Are You Seizing the Moment?

I tend to think of procrastination as putting off things that I want to avoid, but it seems like more and more people I know are constantly postponing doing the things they’d actually love to do. In this day and age, some of us are so busy with work that enjoying ourselves has become a big challenge. Sounds crazy, but we tend to put off simple pleasures that really could happen now.

My high school cross-country coach used to drill an expression into our heads during practice: “If not now, when?” and I’d like you to think about the saying.

The Importance of Seizing the Moment

His idea was to (hopefully) inspire all of us to work our hardest because you never know what the future has in store for you. It’s actually an alien concept for most teenagers, who tend to think they’re invincible because they’re young. They can’t really grasp the fact that doing things while you still can is a good idea but now, twenty years later, I’ve finally come to understand why my coach always used to say it. At some point, we will run out of tomorrows.

A lot of married couples who want children make the decision to postpone having a family until they’re earning more money or until they own a bigger home. The grim reality is that a better job or a bigger house may never arrive, and neither will the family that you always wanted.

Some people promise each other that they’ll take that vacation they’re been dreaming of next summer instead of this summer, but in truth you could be in a bad car accident and wind up unable to walk, let alone able to go sailing around the Bahamas.

Life is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

It’s almost funny, really, but when there’s no official deadline for doing something, it’s easy to keep putting it off.

I could offer tons of other examples. You might get gift cards for Christmas or birthdays but leave them sitting in your wallet, unused. You could have a good bottle of wine in the cellar but keep holding on to it for a special occasion instead of drinking it. A lot of people even buy expensive outfits or pieces of jewelry but never wear it, for fear of something happening to it.

Most of you know that I’m a huge advocate of making plans and setting goals, but you need to realize that even as you plan for the future you’re still living your life. As you dream about things you want to do one day down the road, you could be doing some of them right now in the present! Why aren’t you? To quote the late great John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

It’s sometimes a bit of a challenge, but I try to remind myself “If not now, when?” in regards to all aspects of my life—work, travels, relationships, exercise, you name it. It’s all too easy to postpone and procrastinate, but most of the time I regret not doing something; I usually don’t regret doing it.

Seize the Moment…Right Now!

I don’t sit around wishing to do things in the future—I do them.

I want to urge you to seize the moment with me. Stop dreaming and start doing! If you keep putting things off until tomorrow, until next week, until next year—you will run out of tomorrows at some point. If you get things done now, I think you’ll have a lot of awesome experiences under your belt and a happier outlook on life in general.

Oh and by the way, be sure to tackle those tasks you don’t want to do, too. If you keep putting them off, they’ll only seem longer and harder when you’re finally forced to take care of them!

Take Action. Get Results.

20 thoughts on “Are You Seizing the Moment?”

  1. Hi Steve,

    Excellent advice here and words I intend to live by.

    Being in the moment is the only place to be because the future stands you up and the past just left town and won’t return. You make a great point in mentioning John Lennon’s quote because life goes on no matter what plans you make. Moment after moment it unfolds, it’s up to us to remain present to fully experience life.

    Thanks for sharing your insight and have a fun day.


  2. Ryan,

    I guess I am a sucker for a good quote. I always liked the Lennon one.

    It was an intriguing comment you made, “Being in the moment is the only place to be because the future stands you up and the past just left town and won’t return.” I like that.
    It really says a lot and is a great way to think.

  3. Hey Scott,

    This reminds me of my parents always responding with “yeah, someday we will do that”, which translated to ‘never’. Someday is not a day of the week. If you want something bad enough then you have to schedule it and make it happen. Not wishing for it ‘someday’ in the nebulous future because we all know that it won’t happen in that case.

    This is a good reminder that life is short and that our good health, wealth, relationships are not guaranteed to be here tomorrow. I always think of NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) in these cases. It’s a great book by Phil Keoghan of The Amazing Race.

  4. Haha,

    The elusive “someday”. I think just about everyone has heard of THAT day. Putting things off to that “someday” is a wasted effort. Better to just say NO if you do not intend to or make a firm plan. Even if it must go against what I said in the post and be scheduled for a while in advance.

    Better to set a date a year away to do something than to say you will do it, “someday”

  5. Hi Steve
    That is so true. I know I put off doing the things I love. Fear, worry or just other stuff gets in the way and it isn’t fair – to myself. Who’s seen tomorrow , no? And like u , so rightly say, we will run out of tomorrows…Thanks for a great post. Am seizing the moment, from this moment on 🙂

    • Uzma,

      Procrastination is touch thing. I am by nature a procrastinator myslef. That is why I like to plan and keep bringing the topic up. It helps to force me to “mend my ways” and get better, but procrastinating the things that are enjoyable is really something you should never do. YOu shouldn’t bankrupt your future for today, but you also need to make time for the important things before they pass you by.

  6. Hi Steve:

    What a beautiful post you have today. It is teaching me to wake up too. As I keep thinking I have to write more blog posts but I can never come up with a topic, where as I write few articles every day, but blog post I always ignore. Living in the moment is what success is about.

    You know something your post tells me learning never stops. How much you think you know it all. I just reinforced something that I know but in the realm of life did not pay attention to it and today I really felt it by reading in your blog post.

    Thank you for waking me up. I wish I can push myself to change to write more blog posts.

