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  • What will the present punish me for, and what will the future punish me for?

  • I'm convinced that answering these 2 questions can lead to a better life, but to explain how, we must first understand our relationship with time.

  • You can think about life as a series of moments unfolding, one after another.

  • Each dot represents a moment, and the line connecting them represents the passage of time.

  • We call the moment we're currently in the present, the moments we've experienced the past, and the moments yet to come the future.

  • So in other words, the present is where the past and the future meet.

  • The present is all we ever really experience, and it's where the past is reaped and the future is sown.

  • Since the present moment is all we ever really experience, let's get rid of all the other dots for a second.

  • Now consider this question: if you could experience one thing in each present moment, what would it be?

  • For me, the answer was this: I ask that each present moment be meaningful.

  • Now let's consider the present and the future together.

  • The line connecting all of the dots represents the axis of meaning.

  • I find that as time goes on, as the entropy of my life increases, as I take on more responsibilities and hardships, it becomes harder to experience meaning in each moment.

  • I think about how easy it was to be fully immersed in the moment as a child, and how often my mind wanders and is preoccupied now as an adult.

  • So each moment requires greater strength than the last one to produce a meaningful experience.

  • How can I get each moment to stay on the axis of meaning instead of drifting away over time?

  • In each moment, the only thing that matters is our next action.

  • The only thing we ever perform is our next action, and it starts in the present, but it ripples on infinitely into the future, helping to create it.

  • And as I mentioned earlier, the present punishes a lack of meaning, and the future punishes weakness.

  • So I look for an action that brings meaning and strength in each moment.

  • When it comes to finding the right next action, there is no one size fits all.

  • Watching an hour of TV a day might bring one person strength, while it might bring weakness to another.

  • And depending on the circumstances of our individual lives, we may be either person.

  • During one season of our life, we may find it beneficial and strengthening to relax on the couch and watch some TV.

  • But during another season of our life, we may find it makes us weaker.

  • The same goes for activities like weightlifting.

  • Weightlifting may be meaningful to one person, while another finds it meaningless in the moment and prefers to go for runs, play sports, or do circuits at the park.

  • Discovering the right next action is a unique process that depends on the individual, the demands of the moment and their environment, and what brings them meaning and strength.

  • Even the words I used, meaning and strength, might not resonate with someone else.

  • But I think the central problem always comes back to this image and two questions: what will the present punish me for, and what will the future punish me for?

  • Or in other words, what does the present reward, what does the future reward, and how can I act, in this moment, to receive the rewards of both?

  • If you have different words in mind, let me know in the comments: what does the present and the future reward/ punish you for?

  • As always, thanks for watching and I'll see next time.

What will the present punish me for, and what will the future punish me for?

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A2 present moment punish meaning present moment strength

Answer these 2 questions for a better life

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    Summer posted on 2020/10/24
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