April 24, 2013 – Ever find yourself daydreaming about the past or wondering about an alternative present? What about living with constant anticipation about what’s coming next? Lest you think this thinking is limited to people of a certain age, i.e., middle-agers, I hear this litany from many of my clients of all ages.
And what brings this topic to mind? Like many inspiration sources for me, the answer can be found in music – specifically the music and culture surrounding the Grateful Dead. Yes, the boys are back in town in their latest incarnation, Furthur. The music moves me every time I listen. Sure some tunes move me more than others. And sure, listening to an expansive jam at times makes me wonder what tune the band will segue into. And then I take a step back and remind myself to simply enjoy the music. Never mind what tune will be played next. Focusing on what tune will come next takes your mind off the music being played now. And now is but a fleeting moment. Enjoy the moment of the music. After the show there will be plenty of time to review the set list.
How is this relevant to our work?
Several years ago, I wrote a blog discussing the difference between living in the moment and living for the moment and I thought the message worth reviewing. See Blog, “Guide Your Career – Relish the Moment.” http://www.driveconsulting.net/blog/2010/08/guide-your-career-relish-the-moment/
A major key to maintaining high motivation and engagement levels in your life – a high DRiVE Factor – is the ability to simultaneously keep an eye on the present moment while keeping your future goal in your sights. In other words, temper living the moment with plans and thoughts about the future. This can be a delicate balancing act. We often experience forces which lead us astray into the realm of living with an intense focus on the future, or recriminations or reliving memories of the past. Both approaches lower your DRiVE Factor.
We are constantly changing and undergoing one transition or another. The tools which help guide us through these moments of change allow us to utilize lessons from the past, our experiences and takeaways from those experiences, even as we morph from the present into the future. Remember the Socratic dictum: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Recognizing and utilizing lessons learned from past experiences is the act of examining life. Living our days in synch with the sum total of all our accumulated experiences, having learned from those experiences and allowing ourselves to be open to change and growth, we can enrich our present lives with the wealth gained from our past.
Again, the Dead/Furthur show us the way. Although songs do get replayed from tour to tour, and sometimes a few are repeated during the same tour (the current tour at the Capitol Theatre is a good case in point: Seven shows so far with only three songs repeated), the songs are never played the same way twice. Songs written and performed 40 years ago still sound fresh due to the band’s constant changing things up. Tempos are altered – some songs slowed down while others are sped up. The band plays its music based on the internal musical conversation among the band members and the synergies felt with the crowd, which naturally vary from show to show. And so, the songs played are new sounding, musical explorations. The Dead/Furthur accomplish this by drawing from their vast musical experience and inputing their current perspectives to deliver outstanding fresh sounding and yet familiar music over the course of decades.
Perhaps this is merely due to the improvisational nature of the band and its music. True enough. Improvisation is the act of being totally in the moment, of letting the moment guide you. No pre-written script. Pre-determined setlists are often modified onstage by the band, as they live the moment.
This is the crux of the matter. Rather than living for the moment, or even living in the moment, perhaps our goal should be to emulate Phil, Bob, Jeff C., John, Joe, Sunshine and Jeff P., and live the moment. Living the moment allows the past to blend with the present as it leads us to the future.
The past is always with us, influencing our thoughts and actions. The secret is in examining and learning from the past and allowing it to enrich the present. In that way we are not slaves to our pasts. We use the past as a tool to improve and move forward in our lives.
And that is a great recipe for living, as Socrates would have us, a life worth living.
Consider the Possibilities.
Adam J. Krim www.driveconsulting.net