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Ep. 6 — Be excited about today as you are experiencing it for the first time

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David The Optimist owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Optimistic Perspective Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as his right of publicity.

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Being excited about today is a mindset I want to incorporate in my day-to-day life and it’s strongly connected to my views on optimism.

I believe optimism and being present have a lot in common. If you can’t stay focused on today and be excited about today, then you can easily be absorbed by thoughts that are about yesterday’s experiences or tomorrow’s challenges.

Optimism is about here and now. The future that we’re positive about will eventually become a here and now. Therefore, becoming excited about here and now is the energy that we both get from a positive future and also put into a positive future.

Last year, I was reading the book Radical Optimism by Beatrice Bruteau and found a paragraph that made me conclude with the idea that I have never experienced today and because of that I should be happy and curious about it.

Here’s the paragraph:

A story I like is that about the gathering in the elevator at nine o’clock on a Monday morning. Here come the business people, the executives and their clerical staff, with their Monday morning blues, looking glum and grumpy. The elevator operator, however, is bouncy and full of good cheer. He greets everyone with a wide grin and a hearty “Good mornin’! What a fine day!” Finally someone can’t stand all this cheerfulness so early in the morning and asks, “What are you so happy about? What’s so great about this day?” To which the operator replies with enthusiasm, “I ain’t never lived this day before!”

I remember stopping right after and started thinking about my day.

I also remember trying to understand the elevator operator and put myself in their shoes. To maybe understand the energy behind their mindset and feel that kind of energy.

I remember I took a break from reading and started meditating. As soon as I closed my eyes and imagined myself in the role of the elevator operator, I felt like never before.

I suddenly started feeling a shiver down my spine and my entire body was taken over by this bliss-like feeling.

It felt like I was teleported to a different world, a world in which every day I live is not a moment of life, but an entire life. A world where there’s no time or space for negative feelings. A world where the past and future don’t exist.

After I finished the meditation, I thought to myself that’s how I want to feel and since then I’ve been doing my best to be as close as possible to it.

It’s not working every time but that’s not what really matters. What matters is that now I have a point of reference for how I want to feel and I’m doing my best to be consistent in living my life like that.

Think again about the paragraph from the book and close your eyes for a second. Image you are the elevator operator.

How does it feel to live such a life?

What keeps you from living a life where you are excited about today?

If I had to guess, I would say that you can’t be in a constant state of excitement, curiosity and joy because of many reasons.

We live in a society where it feels like we are encouraged to pay attention to our future and build that future using our past more than anything.

For example, if you want to build a business, you are encouraged to focus on how much money you’re making, number of employees, social media followers, business processes, and so on. And you’re encouraged to build it on the knowledge you had from your past.

While none of that is wrong and it’s going to help you build your business, the present moment is not part of the formula. The society we live in doesn’t tell you what to do in the present moment and how to properly use the present moment to your advantage. Because of that, you eventually get to a point where your mind is constantly connected to your past or your future.

And you can say that you need to think about your past or future because they’re important parts of your life.

That, right there, is an illusion.

The only important part of your life is the present moment. Whatever you’re trying to do, you can’t change your past. And in order to influence your future, you have to do something in the present moment.

And you know it.

What I just told you is not something you just heard.

But because you let your future and past dictate so many aspects of your life, they’re going to dictate every aspect of your life. After all, how you do one thing is how you do everything.

Going back to our paragraph from the book and what stops us from living a life like the elevator operator, I believe that obstacle is strongly connected to an obsession with our past and future.

The elevator operator was aware that they never lived today before and they were excited about exploring today. In today’s society, that kind of awareness doesn’t exist.

We wake up today’s morning with yesterday’s thoughts and experiences. As soon as we process yesterday’s thoughts and experiences, we move on to tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities.

That kills today and everything today has to offer to us. It kills all the small things that we don’t usually pay attention to – all the small things that keep us alive.

Fun Fact: 0 % Younger

Did you know that optimists feel 23% younger than their actual age?

All right, what I shared with you until now was a short story about the elevator operator and my thoughts on why we struggle when it comes to living a life where we are excited about today.

From now on, I’ll go through some of the things I shared with you and give you some insights.

I’ll start by trying to give you a taste of what it means for me to experience genuine excitement.

One of the things that I do for a living is coaching which means I help people change their behavior through awareness and reflection.

Whenever I read a book or discover something valuable that helps me grow as a coach, I start feeling like the most successful coach in the world because I know I’ll be able to provide more value to my coachees.

That’s something I experience on a weekly basis as I’m constantly reading and learning about optimism, spirituality, and coaching itself. And on the day that I experience the excitement, that entire day gets better.

But is more than that.

I realized that the more I get to experience excitement, the more I’m able to manage the days where there’s no excitement because I already have the reasons to get and stay excited.

Let’s talk a bit about the elevator operator. This time, I’m going to share with you more in-depth the bliss-like feeling I had when I closed my eyes and meditated.

As I told you, it started with a shiver down my spine and then that sensation eventually took over my chest, stomach, and the entire body.

But what seemed like a unique aspect of the experience was a thought that felt so … natural and obvious. “It makes total sense to live a life of constant excitement and joy” I said in my mind.

For me, in that specific moment of meditation, excitement and feeling excited was like breathing. There was nothing else I needed and there was no reason to look for something else.

But even more than that, some sort of anchor was created between that specific thought and the feeling of excitement.

Now, whenever I think about a life of constant excitement, I feel like I’m living a life of constant excitement. It’s a pretty unique experience. It feels like everything else disappears.

As a side note, last week I went to my regular dental appointment. I do it every 4 or 5 months and I’ve been going to the same dentist for two years. So my dentist knows me. The last time I was there was in July or August 2023, so a few months have passed since.

The first thing my dentist told me was that I look more relaxed.

At that moment, it was clear to me that what I feel inside can also be noticed outside.

And lastly, let’s move on to the other side of the coin and talk about challenges

There is one specific moment where it feels really difficult to stay present and optimistic. For me, that moment happens when I want to do something but I have no results, even after having a dozen different approaches and asking for help from a few different people.

When that happens, I start to feel more helpless than optimistic. I also start thinking more about my past and future and the more I do it, the more difficult it becomes to stay present.

To get back to feeling optimistic, I usually try to relax and let go of the outcomes I want.

In my life (and I guess the same thing happens to you as well), the more effort I put into something, the more I expect to have a specific outcome. To get back to feeling optimistic, I have to let go of that outcome and anything connected to it.

When I let go of the outcome (which is entirely about how I envision my future), I am able to reconnect with my present and become again excited about today.

With love and optimism,
David

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