There is a common trap that many of us have fallen into. This trap is the comfort of picturing our perfect future. Victims of this way of thinking, regularly miss opportunities in life due to their inability to adapt to the present moment. This trap will affect our judgement in all aspects if we allow it. The wise philosopher Seneca speaks of this trap in his Letters from a Stoic:
“Projecting our thoughts ahead of us instead of adapting to the present. Thus, it is that foresight, the greatest blessing humanity has been given, is transformed into a curse. Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them worry no more. We, however, are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present”
— Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium
This trap is an illusion. A way to reassure oneself that everything is cool; simply by focusing on a reality that doesn’t even exist. Many of you reading this will die dreaming of the future. Just waiting for when your ‘real life’ begins. This trap I speak of however, shouldn’t be confused with those whom successfully align foresight with positive action. One can look ahead and strive for an objective, but then immediately return to the present. Free from the curse of influence, inflicted by a future that doesn’t even exist.
This is your life. Now. Which begins and ends in the blink of an eye on a cosmic scale. This is your ONE opportunity to do what needs to be done before you disappear forever.
It’s one of the simplist things to be distracted by the goings-on of everyday life and forget about these things. We are animals, after all. But we do have the ability to apprehend our significance in the grand scale of the cosmos; if we just take a small moment of reflection from time to time. Each and every minute of your existence is invaluable due to the finite nature of your life. Stop for a moment and think of that. Those days that you have been wasting away will never return. That experience you recently turned down due to fear or anxiety was something that will never come back, including the unforeseen opportunity that could have come with it. The life you think is waiting for you is not coming. The only future you have is the one that is actually built in the present moment, piece by piece.
Waiting for that perfect moment is to wait for regret and despair. Because nothing is guaranteed. Of course, you can keep waiting until it’s too late. Or you can break the shackles of this trap, right now.
This is your choice. You can immediately begin the building process, or you can keep dreaming of something that may never be. And when your life ends, your name will be forgotten and buried under the shadows cast by the triumphs of men who had no time for such illusions.
Get after it.