The Power of Being Present
Sit still, pay attention, do not lose focus, and stay in the present. A list of commands to which I always seem to struggle with. Especially when there are pressing matters that call to my attention. This week being finals week, many students may also struggle to stay in the present like me. Especially when what feels like the biggest exams of their lives are only hours away. Many parents and grandparents are struggling to stay present when they have the holidays to plan for, family to gather, food to make, and presents to buy. Children are bouncing their knees at school because they know Christmas break is around the corner. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to become caught up in the thoughts and concerns of the future. However, the key to a successful future is in the power to be present.
Staying present is a strategy that not only makes a person more effective in the task at hand but can also alleviate worry and stress over thoughts of the future. Sadly, it’s a lot easier to say, “Just be present” than to actually do it. To find the most effective strategies on how to stay focused on the present, I had to ask some supreme experts, none other than my very own teachers! I asked a few teachers who had dealt with my short attention span effectively. After all, if their strategies worked on me, they had to be the best of the best. When I asked them what the most effective strategies were, here is what they told me:
- Take opportunities to focus your 5 senses on your surroundings. Identify the smell in your nose, the taste in your mouth, the texture your fingers feel, the sounds your ear gathers, and the surroundings you can see. Focus on each one individually, then all five together. There isn’t a sixth sense that allows us to change our past or future, but there are five that allow us to interact with the present.
- Interact with others around you. Staying focused is easier when there are others near to help pull your attention back towards the present because they are part of the present.
- Move around rather than sit still, whether it be standing to stretch, walking around, or even adjusting yourself in your seat, movement causes you to focus on what you’re moving around. What you are moving around is what is present.
These are simple ways we can all pull ourselves from wherever our minds may wander and rather focus on what’s currently around us. We are unable to change the past, and cannot control the events of the future. However, we can contribute to the present. A good example is from this past summer. Many farms throughout the state, including my own family’s operation had a hopeful spring. The crops were planted, and heavy rains came to sprout and nourish them. But around the time the corn was to tassel and the beans were to blossom, the rain was either absent or replaced by hail. I remember calling my father after hail demolished our crops asking, “So what do we do now? Aren’t you worried about the farm?”. To which he replied, “Well first I’ll call the adjuster, but we still have our house, we still have our family, and we still have our faith. So we’ll just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.”
I find my mind wandering towards the future of the FFA and the agricultural industry, and I know I am not alone. I know chapters are worried about having enough finances to continue, staff members in our association are worried about supplying the association with the ag teachers students need, and I know there are producers worried about having enough crops to harvest to cover the costs to keep their operation afloat. What we may worry about is very important, but our worries only distract us from what we can do. We can use our five senses to focus on what’s around us. We can interact with others to keep us on track as we work together to accomplish our goals. Lastly, we can put one foot in front of the other to move forward. As we move forward we use a powerful tool. We use the power of focusing on the present which will in turn create a successful future.