Think Simple Now — a moment of clarity

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Stop Chasing & Start Living

Photo by Kai Z Feng for Numéro magazine

The day I got the news that I had won the good mood blogger contest, felt like winning the lottery. Two months of built-up excitement, anxiety, and hard-earned daily marketing efforts had finally come to an end.

I remember the moment it happened, I felt a sense of relief and elation wash over my body, and I finally took a deep breath—for the first time in a few months, it seemed.

That same day, just a few hours later, I was running around doing last minute preparations for Ryan’s birthday party, and dealing with other personal drama. Suffice it to say that I was no longer in this bubble of joy and elation.

Even with over two months of built up anticipation and hard work, in a matter of hours, my mind was already racing for the next moment, seeking some other problem to hold on to.

By the time the next day rolled around, I was feeling normal again—as if nothing particular had happened recently.

This observation brought up an interesting point: We live our lives jumping from event to event; constantly chasing the next moment.

We work tirelessly, day and night, over some goal. And when the goal is reached or comes to a particular happy ending, we experience joy for a very short amount of time, before moving on to chase the next thing—that next goal.

The experience of an event is never quite the same as the image anticipated in our imagination, and the joy we actually experience never lasts as long as we originally thought.

In other words, what we imagine and anticipate in advance, always seems better and sweeter then when we actually experience it in reality. It’s never quite the same.

Many of us will try to cover our disappointment, caused by the clash between that which we’ve anticipated and that of reality, with some logical explanation. We might try to hide it, by pretending, or by seeking some other goal to chase after, so we don’t have to deal with the silent disappointment from this moment.

On some level, perhaps you can relate to what I’m saying. Here are some examples of where I’ve seen this show up:

  • Spending a fortune on a wedding. Months of planning and anxiety all leads up to one simple day consisting of a few nerve-racking hours. Many brides and grooms can probably recall being exhausted, not relaxing, or not having eaten anything all day. The day rushes by and you don’t remember enjoying yourself.
  • Working your butt off to create a business. When the business reaches a particular goal, even though you felt temporarily elation, once the excitement wears off, you’re left feeling a little empty.
  • Spending 4 years in school so you can get a dream job. And then you get the job. Once you get the job, it’s not quite as sweet as you imagined.
  • Wanting badly to be with someone romantically and then finally “getting” them. The reality isn’t the fairy tale you had imagined.
  • Wanting a physical possession and finally gathering enough resources to acquire it, and then taking it for granted once we acquire it. Examples: house, gadget, car, clothing.
  • Dreaming about traveling to some destination, and finally making a trip to that place. It’s never quite the same image as the one crafted by our imagination prior to the trip.

Recall the last time you worked hard towards the achievement of a goal or had much anticipation towards a desired ending. When the goal was met, when the desires were fulfilled, how long did the excitement last before you moved on to another target?

… a day? Maybe a few hours? Not very long right?

This is the power of our mind. This is our unbound, never-ending chase towards the next desire.

I’ve once heard a clever quote by Sri Ramana Maharishi that said: “As long as you desire something, its like getting a mountain; the minute you get it, it becomes a mustard seed!” Isn’t that so true?

And so, here we are, reminded once again to be present.

We are reminded once again to enjoy the fullness of this moment, regardless of what we are doing.

It is through the focused attention of doing in the now, where lasting happiness lies. The goal itself is just a superficial target, disguised as the source of happiness.

What goals are you striving towards right now? What desires do you have? Take a moment to reflect. Take a moment to consciously see that even if you’ve reached that desired accomplishment, it may not bring the kinds of lasting fulfillment that you might be seeking.

So, remember to slow down in your race towards the next moment. Start living in this moment.

This moment is just as important as the next. It is up to us to choose to fully experience the now, and in doing so experience lasting Joy. As Scott Dinsmore said, “Happiness not spent today does not equal more happiness tomorrow.

Regardless of what you are doing today, remember to enjoy the doing of it. It is in these seemingly insignificant moments that Life happens. And if we don’t take advantage of these moments, life will happen anyway… without our awareness of it.

For today, remember to live a little, or to live A LOT!

Try your best to fully embrace the gift of life. Do something simple, but doing so in a magnificent way.

