Qui-Gon Jinn: “Don’t center on your anxieties, Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs.“
Obi-Wan Kenobi: “But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future.“
Qui-Gon Jinn: “But not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living Force, young Padawan.“
The above is an interchange between Qui-Gon Jin and Obi-Wan Kenobi, from the movie The Phantom Menace, and was pointed out to me be my friend Lisa. Thank you Lisa.
What this exchange is saying is, be mindful of the future, but not at the expense of the moment.
Cool, Mike. That’ll look great on a bumper sticker, but what about fitness stuffs?
When someone starts working with me, they almost always have some long-term goals.
“I want to lose 20 pounds.”
“I want to wear size X pants.”
They know where they want to get in the long run. That’s great. Having a clear picture of what you want in the future helps you know where you’re heading.
The above quote gives us an idea of when being future-oriented can become problematic…when your focus on the long-term keeps you from being present in the current moment.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone dismissing their daily efforts because they haven’t yet reached their goal.
Maybe they’ve made habits of eating three vegetables and two fruits a day, exercising on a regular basis, and have improved the quality of their sleep. But none of that matters because the long-term goal hasn’t been reached.
They’re not just being mindful of the future, they are living there and dismissing the present.
When you have a long-term goal, you have two options.
First you can put all your chips in the future. Literally go all-in on that future accomplishment or achievement and spend your days wishing, waiting and hoping for it to come.
This is what being mindful of the future at the expense of the moment looks like.
Your second option is to keep that long-term goal out in front of you, but put all of your energy into the present moment, by developing habits and behaviors that will lead you to the goal.
This is what being mindful of the future, but being present in the moment looks like.
Long-term goals are great. But if they pull you from the present, and cause you to dismiss each little step that brings you closer to them, those long-term goals might actually be the biggest thing holding you back.