Sunday, November 15, 2009

Past, Present or Future?

Some live life freely; some never stop to worry; some like me constantly attempt at finding the right way to live life. No matter which path you choose, I write today to stress the importance of doing so in the present rather than in the past or for the future.

People ask you to learn from your past and implement it towards your future. In this attempt, we often forget about our present. Present as the name suggests is very much a gift; a gift that life offers you over and over again, a chance to use it right every day. Choices made in the past need not have any bearing on the present no matter how helpless you feel. Choices you make today need not be second guessed no matter how unsure you feel. Make every decision at its merits and demerits visible currently and then, instead of reevaluating your choice, spend time making it into the right decision.

Just recently I heard a lecture on synthetic happiness. Without getting into much detail, I’d like to present the conclusion of the lecture which said, the human mind when not given a choice automatically learns to love and be happy regarding its decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. By restricting yourself from second guessing yourself, you will allow your brain to inherently make you happy regarding your choices. This may convince you, it may not, but simply try it out and the results will speak for themselves.

Now that we can stop worrying about the decisions we just made, let’s focus on the worries that crowd our mind regarding decisions we need to make. I’ll share a little bit about myself; some of you may relate to it closely, some may have had a completely different experience. Growing up, life was blissful and tension free till about 9th grade. Till then scoring in exams, behaving like a good kid at school, brat at home, not planning for more than a minute in the future was the extent of my life. Until recently, I can’t remember another phase better than those days. I am sure you all agree to the childhood years being the very best. It got me thinking, how to reproduce the same kid in you while taking on the responsibilities of a grown up?

Beginning of 9th grade, life’s so called responsibilities started sequentially lining themselves up. Scoring the very best in 10th grade was important to get into a good junior college. Scoring the very best in 12th grade was imperative for getting into a good college. Doing well in college was so necessary to get a great job. Early on, my focus had already been faltering from the widely accepted Indian theory of: follow a great career path at any cost. After my admissions overseas for college, I had begun to slack in my 12th grade preparation and convinced myself on living a multiple goal driven life. Without losing sight of a career, I focused on jumping the band wagon on the social triumphant happy looking genre of life.

All this rambling, I guess, just to make the point that live in the present, do what comes to heart, convince yourself about your choices and you can convince anyone else. Stop worrying about the next step, stop worrying about the bad phases of the past, breathe freely, enjoy today as it will only last for so long. In the idiotic but true words from the movie Rang de Basanti, “ek tang to past main hai dujee future main, tabhi to beech main moot rahey hai..”(With one leg in the past and another in the future, we seem to be peeing on our present).


  1. As a friend truly pointed out, nothing too original in this entry... Coming soon with a better one. This was to get back to writing. :)

  2. Mo .. if u realize if we open a quarrel between the past and the future we are losing out on the present.
    And as u included the word synthetic happiness it is something that would bring true happiness to the person or it may not. It is a little too vague i guess . and synthetic happiness in itself is a topic , u could write another article on it.
    More real and more sustainable is contentment. As one contented person told me: “I find pleasure in simple things nowadays. My life isn’t thrilling, but it’s deeply satisfying.” Perhaps as a species we need the quest for the Holy Grail to keep us performing. But for me and many other recovering happiness junkies, the thing we most crave now is an end to the craving. Contentment is the road home and a way to live in the present

  3. Dear Anon,

    Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your interest in my writing. Firstly, here is a link to the original author of synthetic happiness,
    It goes in better detail regarding the subject :)

    I completely understand finding pleasure in simple things, but i still believe in striving for thrill and the Holy Grail in an individual's life. There is nothing stopping us from trying for both. Most people who miss the present, just end up striving for the future and those content have already lost their purpose in life.

    Happiness in daily simple gestures helping one to further spread a smile and that very slight lack of content that helps one mold the future would be my recipe for joy.