    Fran Aslam

    • Thanks Fran,

      Glad you like it. I am kinda the opposite way. I tell myself I need to write articles (which either directly or indirectly make me money) and I do not do it that often. But I always squeeze out my blog posts. It is just a matter of priorities. If I wasn’t making enough, I would be blogging a lot less and doing more articles.

      There is only so much you can write a day before you start to feel burned out and the topics become harder I think. So I bet you are prioritizing the right way 🙂

  7. Hi Steve,

    There is nothing better than taking action right now in this moment. Once people start procrastinating, they end up wasting their time on trivial things. Planning, managing our time and taking action now is the way to success. Thanks for sharing my friend

  8. Steve, so very true about the importance of seizing the moment.

    You know I used to be a big time procrastinator. I procrastinated in doing a lot of things I hated like household chores, writing papers in school and so on…But pretty soon it got to the point where I started procrastinating on the things I loved doing….It may sound pretty weird but after a while I came to the conclusion that I procrastinated so much because of my fear of being perfect…I had to literally tell myself every time that I am not perfect but thats Ok, because nobody else is….

    I still procrastinate a little bit, to some extent,…but not as bad as I used to be…Nike’s slogan..Just Do It….is my mantra now….

    Thanks for the insights Steve…You have a good one brother…

    • It makes a fair bit of sense. I have done my share of procrastinating too. That is why I bring the topic up a fair bit. It is a way to keep myself on the “strait and narrow”.

      It my also be a bit of the syndrome where no one is worse for preaching about a bad habit than someone who has reformed from that bad habit.

      I can definitely understand the procrastinating for fear of not being perfect. It is pretty common, but when you get stuff out there after a while it becomes obvious that action, even if it is not perfect is far superior to any inaction.

      ….I can’t think of how many times I have used that Nike slogan too. seriously the ad man who created that slogan and the initial campaign should get the ad man of the century award. It is so…damn….good

  9. This is what I’m really trying to strive for every day Steve because it sucks to realize that there have been so many moments that have slipped past me. I think look at those moments that I did seize and they’re ones that have made me the happiest in life even though they were very scary to decide upon at the time.

    There are many plans that I want to do that are a little more long-term but otherwise I do try to stress the ‘live for the day’ philosophy because if we don’t enjoy what we’re doing now; how will we get to it later?

    I don’t want to work 60 years just to retire as and old dude – I wanna burn through everything when I’m young, when I have energy and spirit and then if I have to work I’ll do it later in life.

    • Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse. errrmmm Wait that’s no good. Live fast, grow to a nice old age and go out peacefully…. Much better.

      You can’t ignore the future for today. Some sacrifices must be made of course. But the reverse is also true, you cannot ignore enjoying the present for a future that may not work out the way you expect it. Like with most things In life I am finding that moderation and balance is the key.

      Too much of anything is bad. Put too much off till the “time is right” and that time may never come. Live without a thought to the future at all and you wind up eating out of a garbage can.

      From what I know of you you have a really good balance though, lots of plans and attempts at success, some of them long range, but also enjoying life. Well done.

  10. Hi Steve
    Came over to your site from Twitter. I find I procrastinate when I think I will not be able to achieve something I need to do. Instead of facing the challenge I put it off till tomorrow…or the next day….or never!
    I’m finding as a newbie to blogging that the techie stuff is a challenge to me. I love writing so I will write but in the back of my mind I’m dreading the other stuff I need to do on my blog.
    Your post has given me a reminder of not wasting the moment and getting on with it. Well tomorrow anyway as it’s very late here and time to sleep.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Patricia,

      Thanks a lot for swinging by!! 🙂 I think Procrastination is a ill that many people have. I have battled it myself for a long time. As Adam aptly pointed out in comments earlier, a lot of the time it can be as much a fear of not doing it perfectly as anything else.

      For something like a blog, it is best just to get out there and do it. If it isn’t great, you will get better. If you find out better techniques, it may be a pain, but you can go and edit. Nearly everything is fixable online with an edit!

      Don’t know about SEO? Do your best and go back ans edit for better SEO when you learn more. Site design might be stale. NO worries, put it out now and fix it over time to kick ass.

      Thanks for the comment Patricia! Good luck to you!

  11. I think most people procrastinate Steve because they associate more pain to taking action, even on something they love, than pleasure.

    When you think that taking action will involve more pain than pleasure you’ll keep procrastinating on it until the point where you either give up or the balance is flipped and pain factor is lessened.

    When you associate more pleasure than pain to what you want to achieve you seize the moment in a heart beat and start living the kind of life you actually want.

  12. You coach was right and that saying will always be right this post has said som much already but just to sum it up i remember these words “The past is history the future is a mystery today is a gift that is why we called it the present”. Thanks Steve a very imspiring post.

  13. What you say is very true, about postponing things you don’t put a real deadline on. It’s the human nature, if we assign 7 days to a task it’ll take exactly 7 days, if we assign 10, it will take 10.
    It’s hard to assign “imaginary deadlines” to things, it’s like not giving them enough importance, and our brain pushes it on the back of the shelf.
    Some people got as far as scheduling their spare time as well. It works for some, worth a shot.

    • I rarely schedule “spare time” But it can be useful to do it sometimes. There can certainly be a point where you over do scheduling. WHat that point is likely depends on a person. But give you self too much room and tasks definitely expand to fill the time alloted.

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