Are you living your life truly present? Do you wear different masks depending on whether you are at work, home or posting on social media?
Rob B. Lowe is an Australian safety professional and life coach who offers tips and advice through his Maximum Life Club. According to Lowe many of us are living “fake present” which is cheating us of our full potential. He told me:
“I had created meaningful relationships and had great success. However, on reflection I feel I left a lot on the table when it came to consistently sharing all of my ability when a situation required it. I was caught in a loop. I believed that my “fake present” was being detected by others, causing them a response that then generated emotions in me that began to erode my trust. The erosion of trust only fuelled my need to be “fake present” as I did not trust people with the real me.
“At first I thought it might have just been related to work situations, but it is the theme of much of social media. Bubbling behind this and continually feeding it is this insane persistence and need to be “politically correct” and in from my view when we are behaving like this (fake present) we are showing less respect to people than actually raising our concerns legitimately with compassion.”
Additionally, Lowe says there are eight keys to being truly present:
1. Be your best version. Acknowledge that personal development must be a part of your life. Understand that the best investment you will ever make is building your own capability and knowing that it is your strengths that make you the best version of yourself.
2. Be in the conversation. This begins with understanding your role in the conversation–are you the expected listener or are you the storyteller? After recently re-reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, I was reminded of the power of listening and genuinely being interested in the conversation.
3. Live your passion. Always be striving to find joy in the work that you do. If this is not giving you your greatest life satisfaction, then turn your focus to your hobbies and any other extra-curricular activities you might be involved in. This may even cause you to level up and go find a passion or go take action on the passion you have been daydreaming about for years.
4. Show up for purpose. First know your purpose. When you are among people, it is your time to be every part of that purpose. As you begin an interaction with those who do not know your purpose, you must show it to them when the timing is right.
5. Focus on the present. There are a lot of great quotes about focusing on the present and much of this is to keep you out of story (the past) where you invest significant amount of energy dissecting and making attempts to fix things that have happened, rather than focusing energy on the actions you can take to be present now. Set up your future to live your passion.
6. Respect time. Time is the one resource you cannot buy back, but with careful time resource management you can make the highest most profitable use of your time. Using a schedule to maximise your time does not mean you cannot be spontaneous. Using time effectively this means you are consistently taking action that gets you to your goals.
7. Celebrate moments. To continue to strengthen your resolve and commitment to be present in life you must find ways to celebrate and it does not mean you wait for a “big” moment–celebrate everything that is important to you.
8. Live for experience. During Lowe’s recent holiday to Fiji, he scheduled brief time periods each day for business tasks. He chose a time when his kids were asleep and his wife was reading so it wouldn’t interfere with family time. He was astounded by how many people were sitting poolside or beachside with their heads buried in smart devices, escaping the present moment experience of Fiji.
In a time when “mindfulness” seems to be all the rage, Lowe stressed that the question is not so much about living more in the present, but defining for yourself what, how and why being present in life will give you more than you have now.
You may be content with where you’re at now, but “content” may just be a limiting belief. There is always another level of being present in life, and this mindset is what continues to build your maximum life.