A famous Harvard study back in 2010 found that in fact around 47% of our waking hours are spent in the non-present.

It is as if we time travel in our minds, meaning our experience of time isn’t always as linear as we imagine.

In fact, we can be caught up as much or more by unlived memories from the future as by lived memories from the past.

And yet, the only place we ever actually live, the only place we ever actually accomplish anything is in the present? So, why not spend more time there?

If you want to explore this in more depth, listen to Episode 10 of my Time Academy Podcast.

Questions in the Image:

  • How do I balance the past, present and future?
  • In fact, what hold does the future have over me?
  • What hold does the past have over me?
  • Does one of the three tenses have more sway?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle (link to Amazon.co.uk). The book offers insights and practices for living in the present moment and breaking free from the grip of the past and future. It emphasizes the importance of being fully present in order to experience true joy and fulfilment.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day – even thoughts can trigger questions. Thinking of the Harvard Study and that amazing finding that around half of our waking time is spent in the non-present brought this question to the fore – how might I treat life as a meditation so that I am more often in the present? What might my meditation bells be?

About Tom O’Leary

My mission is to help others think differently – meaning more broadly and deeply – and thereby make better decisions. The key to thinking differently lies in our curiosity.

The more we question, the more possible answers we uncover, and the more we expand what we thought possible. Life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential.

And yet, in a culture obsessed with efficiency and productivity, the paradox is that much energy and resources are wasted by a bias towards action over contemplation. If you are answering the wrong question, it doesn’t matter how ‘hard’ you work, you are still answering the wrong question.

That is why I am a big advocate of nurturing curiosity and innovative thinking at all ages, particularly amongst leaders because of the impact they have on us all. In my vision, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are curious, open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning.

What Thoughts Would You Like to Share?

I welcome your thoughts, feedback, or personal experiences related to these questions or any insights they may have sparked.