Harnessing the present

How we feel in the present moment has an overwhelming influence on our perception.

When we enter a supermarket hungry, we are likely to overshop. On the other hand,  after we stuff ourselves with food, it often feels as though we won’t ever need to eat again.

People hate falling sick because during sickness, one feels as though they would never feel healthy again. When we have a fever, it is difficult for us to imagine what it feels like to be hale and hearty, although we spend most of our lives without a fever.

When asked about how happy they are with their life, people often answer it based on how they are feeling in the moment. Or depending on how nice the weather was that day.

Our minds are prisoners of the present. So how can we use this to our advantage?

A habit is an outcome of our mind’s present state. Our present is nothing but a sum total of each and every habit we have – from what we do after we wake up every morning, which people we hang out with and what kind of thoughts we entertain. Every automatic response to a stimulus is a habit that we have ingrained through practice that is often unconscious.

Therefore, if you wish to tinker with your present state, you need change your habits. Forming a habit is deliberate at first, but turns automatic later. It might be difficult to go for a run every morning, write everyday or floss every night before sleeping. But do any of those things for about two months (66 days to be precise) and it infiltrates your unconscious present. After those two months, you would find it hard to imagine not doing those things.

Forming a new habit is hard because of our anchoring to our present. However, once you grit your teeth and get past the threshold, it is interesting how the same force that worked against you nudges you forward and keeps you going.

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