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Bil was right: we can’t time-travel, the present is a gift

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Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present— The Family Circus, Bil Keane

Bil was correct. We have all heard the expression “Don't judge a book by its cover” and, ironically enough, we all assume that we know what it means.

Well, I've got a new-world ecosystem adage for you: don't judge the value of a thing today using yesterday's knowledge.

Who said that, you ask? It's not important. (Why does everyone always get so hung up on who said something that they miss the message itself?) But I digress.

What's fascinating to me at the moment is that, at the height of a global pandemic, the world seems to be in the process of sorting itself into two distinct groups — those who can't wait for life to “return to normal” and those who believe that we have already reached “the new normal”.

Now, if there are only two choices here, then you can probably already guess which way I lean, but the real question is: are there really only two choices here? Huh?

Well, what if the truth is that there is a third possibility and this third option is a magical place right under your very nose.

That's just crazy talk. Is it? Let's think about this for a moment.

What if this elusive in-between place is simply the present moment?

Like it or not, we cannot physically return to the past. Once a moment or a day or a year is over — it's over.

We can draw upon memories of past events or situations as a tool to teach us things that are useful in the present, but we cannot insert a moment of inspiration into the past. That can happen only in the present.

Similarly, we can use the tool that we like to call our imagination, to transport us into the future to see what a future event or situation might be like. But we can only invent the means by which to convert this imagined future state from theory to reality in the present moment.

Like it or not, physical time travel is not possible, so we have no means to insert a moment of genius or inspiration into our future selves. We can only do this in the present.

So what does this mean? It means that all true inspiration and personal growth occurs in the present moment.

It means that anyone — everyone — can experience heightened inspiration and personal growth (possibly even moments of genius) by spending as much time as possible in the present moment.

It also means that any moment that you spend vegetating on social media or longing for the “good old days” or coveting the life that you think someone else has, is also a moment in which you are cutting yourself off from the true magic and genius of the present moment.

In short, maybe there was a time when you didn't know the true value of being right where you are now, leading the life that you are leading as you read this, but now you know differently.

What can knowing this change for you?

Robin Trimingham is the chief operating officer of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a virtual presenter, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/olderhoodgroup1/ or robin@olderhood.com

Wise words: according to Bil Keane, the late American cartoonist, most notable for his work on the newspaper comic The Family Circus, “yesterday is past, tomorrow is the future; the present is a gift” (Photograph courtesy of NYT/King Features Syndicate/ Reuters)
According to Bil Keane, the late American cartoonist, yesterday is past, tomorrow is the future; the present is a gift

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Published September 22, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated September 22, 2020 at 1:08 pm)

Bil was right: we can’t time-travel, the present is a gift

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