I recently attended a memorial service for a client of thirty years. His body reached the age of 90, but his mind was as incisive as ever, and he retained an infectious sense of humor until the very end. The last time I saw him was at a holiday lunch we had in December. At the time, it never occurred to me that it would be the last time we would spend time together.
As I reflect back on that lunch, I wonder, if I knew that it was our last lunch, would I have said or done something different. Upon reflection, I think I may have spoken less, and listened more. I would have been more mindful, more centered in the moment, knowing that it would be the last time we would be together. That mindfulness may have turned a routine meeting into something memorable.
This got me to thinking. What if we somehow knew that much of what we do each day would be the last time we would do it? Just stop and think about it for a moment. What if you knew that the car you are buying was your last one. Would you get something different knowing that? What if the last phone call you took from a colleague, a friend or a loved one was your last conversation with them? Would you be less judgmental, condescending or, you fill in the blank with your choice of adjective?
I am not advocating that you walk around with a cloud of morbidity hanging over your head; even though we all know that there will come a day when we will experience life for the last time. Just stopping to savor a moment for perhaps 5-10 seconds can give us an appreciation for being in the moment. When you step out of the house on a beautiful morning, try stopping a moment to take in your surroundings for ten seconds. If this were the last time you could do that, are you taking in the serene beauty of that moment?
In a world that at times seems to be more adversarial, lacking in courtesy or thoughtfulness, creating the opportunity to experience the moment may not only help you to get more meaning out life, but to be more productive in whatever you are doing. It is no secret that all world-class athletes require a very high level of focus, mindfulness or being in the moment, in order to perform up to their potential.
Getting more out of your life, and performing at your best, begins and ends with being in the moment. It’s a skill that anyone can master, with some practice. Why not give it a try the next time you are doing…anything – hopefully, not for the last time!
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