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The art of being present: Why living your best life starts by seeing it first

Last year, comedian, actor, and fairly new recording artists, Lil Duval, had everyone singing about living their happiest existence. On his break-out hit “Smile” (Living My Best Life) feat. Snoop Dogg, he expressed the need to no longer engaging in backs and forths with the simple-minded with the surprise

Everything about the song is fun, from the concept to video, but what people don’t understand is they don’t have to be a rap star or have a lot of money to achieve that level of peace and tranquility in life.

In fact, what if someone told you the only thing keeping you from living your best life is your recognition of right now?

It may sound a bit counterintuitive — focusing on today when our sights are on tomorrow or even years down the road —  but you surely won’t ever find enjoyment otherwise.

See, while we learn from the past and preparation prevents poor performance, if we aren’t able to mentally engage in the now without emotionally reacting to our thoughts, how will we ever appreciate those moments?

It’s gotten to a point where we’re becoming numb to the feeling of satisfaction, or even worse: We’ve gotten to a point that we’re never satisfied.

It’s natural for us to worry about the future and lament about the past because the present is already here. Our mind perceives the present as something not worth dwelling in.

But if we learn to be present and cultivate mindfulness we’d not only feel more in control but also experience life more fully and truly live the best lives we’ve always wanted.

Your best life shouldn’t have a price tag, its free in our day-to-day lives. It’s just a matter of recognizing it.

What does being ‘present’  look like

Being present, otherwise known as “mindfulness,” is an action, not a constant state of being, meaning it’s something we must intentionally practice and a technique we can hone over time.

When you decide to live in the present you’re making the decision to accept a day, moment or point in time as-is. We’re not always going to like our lives as-is nor want to accept it for that matter. Still, if we do stop and smell the proverbial roses, we will be able to appreciate a good moment.

Being mindful can look a variety of ways and be incorporated in almost any activity. You can bring mindfulness into gardening, running, biking, swimming. It’s all about living in the moment and intentionally appreciating it while you’re in it.

Your best life happens every day

One of my favorite sports stories is about the Cavs improbable ’16 NBA championship where LeBron led his squad back from 3-1 to defeat the best regular-season team of all-time, the Golden State Warriors.

When the final buzzer had gone off in Game 7, it marked the end of the playoffs and dubbed the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Champions. Bron and his team hadn’t even noticed.

They were so locked in that they were looking for the next play, defensive rotation or whatever what was needed. It wasn’t until confetti hit their faces that they had realized they’d finally done it.

While the concentration should be applauded and was probably much-needed in their victory, imagine if they never looked at the moment? Imagine if after they had won it, they never stopped to soak in the win. What if they shook hands, had no ceremony, and went on looking to next season?

As absurd as that sounds, that is how a lot of us are living. We let society and social media tell us what our championships are, and what’s happening. We’re not celebrating monumental moments — only looking for the next ones.

A lot of us are chasing a “best-life” that doesn’t exist. The pure bliss you see on Lil Duval and Snoop’s face can be ours, too, every day. All we have to do is remember to recognize them as such.

When we decide to be mindful of the day we’re living in and not so caught up with the days that are gone, we’ll start to see just how great our lives really are.