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‘The present moment has the greatest potential for growth and success than anything else’

I never thought of myself as someone who works best under the pressure of a deadline. I suppose with just a tad of reflection I could have figured it out.

In the sixth grade I recall staying up all night to finish my handwritten project on the nation of Brazil.

Seems like we were always running up to the last moment in getting something ready.

Maybe it’s not so much in my constitution as in my early learning.

Yes. Quite. I should be able to blame this on someone, and since both of my parents have now passed who better than they to put this on.

It’s not my fault that I procrastinate and don’t seem able to concentrate until the pressure has become excruciating.

My parents raised me that way. It’s their fault.

How old am I now? Never mind about that, but yes.

I’ve had enough time to take ownership of my life; so, if there’s still something that isn’t quite perfect, I suppose I need to blame myself.

It’s kind of like the presidency in the United States; when the guy first takes office, he can blame his predecessor, but in the second term he’s had enough time in the job that the mess is rightfully his own.

After you’ve been living your life, after you’re an adult and you’ve been out on your own, there isn’t really anybody else to blame if you are not being the person you want to be.

So, maybe I choose to wait until the deadline is right upon me.

For instance, I was talking to a young colleague over the weekend, and he had taken the great big, daunting national psychology licensing exam that doctoral psychologists in the States have to pass before they can apply to local state boards for licenses to practice.

You can usually flunk it once or twice before you’re in deep “mud.”

He was anxious about the outcome. To try to cheer him up, I told him that I flunked my first try and then with the added pressure to pass, I did pass.

That’s when he told me that he had already flunked once himself.

I don’t know what his problem was, but I can remember thinking that I had room to fail and so I didn’t study all that hard on the first try.

There it is. The actual deadline was having to pass, with no wiggle room for failure, and when that faced me, I went to work.

Procrastination can be about a lack of organisation, but it can also be about too much anxiety.

Sometimes people who lack the attentional capacity to attend to projects in more timely ways use the added pressure of the looming deadline to give them a boost that helps them devote the energy they need to complete tasks.

For other people the delay in taking care of obligations has more to do with the worry they experience about getting things right — a kind of perfectionism.

It is concern for the outcome. How will something turn out? What could result?

And so, it is avoidant in nature. However, since most things cannot be ignored and avoided forever, there comes a point at which people

must make some kind of effort to take care of their business.

At that point, the people usually also find they have squandered valuable time and must settle for less than they know they are capable of producing.

They kick themselves and tell themselves, “Never again,” but then they usually also do it all again and again.

I am a here-and-now kind of person. I think that the present moment has the greatest potential for growth and success than anything else.

Of course it helps to set goals, but there is not future goal that is not accomplished and finally met outside of some current moment.

Are you confused by that? What I mean is that we all live in the present.

You may have the expectation of the future or the memory of the past, but you have those in the current moment. You cannot make any steps toward a goal outside of the current moment.

This, I think, is at the heart of the matter also when the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness…” Hebrews 3:7 & 8

On a given day, at a given point in time, Jesus invited someone to follow him, and the person responded that he had to go and bury a relative.

Jesus responded, “Let the dead bury the dead …” and then told that person to get busy in the work of the kingdom.

But it was not harsh if you think of the person as avoiding a pivotal moment in his willingness and choice to follow Jesus.

There was no better time to get on with it. Such decisions belong to no one else, and there will be no one else to blame for them.

We are described in scripture as having eternity in our hearts, yet so as not to be able to tell the beginning from the end.

All we have is the current moment, and it is timeless. It is the eternal now. This is the best time to be the person you want to be.

It is up to no one but you. For me it is up to on one but me. I make the choice. You make the choice.

Do I want to be a kind and considerate man? Okay, extend kindness, take the perspective of others, do not insist on my own way, and put the needs and experience of others right alongside my own at least that.

There is a deadline for all this.

The problem I have is that I don’t know when that actually is. Recently, I have had to contemplate the death of several people, and their passing has touched me.

The deadline arrived, and it was a true “dead” line. I think I need to leave behind this business of putting things off until I feel the pressure.

I need to attend more to being the person I want to be while it is today, while I have a current moment and a momentary breath.

Today if I hear the Lord addressing me, I need to attend to what He says.

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Published July 09, 2013 at 9:29 am (Updated July 09, 2013 at 9:29 am)

‘The present moment has the greatest potential for growth and success than anything else’

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