Take the Time to Really Live – Don’t ‘Zap’ Your Life

Francesca and I join our daughter Koral and granddaughter Hazel for a day of fun in the winter snow along with Koral’s two dogs Cosmo and Nala. Blue skies, fresh air, kids and dogs make it easy to enjoy any moment. Telluride, Colorado. December 2021.

With all the activities surrounding us and the stimulation we get from the digital world — that is always on — I find that many people want to live fast. They’re speeding up their lives to experience as much as possible because they fear missing out. When I think about it, if all we do is rush around as much as we can, we end up not really experiencing anything. It’s ironic.

The problem is that by always seeking the next thing, we’re not enjoying the moments that have the most meaning. Just jumping from one experience to the next means that time loses its linear nature so central to our understanding of past, present and future. Instead, it’s become atomized, fragmented, and in a sense, we are “zapping” our lives instead of really living.

It’s hard to ignore the ubiquitous technologies that are designed to provide us with instant gratification. They feed constant entertainment to our brains. If you want something you can get it right away. Yet we often forget that waiting for it makes it more valuable. Delaying gratification gives us something to look forward to, so that we will enjoy it even more.

To truly live, and stop zapping ourselves, we should be slowing down and enjoying the time we spend with our family or taking a walk with our best friend or having a friendly discussion with a stranger. Those are the precious moments that make up a life. They let us appreciate what we have and the beauty of the present moment.

As I think, I am

A mantra that I like to repeat often in my mind is, “as I think, I am.” Because how we think goes a long way in determining who we are. It’s quite simple. The patterns we choose to follow in our minds lead us to the outcomes in our lives, positive or negative. Thinking well means we are living well.

Yet there is so much we still take for granted.

For instance, we turn on the tap and we get water, like magic. Others may walk to a well. Who’s better off?  We are conditioned to believe that when things get easier, life gets better. But that may not be true. When everything becomes easy, it’s easy to lose our appreciation for it.

Finding time to really live

1. Create a morning ritual. A morning ritual gives you a little “me time” when you can plan your day. I typically enjoy Pilates in the morning followed by a protein shake as I plan my day.

2. Unplug and turn it off. Send calls to voicemail, turn off email notifications, and step away from your devices for a few minutes of quiet reflection every day. You may be surprised at the rejuvenating power of this daily respite.

3. Spend time with people who matter. Whether making family memories, nurturing friendships or even building a successful business, you will never regret spending time with those who matter.

Rays from the sun filter down through the branches of the giant redwood trees. Spending time in nature has a rejuvenating effect and can help one feel centered.

4. Focus on what’s important. Don’t just be busy to be busy, spend your time on what brings meaning to your life – time with family and friends, working on a passion project, building a successful business.

5. Take a walk in nature. Maybe it’s the peaceful view, the invigorating feeling or both, but I’ve always found that nature has a way of helping me stay centered.

Do you find yourself zapping your life? If so, what actions are you taking to really live? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Dr. Sam Signature

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