Learn From The Past, Plan For The Future & Stay In The Present



I recently read a book called The Present by Spencer Johnson. I recommend the book to anyone in any stage of their life. It’s the kind of book that you can read in less than a day, but it contains such a strong message. Do you remember when you were a child, the way you could focus on a task with all your attention? Whether it was playing with your toys, drawing in your sketch book, jumping on the trampoline or reading a book. Your mind didn’t have any thoughts that would fly in asking yourself questions that made you feel worried. There were no worries that would create themselves inside of you, because you were focused on enjoying the moment, rather than worrying about the future. Kids are the greatest reminder of staying in the moment.

Most of the time the stress we have in our lives, are very often created from our thoughts. These thoughts can then affect our mood and the actions we take. They give out negative energy and cause more negative things to be attracted into our lives. When we worry, it tends to be something about the future, or when we feel bad, it may be a memory from the past. One of the important messages in the book, is that in this moment is the moment we can choose to enjoy and live. We are in control of the present. In the present we can decide to look at the past as a way to learn and be better from it. We can look towards the future with a sense of making ourselves better than where we currently are. When we’re in the present, we invite happiness and success into our lives, because we don’t allow the past and future to steal our time.

We can’t touch the past but we can learn and improve from it. We can’t touch the future yet, but we can reach our goals and vision by planning for the future. When we plan and focus on the present, we are able to enjoy life far more. In the book it says Once you have prepared for The Future, you can enjoy The Present with less anxiety. It reminds us that when we have a direction in life, it allows us to focus on what we can do in the present, in order to bring about the future we want. Another quote that spoke to me was Success is becoming who you are capable of being. We all have different definitions of success. Whatever it is that we really want to strive for, we have the ability. The moment we start creating scenarios in our mind or causing a thought to exaggerate, we allow it to build up and ruin our focus.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has things they wish they did or said differently. Although, we must use our precious time to learn from those moments. They give us a valuable lesson in order to improve and change ourselves. Many of us have dreams or goals we want to achieve in life. It’s really important to have a positive mindset on it, otherwise it’s easy to quickly diminish from simple thoughts such as “I can’t because…” or “What if…” We are all able to reach our goals.  Being In The Present Means Tuning Out Distractions And Paying Attention To What Is Important, Now. You Create Your Own Present By What You Give Your Attention To Today. These words are so true, because what we put our attention on is ultimately the moment we choose. There is a choice to how we see and react to every good or bad situation.

It Is Hard To Let Go Of The Past If You Have Not Learned From The Past. As Soon As You Learn And Let Go, You Improve The Present Today. The book has a lot of wise words that most of us already know ourselves, but we forget to do it. Johnson reminds us that it’s okay to slip from time to time, and it’s a gentle reminder to focus back to the present. Everyone experiences hurt and pain. Those memories can bring a grey cloud over ones head. We are reminded that those memories have happened and we can’t change them, but we can become stronger from it. Sometimes certain things happen in life that we experience, because it allows us to recognise what is important. Letting go releases the pain you’ve held in for too long. It releases the tension in your mind.

Living in The Present learning from The Past and planning for The Future is not all there is. It is only when you Work and Live with Purpose and respond to what’s important about The Present, Past and Future, that it all has meaning. – Spencer Johnson

Art by Lieke van der Vorst 

6 thoughts on “Learn From The Past, Plan For The Future & Stay In The Present

  1. This is a (much needed) really good post. I love how you integrated what you recently learned from the book. Being and living in the present is so important, especially for those who are stuck wondering about the past or pondering about the future, and end up missing the joy right in front of them.
    I’ve actually been feeling like that lately, and it has taken a toll on my feelings. I partly blame it on my usage of social media (Facebook and texting), and the fact that I torture myself too much with my thoughts. I usually try to control it with meditation, reading (possibly books on psychology), and busying myself with tasks. But when I’m in this ‘zone’… I can’t get to work on my most urgent work, and it’s just.. so frustrating.
    I spent the last few days doing literally nothing productive – I couldn’t even read. I was wondering if you could recommend reading (articles, books, texts) that could help me? I know I’ve been vague about what I went through, but it has to do with relationships, and… I’m feeling quite hopeless at the moment.

    1. Hi Misty, I really hope it helped. I can relate with having so many thoughts in the mind, sometimes it feels like I can’t switch it off! I really hope things will only get better and better each day for you, and I know they will :) These period of times always feel hard and can make us feel hopeless and feel a lack of energy, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel (even when it doesn’t feel like it in the moment), there really is. I am recently likely planning to go back to university in the next year or two, and it’s been a big decision to make. I really want to refine my writing skills in English Literature or a similar subject.

      It’s a difficult decision, because I have previously been to university, and during that time (I was only 16) I felt lost and depressed during those 2 years. Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we expect, but everything always works out in some way or another. I am currently reading a book called: Presence, by Amy Cuddy. It has a powerful message that applies to everyone. There’s a film called Blue Jasmine that I felt really helped. It put my mind into perspective and reminded me that people have a choice in how they want their lives to turn out.

      I’m not sure if this will help, but when I deleted my Facebook with hundreds of people that I didn’t talk to, but I just knew, met or had known them during high school, work or university, I felt more present. I only use a Facebook now with literally 5 people I am always in touch with. It made me spend more time focusing on the ones I’m closest to, rather than spend time looking at others lives that I didn’t really know. Sending you my love and hugs :)

      1. Thank you Katie, your words and experience really help me.
        Things have definitely looked up since I wrote that comment, and I’m so glad to be out of that hole after several days (which seemed like AGES at the time).

        I was so excited when you said you were planning to go back to university, especially for a subject that you have clearly been so passionate about for a while! It’s been several years since you last entered university, and I feel that left you with a very negative connotation about “college/university”, but you know it’ll be different this time around as your situation has changed, you have matured, and I’m pretty sure you feel much more confident about the classes that you’ll study. I know this would work out great for you (I really hope it does)!

        Thanks for the book and film recommendation. I’ve heard about Amy Cuddy’s, but have yet to read her work (and watch her TED talks), but she seems to be the kind of inspirational person that I would want to learn from.

        I’m sure deleting Facebook has given you a social media relief that most of us teenagers/millennials today can’t achieve. I can’t detach myself from Facebook, for work/social purposes.. but mainly because it gives me a (false) sense of connection that I crave. But I am starting to use it in a way that I don’t see random people’s status, photos and posts on my home page (which I know will just make me feel more ‘left out’), and that’s helping – besides staying out of Facebook when I don’t have any reason to be on there.

        Thanks so much Katie, hugss to you too!

  2. I’m so happy to hear that :) Thank you so much, and I do feel it will be a much more positive time this time round! I think everything we go through, must be for a reason xx

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