You Must Be Present to Win


“So, Chris says, `Why don’t we go to John’s place and…`” DING “…Hold on. I have to check this.” I fiddle with my phone. “Where was I?” DING! “Hold on again. Sorry.” It’s as if the person on the other side of the world is more important than the conversation we’re in now. I’ve been on both sides of this equation.

It’s so easy to be distracted without the bells and whistles, so why let them into our lives? And, why let them interfere with our time with the people we love?

Untangling what’s tangled makes for simpler and smarter living. Every time our attention is hijacked, it devours our precious time, taxing resources as we relink to flow.

We need to find deeper meaning in life than the minutiae. If we want to live richer lives, we have to better understand our nature. We can’t jump from one distraction to the next and expect to feel fulfilled. We see something; we feel something; we define something; we feel some more and this feedback loop comes to life. That feedback loop is the place to start with awareness.

I’m not religious, but here’s a place where the world’s religions can serve us: The Seven Deadly Sins. They’re not deadly because they hurt others. They’re deadly because they make our lives miserable. Lusting after anything leads to more lust. Gluttony leads to more gluttony. Greed to greed. Sloth to sloth. Wrath, envy, and pride, the same.

We rarely hear about the Seven Virtues that lead to freedom and fulfillment: Appreciation, equanimity, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. We can practice these in everything we do. We can bring each to life at work, at home, with our kids, our spouses, our bosses, and our employees. This is where true power is born.These each demand attention and awareness, where the Seven Deadly Sins give us permission to run on autopilot.

Now, when I have dinners with friends or business partners, I don’t look at my phone. It doesn’t chirp at me like a needy pet. It sits on the table unless, on that rare occasion, it rings. I focus on my friends, family, and business associates—all the people who mean a lot to me—not my phone. I feel like I’m winning.


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