By: Bret Gornik
I was recently asked, “What is the number one thing you are working on?” I had to think about this question very hard. I am working on so many different things from getting married to mastering new physical skills to business opportunities. I took some time to really think about what I wanted to work on in my life and decided that there was one thing I could do that would better all aspects of my life: slow down to enjoy the moment instead of living only for the future.
There is always something new I want to be better at. Every week I add more and more to my schedule, so that I’m doing everything I can to be successful. A strong work ethic is very important, but what I realized that I need the most in my life right now is to slow it down and really appreciate every moment of every day. I don’t mean take my foot completely off the gas, but I really need to embrace the energy of the now by being fully focused on what is at hand, instead of solely focusing on how happy or successful I will feel when I get to where I’m trying to go. We shouldn’t wait to feel happy or successful or excited until after we achieve our goals. We should start feeling those things now because we’re on the way to getting there. The “best day ever” slogan is more than just an idea. It is a mindset that helps me appreciate every day. That means that today, the day where I’m working towards my goal, should be just as amazing as tomorrow, the day I actually achieve my goal. I need to slow down the pace and realize that the journey is really what makes up the dream.
We live in a society where more is better. The more deals you close, the sooner you get promoted. The more hours you work, the more money you get. The more pictures we post from vacation, the more “likes” we will rack up. We cram our days and minds with so many things at once that when we take a second to look down at the clock, the entire day has passed us by without even realizing what was going on. When we only focus on the quantity and not the quality of our day, we start to miss the greatest details about life.
I will never stop striving to be the best I can be, but I will take each moment as its own. Instead of trying to get everything done in one day, I will learn to be patient in my life. Older and wiser people always tell us to appreciate the journey and to not just focus on the end result. I’m finally starting to realize the truth behind that advice. Instead of feeling the need to accomplish everything all at once, I will put my full heart and mind into each thing I do so that I appreciate every step along the way. Appreciating the journey is what makes success so great.
Through this self-realization, I have been able to see this need for improvement in every part of my life, staring with the most important part of my life: relationships. I know that without strong relationships, life loses all meaning. Sarah is my rock. We met in college and since then have overcome long-distance, job changes, and me starting a business. When I stop and think about where we are at right now (planning a wedding, buying a house, building our careers) I realize how many amazing things are happening in our lives together. With all those exciting plans comes a lot of stress, and that stress overwhelms us at times, causing us to get caught up in everything and losing sight of what we are doing this all for. We tell ourselves that we’ll be happy once we get everything finalized for the wedding and that we’ll be happy once we move into our dream home. There are days where we both wake up early, spend a full day working our asses off, and then come home late and only talk about the future. Those are the days where our focus is on checking off the next thing on the list. It’s in those times where we need to slow down and take a moment to reflect on where we’re at now and appreciate how far we’ve come.
I’m going to be engaged in the little details, and appreciate that all of this hard work and energy is going to get us to where we want to be. Instead of focusing on how happy/excited/successful I will feel when we achieve all of these things, I will start feeling that way now, because just taking the first step towards your goal is enough reason to feel happy/excited/successful.
I had a true “ah-ha” moment a few weeks ago when we were out to dinner with Sarah’s grandparents, who have been married for over 50 years. When Sarah's Grandfather first married Sarah’s grandma, they had the full weight of the world on their shoulders. On top of going to college, they had to work multiple jobs to pay for their tuition, rent and food, and even had a baby to care for during all of this. They did not have everything figured out, but they had each other and they loved each other deeply. Now, 50+ years later, he told Sarah and me that the one constant in their lives has been their love for each other. The moments they experienced 50+ years ago where they had to work together to inch towards their goals are the moments that made them the people they are today. They didn’t wait until they achieved their goals to be truly happy and show each other how much they loved each other. They started that from day one. They appreciated the journey they were on and lived each day in the moment. His words made me tear up, as I realized that these long, stressful days Sarah and I are experiencing right now are strengthening our relationship and that one day we will be like Sarah’s grandparents, looking back on our lives and realizing that this stage we’re in right now is pretty damn great. Instead of focusing on how happy we’re going to be when we have everything figured out, we’re going to be happy right now, through every step of the way. And instead of wishing we could fast forward through all of the sweat and tears that it will take to achieve our dreams, we’re going to enjoy the journey. With patience, your life becomes more holistic. It’s time to slow down. Appreciate everything now, because time is the only thing in life we lose.
I need to look inward daily to take a step back and value the journey. The Live Better Team checked into Maderas Village just two days ago and within this short, but impactful time, I have started on this journey. The first yoga class we took was the slowest moving flow I have ever done. When the class started the teacher said, “today we will go slow”, and I knew right then and there that this was coming full circle. Time always moves at the same speed, but how you appreciate it changes with your mindset. This "business" trip is proving to me that having patience and getting deep into thought helps me slow down.
There are little things we can all do to start living in the moment and appreciating the now. Don’t bring your cellphone to dinner – engage in conversation with the people you are eating with. Turn off work when you’re spending time with friends and family. When you’re stressed and overwhelmed at work, take a minute to remember why you’re doing this and channel the feelings you think you’ll feel once you achieve that goal. I promise you that that energy will put you on a better path to achieving your life’s goals.
Take a step back.
Enjoy the moment.