can remember this, you can infuse your present moments with far greater power than if you were to think of accomplishments as things. They aren’t things; they are present moments utilized wisely.
There’s no such thing as a thousand miles traveled. It can be found nowhere in the universe. You could look under every rock and stone, and find it – you never will. A thousand miles traveled is instead a present moment; accomplished in the only place one lives, here and now.
A River Only Focuses On its Current Position
I’ve never seen river water moving along, get distressed over where it needs to be a mile later. Its goal is to reach the ocean. But if you look closely at the water, it’s only focused on its present action, holding no distraction of where it needs to end up. It focuses only on the moment it’s currently involved in.
Amazingly, river water in all its history has always made it to its destination. It does so devoid of ever fretting over areas of the river it hasn’t yet reached. That’s the secret to how river water always ends up making it to the sea. It simply doesn’t think about where it needs to be later; it only thinks about what it must do now. And ultimately, the river finds itself splashing into the ocean.
We can apply the wisdom of the river to anything. Dish washing is a good way to demonstrate this.
If you have a pile of dishes, don’t focus on the pile. While cleaning a dish, don’t get distracted by the others. Why get distracted? More importantly, how will getting distracted assist you with the dish you’re currently working on?
In an interview, Dr. Wayne Dyer said in reference to accomplishments:
“You don’t have to be thinking big about something . . . You just do what you can in this moment. That’s how great things get done, by thinking small rather than thinking big . . . Your relationship to life is really your relationship to the present moment. How good are you at being in this moment and being fulfilled in this moment?”
Similar to an example Dr. Dyer used, if you’re on a diet, it’s not about eating a certain way for 6 weeks; it’s about eating a certain way in the moment you’re in. If you were to reflect on the 6 weeks you committed yourself to – you’d likely get into the pantry and start eating everything in sight.
Getting your act together isn’t about accomplishing fifty million things. It’s about doing one thing, with the proper mindset.
You can be at peace in this moment of doing. Spread your mind over the illusion of all that needs to be done and feel the walls cave in.
Remember, there are no walls and there isn’t a lot to get done. There is only now and your application in this now and not a single thing else.
Illustration by clspeace