How to be truly present

Give yourself the gift of presence to live life fully

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Are you truly present in your own life? The truth is that so many people don’t give themselves the gift of presence. We tend to focus entirely on the future or, at times, in the past. Part of it is instinctual; the human brain is wired to look for trouble, and as a result we’re always scanning ahead, looking for potential threats or trying to make ourselves strong enough to face them. 

This is how we’ve survived as a species. But the constant scanning ahead to find that next problem we need to overcome or that new threat on the horizon does more harm than good in the context of a relationship. Instead of searching for predators who might harm us, we seek what we don’t have. You know the feeling: “Once I get that promotion/finish that book/fit into those pants, then I’ll be worthy. I’ll be ready to focus on the good stuff in life.”

This constant search for what’s wrong instead of what’s right, this development into “becoming somebody,” as Tony puts it, costs us the ability to be present in the now.

Finding fulfillment in the now

We’ve all heard of the power of now, yet we’re constantly thinking about the past or worrying about the future. By telling yourself “I’ll do this after that,” all you are really doing is setting up a moving target you’ll never hit. You’ll have success in one venture, and then look for another. Your eye is always on the future with the vague thought that after this next victory you’ll start paying attention to the things you care about. These thoughts stem from fear that we aren’t good enough, and will never be good enough. 

As Tony says, “The road to someday leads to a town called Nowhere.” When you continue putting off being fully present in your own life, you deny yourself fulfillment, joy, gratitude and happiness. You must accept that the only thing that’s real is now. Everything else is something you’ve made up about the future or it’s a memory. And even memories often are tainted. Living in the memory of the past is no way to go through life.

Give yourself the gift of presence

If you want to give yourself the greatest gift of life, learn how to experience it fully instead of remembering it. Train yourself to bring your undivided attention to this moment and look for what is beautiful. Find the joy in the moment, right now. Slow down. Look into the eyes of those you love. Be fully present for them.

Stop obsessing about the past and the future. Have a moment with yourself, your partner, your family. Choose to find the beauty in the moment. Take a chance to connect. Breathe deeply, feel the light of those around you. As long as we’re alive, it’s all a gift. Your presence is a gift to yourself and to those you love. 

Remember, the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships. And the quality of your relationships is the quality of your presence. 

Learning to be fully present

In this podcast you’ll hear from two men whose efforts to become somebody – to develop into an individual worthy of love – put a wedge between themselves and those who already loved them. 

For Ken Allen, life was not working. He was a successful investment banker, but felt empty inside. He was unhealthy, gaining a great deal of weight and turning to medications and alcohol to help with his physical and mental states. Then his wife had told him she wanted a divorce. 

After attending Unleash the Power Within, everything changed. Ken lost 35 pounds, started a company, meditated daily, made giving a priority and became truly present with his kids. Find out what happened when he made this radical shift.

You’ll also hear Tony work with a couple at Date With Destiny in Australia. Tim and Juliana loved each other, but were aware that their relationship was growing distant. Tim was heavily focused on work; Juliana sensed his attention was elsewhere and focused on their child. They were not being present for one another and they’d started taking each other for granted. 

Witness the transformation that occurs in a single moment, as they realized the difference true presence makes with our loved ones.

There is nothing more powerful than a human soul rooted in the present moment, free from the illusion of the past or the future. Tony Robbins

Show notes

[1:02] Ken describes his daughters and their challenges
[1:58] His diabetic daughter has changed how he looks at health
[2:29] Ken was laid off and struggled to realize how he’d neglected his family
[3:29] Tony says much of our stress is because we’re focused on past or future
[3:57] This moment, here and now, is all that’s real
[4:15] The remembering self vs. the experiencing self
[4:55] “Learn how to experience life instead of remembering it”
[5:34] When our perception is based on memory or future, we’re experiencing our mind, not life
[6:22] Slow down and be with those you love in each moment
[7:15] Presence is the ultimate gift for those you love – and yourself
[8:45] Ken is wired to be consumed by his work – he’s a problem-solver
[9:11] Tony showed him that he brought his unhealthy work habits home to his family
[10:09] Ken and his wife had drifted apart
[11:08] His mental and physical health plummeted
[11:53] He was coasting – not challenging himself
[12:23] His wife asked for a divorce
[12:42] After attending UPW, he committed to making a life change
[13:25] Health provides the foundation for everything else in your life
[14:05] After attending Business Mastery, he committed to creating his own business
[14:50] He strives to communicate his passions in everything
[15:15] Everything starts with the leader; if the leader doesn’t embody an organization’s values, the organization won’t either
[16:12] His desire to help his friend Norma install a well in her village in El Salvador
[17:25] “Three years ago I wasn’t even thinking about other people to that extent”
[18:05] His daughters make him elevate his game
[18:56] We never know how much time we have; Ken is happy to have right now
[20:16] How you show up for those you love is how they perceive your love for them
[20:40] Tony explains that in a relationship, a partner wants to feel they’re the most important thing in life
[21:14] Because Tim doesn’t feel he’s enough, he’s focusing on building himself instead of loving his partner
[21:58] Tim thinks if he reaches a certain place, then he will feel good enough to be present
[23:09] The high from an achievement doesn’t last that long
[23:33] Tony explains that, “The road to someday leads to a town called Nowhere”
[24:58] Everything in life that you’re grateful for is due to how you look at life
[25:33] Some of our values are due to how we were raised
[26:11] Tim identifies three things that would improve his relationship right away
[27:00] Tim’s wife identifies her own pain points with the relationship
[27:27] Tony explains that husband and wife are trying to find a way to be enough
[29:00] The importance of remembering what drew them to each other
[30:25] Aliveness comes from opposing energies
[31:29] Tim’s wife explains that they are always living in the future
[32:45] She feels most loved when he says he loves her
[33:32] Our experience of life is what our brain generalizes, distorts and deletes
[34:52] She wants her husband to linger
[35:50] By rushing around trying to be somebody, we forget that we are surrounded by those who think we already are somebody
[36:44] When being present, don’t focus on yourself or how you are perceived – focus on your partner
[38:30] Tim also needs Julianna to be present
[39:30] Kids come second to the relationship
[40:02] What are you going to value most if you make a shift?

The ability to be truly present is perhaps the greatest gift you can give yourself, because it opens you up to so much joy, so much gratitude and so much appreciation. By focusing on the moment – being present with your loved ones and appreciating them – you are choosing to view the world through a lens of love instead of fear. The people who love you already think you are somebody. They see you as a beautiful, accomplished individual, even if you don’t.

Take a moment to look into the eyes of your loved ones. Don’t think about what’s coming in the next few minutes, hours or days. Just think about your person and how much you care for them. We are not guaranteed a future, so the greatest gift we can give to one another is to be wholly present in the time we do have together.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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