Living In the Present

Where are you in your life currently? Is it during a time of extreme happiness? Is it during a time of struggle? My brothers and I have all had times in our lives where we have felt like we were on top of the world and also at the lowest of lows. Did you know that it's important to have these ups and downs of life from a biological perspective? Many times there our thoughts and way we live our lives dictate the decisions we make. Some people think about the mistakes they made in the past and get stuck on the "woulda, shoulda, coulda" mentality. If I would've just done this one thing differently or if I would gone down this certain road. Others are "forecasters". They spend tons of mental energy prepping for the future and trying to plan. This could be for wealth, family, or whatever goal they have in mind. If you fall into either of these categories, you are most definitely in the wrong because the best time to live is the here and now! Check out today's blog post to see why this is advantageous for your body, mind, and spirit!

Giving Gratitude

Everyone starts out in different circumstances. No one chooses who their parents are. For us, we were very lucky to have two great parents that were there for us every step of the way. For some, they aren't as fortunate. We had many teammates that fell into this category. They came from one parent homes where they struggled to make ends meet growing up. This is a tough road. Let's get one thing straight no matter where you come from. You should be grateful for where you are at right now if you are reading this article. Have you thought about the basic needs of live? Food, shelter, water, community, purpose. That's about all you need. Guess what? All of you reading this article right now has those things! Many people all over the world don't have those things. I'm so guilty of this too, but it's amazing how our perceptions of things that we think we NEED are actually things that we just WANT. I NEED to look a certain way or I NEED to have certain things or I NEED to perform at a certain level. No, these are all wants! When trying to change our mentality, it's important to remember the difference between wants and needs. This will not only put things in perspective, but also relieve the mind if you are having anxiety/worry about not accomplishing the things you want out of life. Be thankful for the things that you do have and strive for those that you don't, but always live in the present knowing that you are in the right place at the right time for you as the individual person! It's not about anyone else, it's about you! 


Time is Precious

For me, I'm amazed with how fast the last 10 years of my life have gone by. Finishing college, going to graduate school, starting a job, building a business, and many other life ventures have sped up my time clock. The problem is that I fall into the category of being someone who is always trying to plan ahead. I try to be as productive as possible in order to accomplish the "so called goals" that I tell myself for my future tense self. Until recently, I didn't realize that I was doing this to the extent that I was. By focusing so much time and effort in the future tense, I was neglecting many of the most important things in my life in the present tense. (faith, fiancee, family) Yes, I can admit that I'm guilty as charged. Time is the most precious thing we have in life. We all have a finite amount of it. Most of you that are reading this article probably have a future tense mindset as well. You can't wait to get to the next level as a player, you can't wait to get the next big coaching job, or you can't wait until you make this amount of money so you can do this awesome thing. Well folks, that's all great, but if you are always striving for more than you will never be satisfied. This is a hard concept for me to grasp too because I'm extremely goal oriented. This has become evident for me as time has gone on though because I have accomplished a lot and still have that inner feeling to keep moving forward.

Let me give you a good example. I know a guy that is the CEO of a big company. He is very well put together and driven towards success with his company. After a couple years of getting to know him, I find out that he has type 2 diabetes/hypertension, two kids that aren't doing well in school, and also got a divorce 4 years prior. Yes, he is rich and has a powerful role in the position that he is in, but is it going to be worth it when his health starts to fall apart when he is in a nursing facility with no one to come see him? No way! Definitely not worth it. Cases like this happen all the time! It's easy to forget about the things that are actually important when the world tells you to WANT more, more, more. More doesn't fill you up internally. Living in the present does!

Embrace the Pain

This is a concept that I've been introduced to lately over the past month or so. It's the idea that you should embrace pain and adverse times. At first this was a bit counterintuitive. I should want to be in pain? Author Mark Manson talks a lot about this concept in his book, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck." He explains that pure joy comes from experiences that are extremely challenging over a course of time in which the person comes out on the positive side. This could be over a long period of time or it could be a short period of time. The funny thing here is that it isn't about the end result that brings the joy. It's the perception and perspective gained from the end result that brings this great deal of joy. I had never really thought about this in this way. Here is an example for me.

After my injury at Illinois State, I sat on the bench as a back up to a younger player who deserved to be playing. This was after my one collegiate start in which I played really well. I was most definitely bitter during my last two years. Adversity, pain, failure, and helpless are all words that come to mind when I think about the situation that I was in. What I didn't realize is that this was transforming my mindset as I was going through this. Towards the middle of the year of my senior year, my passion and mindset shifted dramatically as I let go of my football dream. I mentally checked myself out which was an amazing feeling. I checked out of that mindset and checked in to a mindset/passion towards the field of physical therapy. After I did that, I had a tremendous amount of joy not because of the end result. My end result as a player was very poor. If I would have based my happiness off of that, I would have been in a deep state of depression. My joy came from the fact that I had weathered the storm and had now found something else that I could be passionate about. I found a purpose in something else. 

Pure joy will never come to those that aren't willing to experience pain at some point in trying to accomplish a goal. It's not near as fulfilling when things are handed to you. Is it fulfilling to get a participation trophy? Absolutely not. Be accepting of pain because even if you don't accomplish the external goal that you are trying to accomplish, you will gain internal insight that will propel you forward as a human being in whatever the next thing is. 

Learning is a gift, even when pain is your teacher. - Michael Jordan

Finding Your Balance

It's tough to figure out where you fall on this continuum of doing too much vs doing too little because the argument here is going to be "well Drew, if I don't plan for things ahead then I won't be able to make goals and work to accomplish them." That's not what I'm saying. For most of us, especially in the world of football, it's easy to get in a vicious cycle of being so goal driven that the work that you are doing consumes you and eventually leads to the game claiming your identity. Why do you think so many people struggle with the transition from football player to every day Joe? It's because of this inability to fill your "passion void" with something after spending many years of filling it with football. The first thing you need to do is think about all the every day things that matter a lot to you and write those down. For me, it looks like this.

  1. Faith
  2. Family
  3. Job

Then you need to write down the things that you need in life after that in order to survive.

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. House

Then you need to write down the things that you want after that:

  1. Thriving business
  2. More free time
  3. New truck
  4. More knowledge to serve

At this point, you need to think about how you want to align with your time with the things you want in life, starting with your needs first. Don't forget that all the information that you consume on a daily basis will get you off track of this greatly. It not only eats your time, but will also skew your perspective of what is important and what isn't. The people at Instagram and Facebook aren't dumb folks. Those platforms are designed to be addictive in nature. Don't let those platforms tell you what you want and what you need. Don't let them skew your perception of your inner passion and desires. This is something only you can decide. 

I hope this helps everyone! This inner dive is something that I have done recently and will continue to do in order to improve myself. It's not comfortable to take a global view of yourself and definitely not comfortable to admit that your wrong, but that's human nature. Live in the present!

-Drew Kiel PT, DPT, CSCS