Life is a constant tug and pull in your brain between living in the moment and working for the future. Instant vs. Delayed gratification.
If you’ve ever been on vacation checking e-mail and making phone calls, you know exactly what it’s like to not be able to “switch off”.
If you spend every moment of every day living in the present, you won’t end up anywhere you want to go. Your dreams, which require planning, discipline, and conviction will be left unaccomplished for the simple, easy high of present hedonism.
If you spend every moment of every day living in the future, grinding, planning, and in the clouds, you’re going to miss out on a lot of little things and a few big things that ultimately bring happiness. Your relationships are going to suffer and you end up on a treadmill of goal setting — which is great and will bring you accomplishment… but will it make you happy?
It’s impossible to do both at the same time, so how do you balance them?
The easy answer is… you don’t.
I always felt stressed and anxious on vacation — whether I be with family, friends, girlfriend, classmates… I always wished I was back at home working on my goals. Every minute away from my most important life task felt like a waste of time.
Unfortunately if you want to maintain any kind of relationships with people, you won’t get very far blowing them off to work.
It’s difficult, but easier if you’re conscious about it and make an effort. If you are with people worth spending time with, stop worrying about that thing not getting done and focus on the people around you. Build up your relationships with them, have fun, be silly and stupid.
Balance is not the point. The point is to go all in on one attitude at a time. When you’re at work, be 100% there, 100% focused, and 100% planning your long term conquests. But when you’re on vacation with your wife and kids, take that week and be 100% about creating memories and being there in the moment with them.
I’m only 25 so I don’t have a whole lot of life experience to back this up, but I bet if you were to ask people in a retirement home about their regrets, they would regret the relationships they left to wilt, not the clients they missed calls from.
So if you’re a workaholic — try switching off when you’re around people you care about. They will notice a difference!