Why focusing on today is the real way to impact the future
I have been going through a big biography kick lately.
I am fascinated by the impact that a single human being can have on the world with the limited time afforded. Biographies demonstrate different leadership and character qualities, and how they were leveraged either for the greater good or to the detriment of others. It highlights how everyone will either end up on the right or wrong side of history.
For example, I am currently reading Churchill: Walking With Destiny by Andrew Roberts. Winston Churchill is a great example of “the right person at the right time.” I can greatly admire Churchill for his leadership qualities and steadfast dedication to preserving the Kingdom that he loved in the face of an unparalleled threat. I can do that, while also acknowledging his less-than-admirable qualities and recognizing that I probably wouldn’t enjoy his company.
How powerful is it that Churchill, along with countless others about whom biographies are written, have immortalized themselves through character traits, experiences, lessons, and their impact on others? People can learn about them, and from them, for the betterment of society forever.
My love of biographies contributes to my bizarrely acute awareness that life is finite, and enforces the fact that I also want to make a tangible contribution during my time.
I often think to myself, “What is my biography going to say?” Not in a self-aggrandizing way where I think a biography will be written about me — just in a way that checks-in with my impact. Am I on the right track? Am I pushing myself enough? That kind of stuff.
But what coach and friend Paul Johnson has helped me realize recently is that through that lens, I have been subconsciously putting too much pressure on myself. Thinking too far into the future — like, my post-death legacy — takes away from current, more tangible achievements.
Being at home every day for (at least) four weeks due to COVID-19 has afforded me time to slow down and focus on various aspects of life that I otherwise wouldn’t. For the past couple of weeks I have tried to take time to focus on the present.