To Live For The Moment Or To Live In The Moment, That Is The Question.
There’s a big difference between living for the moment and living in the moment. Knowing the difference will give you a better understanding on how long term professional goals are achieved.
The idea of being present or in the moment in everything you do, a Zen-like concept, is to be able to actually BE in the place or situation where you are at any given time, or to have your mind and your thoughts in that place. To be able to enjoy and appreciate the good and to be able to deal with the challenges and move forward is a key to growth, future happiness and achieving your professional goals.
Living for the moment is different. If you live for the moment, it is easy to compromise your principles, and thereby, your professional goals, for immediate “gain”. What is perceived as a momentary gain is often short lived, and more often than not, will keep you from achieving your professional goals. In other words, as Zig Ziglar said, “The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want the most (in your life) for what you want right now.”
Life is all about making choices. From the time you wake up every day until the time you go to sleep, everything you do is a choice…(OK… possible exception, anything you do on auto-pilot before you have your morning coffee). Most people who don’t achieve their professional goals, don’t achieve them because they are not willing to do some of the things that the achievers are willing to do. Conversely, they are also not willing to NOT do some of the things that the achievers are willing to give up at that moment.
For example, if you are putting in long hours at work or to create a new business then that is what you are willing to do in the present in order to achieve your professional goals. Not using that time to go out drinking and partying is what you are willing to NOT do in order to achieve your professional goals. So when you forgo something that might bring present but short lived happiness, but will not bring you closer to your future professional goals, that is being proactive for your future.
This is not suggesting that you should be a workaholic and never have fun because balance is important. All or nothing, black or white, is rarely a good long-term choice. It does however mean that while you are on the path toward achieving your professional goals, that you should be aware of the cause and effect of your choice of actions.
If you live only for the moment, your professional goals will be compromised because your choices will be consistently motivated by the present. Too much of a present good thing will not leave room for a future good thing. How you create that balance is up to you. Too much time living for the present only, will kill your dreams. But if you are living IN the present, you can enjoy the journey along the way toward achieving all your professional goals.