Take a few minutes to fully enjoy a cup of coffee or a cool glass of water. Get up from your desk and stretch out your body, and take some deep breaths. Go for a walk, enjoy the fresh air, and notice all the wonderful details along the street. Write your thoughts down in a journal. Go grocery shopping, and notice how blessed we are to have so much variety to choose from.

Simple.

Live Simply. Think Simply. Think Simple Now. :)

Have a conscious day! Remember to slow down and receive the gift that only this moment can give.

I love you. Talk to you soon!
Tina

P.S. My posts on the good mood blog is currently up, and they are posting something everyday here. Come on by and say hello. :)

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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24 thoughts on Stop Chasing & Start Living

  1. Hi Tina,

    I agree with you. Our perception of events is often different from reality. The danger here is becoming too attached to an event and its outcome and being dependent on it for our happiness and joy. Instead, we should try not to let events bother us too greatly. A little detachment and the ability to go with the flow, does us wonders when it comes to managing change in life.

    In the meantime, we should live in the present as you suggest. We should take time to enjoy what we have, to be grateful for our loved ones and to savour the little moments in our lives. These are the things that make life worth living.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

  2. Rachel

    This is very beautiful and so true. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! Brilliantly written – as always! As a mom of three young kids – I need more than anything to live in the moment and soak in everything I can with them, as I know it won’t last forever. Thank you!

  4. Jessie

    Hi Tina, I wonder if you’ve heard of a book by Tal Ben-Shahar, “Happier”? Sounds like the goal-oriented mindset many of us live is basically the “rat-racer” lifestyle which he describes. Instead, Tal argues that happiness is the most important goal – living a meaningful and enjoyable life – and that happy people enjoy their lives while aiming for goals. Great read, I highly recommend it :)

  5. Great article and firstly Tina a BIG HUGE congratulations on your win. I would have picked you.

    Some years ago people around me told me to learn to ‘enjoy the journey’.

    I wasn’t.

    I was dragging my heels all the way.

    But as success continued to elude me I noticed that my children weren’t getting any younger. In my pursuit for success I was missing out on their ‘growing up’ years.

    So I remember the day that I talked to myself sternly and demanded that I should now enjoy the journey with my family.

    That’s when success started to really kick in and my children came along for the ride.

    Since then I have had the privilege of being in business with all my three children and am now acting as not only their dad but as their personal business coach…..all of us enjoying the journey TOGETHER.

  6. I’m pretty good at living in the moment and enjoying the journey, except for the Christmas holidays. That particular time of what should be joy, makes me crazy. And, I always feel like it doesn’t live up to what I imagine it should be. I really do need to settle down and focus on the individual moments, rather than what the picture in my mind says it should be. It’s hard though, because it feels like so much pressure to make this big production. This year has to change though- I don’t think I can handle another one like 2010.

  7. anonymous

    i agree..enjoying the moment is really imp.

  8. Great article. Yesterday, I posted on my Facebook that we should start living for today because we only have one today in our lives. I received a lot of likes which I found funny because I just was writing something witty. Then I really started to think about it.

    We do have only one today to really enjoy. I get so caught up about the future and my worries that I really lose sight of the day. This article hit home for me and I want to thank you for reminding me to slow down and enjoy the day.

    thank you :)

  9. Joseph Ch'ng

    Hi Tina,

    This article truly rings a bell to what I have been thinking lately.

    I realized that often in my chase for more self-improvements, I have often looked forward to the better me, and not appreciating the me in the present moment.

    I tended to look at my weaknesses, than to acknowledge my strengths.

    And as I keep changing more, I realized that I was not really happy. I was never really contented with the me now, I was simply always looking outside, to see how much better can I become.

    Until I read Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. Something she said, caused a shift inside me.

    She said: “To truly love yourself, you must never ever criticize yourself. ”

    “The moment of true power is in the present moment. ”

    I cannot change the fact that I am living in the present. So by choosing to accept where I am now, what I am now, and when I am now, I can truly be in touch with myself. I can truly choose, and make a difference.

    For the first time in my life, I truly experience an unspeakable joy. Call it one-ness, if I may.

