Wisdom for a Happy Life: Focus on Each Moment, Like a Page in a Book

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A day in life is like a page in a book. Starting a new day is like turning to the next page. Living a fulfilling life is like finishing a great book.

Think of the last book you loved reading. What was it like? Chances are that the book was so engrossing that you forgot about everything else. You were focused only on what you were reading at the moment, and you never stopped to analyze the pages you’ve read already or paused to predict what was in store for the remaining pages. You just kept reading and reading. I’m also willing to bet that it was a happy experience, because you felt yourself flowing smoothly with the book, not worrying about anything in the real world.

Life works in very much the same way. We are happiest when we focus on the present. When we don’t get bogged down by thoughts about a past that has already happened and is thus unchangeable, or the future which remains a mystery, we have more opportunity to experience the current moment. According to Dr. Rick Nauert at Psych Central, a Harvard University study recently demonstrated an association between happiness and focusing on the present, based on 2,250 subjects who were contacted at random intervals about their current emotional state, what they were doing at the moment, and what were they thinking about at that time. As stated in his article, “researchers found that people spend almost 50 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing — and that mind-wandering typically makes one unhappy.”

Besides reading a book, the notion of focusing on the moment also applies to writing a book (and to lots of other aspects of our lives). Consider this:

  • It’s hard to finish a manuscript if you obsess over the draft pages written thus far and, because of their poor quality, feel too discouraged to write further. (In other words, don’t dwell so much on past events in life, or else you’ll be staying put!)
  • If, on the other hand, you focus more on writing new and better pages, you feel a sense of progress and a motivation to forget about those earlier pages. (In other words, focus on the moment in life and move forward!)
  • If you worry too much about the later pages and how the book will turn out, the fear might prevent you from putting down more words on paper. (In other words, stop worrying excessively about the future in life, or else you’ll be staying put!)
  • But if you pay attention to what you’re writing at the moment, you won’t be as concerned, and you just might discover, right under your nose, the perfect path for the rest of the book. (In other words, focus on the moment in life and move forward!)

In the book known as life, the way to live happily ever after is to focus on the moment every step of the way. While you’re at it, strive to make your book a masterpiece, one that’ll fulfill your dreams and inspire others to pursue theirs.

About Anthony

Anthony Lee is a prolific writer (medical by day, creative by night), an avid book reader, and an insightful philosopher. He joined the Delivering Happiness movement in late 2011 after reading Tony Hseih’s book of the same name, sharing it with his book club, and adopting a newfound optimistic perspective on life. He spends his time thinking of ways to improve the world and keeping people inspired. Follow him on Facebook (AnthonyLeePhilosopher) and Twitter (AntPhilosopher).

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