“…Making plans for the future is of use only to people who are capable of living completely in the present.”

-Alan Watts

I’m a big planner. I’m always looking at the horizon and thinking about what I need to do next. It’s a mindset that has helped me in a lot of ways, but also becomes a hinderance on my ability to enjoy the present.

We’re told to plan because it’s the responsible thing to do. As humans, it is somewhat unique to our nature to be able to envision what a future might look like. Most other animals are forced to live in the present, as they don’t think about days, months, or years later. This ability allows us to do great things, but it can come at the price of peace in the present.

What’s Next?

Have you ever caught yourself stuck in what’s next? The weekend. The new product. The next vacation.

On a larger life scale, I catch myself doing this all the time. I convince myself that we are not quite living the life we want now, but at the next stage we will. At first it was graduating college. Then it was getting married. Then it was having a kid. Then it was buying a house. Now it’s building up financial assets.

I catch myself continually saying “Once I get the next stage, life will be great!” The problem is that at each “next” stage of life, I’m already planning for the stage that will follow.

Building a Future Present

Instead of looking forward to what’s next, your goal should be to build a better “Future Present”.

This starts with learning how to live in the current present. Appreciate every moment that you have, and find gratitude in each situation.

When you start to frame your present life as a culmination of the past work you have done, you quickly start to see the future not as something to look forward to, but something to be grateful for. Planning will then enable you to better enjoy the present, and not lust after the future.

Learn how to build a better future, by living in the present.

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