    Once again, thank you for writing such nice articles, Tina. I have been a great fan of your work. And you don’t know, how much enlightenment it has created for me, and many others who hasn’t speak up, yet.

    Keep up the great work.

    • Hi Joseph, wow, that’s beautiful!

      I felt a shift within me too when I read her book. It’s so simple but such a powerful concept.

      Much love to you.

      Warmly,
      Tina

  10. Hi Tina,

    Well put together posting. Yes we are always chasing (often our tails), racing to get from one point to the next. Savouring & enjoying the(this) moment is where the gold lies. Letting go of the outcome is something I’ve picked up & use with my clients. Enjoying the journey/progress toward your goal is greater than the achievement in many cases. Though it is very nice to celebrate “a win”. Any let down can be absorbed by enjoying the next journey……
    Be good to yourself
    David

  11. Good reminder, Tina. It is funny how we have something that occupies the space in our brain (along with our energy) and we get there and it’s just a let-down or as soon as we get whatever it is we’re on to the next thing.

    This made me think of me and grad school. Getting my MBA at night while working full-time was tough. Getting laid off less than 1 month after I finished was a major blow to my ego. I’m still working on getting over this (more than 1 year later).

  12. Being grateful for the small or simple things in life is a great way to raise your energy vibration. Raising your energy vibration may sound a bit woo-woo to many, but believe me – it is absolutely vital to your happiness! Think of it this way; if you are constantly worrying, or thinking negatively it is virtually impossible to be happy.

    So, yes I totally agree that being conscious of this present moment and being grateful for the simple things is really important if you value the health of your mind, body and spirit.

    Blessings.

  13. Some REALLY great reminders in there Tina Su. Thanks for the article!!!

  14. I’m pretty good at living in the moment and enjoying the journey, except for the Christmas holidays. That particular time of what should be joy, makes me crazy. And, I always feel like it doesn’t live up to what I imagine it should be. I really do need to settle down and focus on the individual moments, rather than what the picture in my mind says it should be. It’s hard though, because it feels like so much pressure to make this big production. This year has to change though- I don’t think I can handle another one like 2010.

  15. Hi Tina,
    Great piece! I find this true all the time. Reminds be of a great Hawaiian proverb: Aia ke ola i ka hana meaning Life is in the laboring. This goes hand in hand with being present and living in the moment. If life is in the laboring then happiness lies in enjoying the act of doing and not just the prestige of accomplishing.

    Great insight – as always!

    Cheers,
    Chris

  16. ecka

    I totally agree Tina.

    Living in the “Present” is a big ask. So often we are aspiring or working towards goals or thinking, thinking.
    Its really not easy to just be. Even in meditation my mind is straying & I am fighting to realign it with the breath.
    I find i need to remind myself during the day, this is good, what am i feeling now, feel the moment, etc. Otherwise, the day can friter away & I am not really present in it.

    What I find is critical to appreciating any moment, is that you genuinely believe that what you are doing is valued to you & your values – only then can you be in “flow” and be “present” and happy. Doing what you deeply believe, is not always easy to find – but when you do then it is much easier to be “present” .

    So “presence” requires the prerequisite of “self value” for the task at hand.
    what do you think?

  17. Hi Tina,

    Great site. Thank you for being a champion of positivity.

    I completely agree. Staying in the moment and being grateful for the here and now is so vital in a happy life.

    I think one problem that is common in staying in the moment is that we find our brain thinking about what we think needs to happen in the future…it is difficult to calm our minds down enough to settle the brain on the “now”.

    IMHO, the only way that I have found to calm my mind down enough to truly stay in the moment is by practicing acts like yoga and meditation daily. Giving myself the gift of daily quiet time where I concentrated on my breath and a still mind has given me a presence that I had never felt anymore. I have found that my day to day activities include staying in the “now” without even trying…it has become a natural part of my reality through the practice of yoga and meditation.

  18. So true, despite our hard work it’s disappointing that even if we succeed that elated feeling can be so short :(

  19. Great site Tina. Thats the sad truth, its disappointing that despite our hard work that elated feeling we get from our accomplishments is only temporary

  20. Micia

    Very inspirational. Thanks

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