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We can learn a lot from dogs. They live in the moment and seem to have a permanent smile on their beautiful faces. Look at my dad and see how much joy and love this dog brings him in this photo. How do dogs do it?

First, dogs don’t think about the past. They have some learned behaviour, like learning things and avoiding certain people and places, but they don’t really know why. And they do have distinct, individual doggie characters. They have no regrets, sadness, anger, unforgiveness, resentment, jealousy, or disappointments, feelings that all stem from the past. They don’t think about their past mistakes or suffer from guilt for chewing up your slipper last year. They don’t seek revenge. The past is in the past and out of their consciousness. How would your life change if you could accomplish more of that?

That’s why if you lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car and race around the neighbourhood for an hour across bumpy roads, your dog with jump out and kiss you and wag his tail when you stop and let him out, while your wife, well…

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from the past, of course.

Next, they don’t worry about, anticipate, fear, think about, or dread the future. NOW is where their attention and focus is, so their happiness and comfort depend solely on lying in the sun, enjoying the smells in their environment, savouring every moment, dealing with life moment by moment. Their present mission is all that counts to them. That’s why they are a lot happier than we are.

The decisions of our past are the architects of our present, and there’s nothing we can do about those past decisions. Regret, guilt, worry, and anger about the past will do nothing to change what we are presently experiencing, except forgiveness, repentance, and learning from our past mistakes, but dwelling on the past is cancerous.

Likewise, our present decisions, actions and choices are creating our future, and that’s where our attention should be: in the immediate moment. Unlike dogs, we do have to plan for the future, but that shouldn’t take up all our time. RIGHT NOW is when we create our futures. Everything we think, say, and do is affecting our future. It all has consequences and ripple effects. It behooves us, therefore, to emphasize our attention to the present. Let’s focus on the present. Like dogs do.

That way, we will be happier, more effective in whatever we do, and more likely to create a future that is happier, healthier, and better than what we have now.

Robin Elliott   LeverageAdvantage.com