Why living in the moment can be dangerous

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At some point in our lives, most of us hear the advice “live in the moment.” While the quote is partly valid due to the fact that living a goal-oriented life will cultivate a life that never fulfills you, living in the moment can also be dangerous. When we look at major historical events like the 2008 financial crisis or the dot.com bubble, we see that everyone in those events were “living in the moment.”

When we limit our minds to the present – the things happening right now – we lose our reasoning power and the ability to weigh the consequences of our actions. We are no longer aware of why or how things happen; we imagine that some successful scheme that has lasted a few months can only get better. 

Naturally, our actions then lead to unintended consequences like the South Sea crash or the 2008 Financial Crisis. What makes things even worse is the fact that we are surrounded by other people that also live in the moment. The people around us that do not weigh consequences further entice us to lose our reasoning power and “live in the moment.”

Our only solution is to train ourselves to continually detach from everything happening and elevate our perspective. Instead of just reacting, step back and look at the wider context. Consider the various possible consequences  of the decisions you might make. And remember your long-term goals while doing so. Once you elevate your perspective, the future consequences of current events will be visible. 

Sometimes detaching yourself can also entail removing yourself physically. Since the people around us can interfere with the process of elevating our perspective. Either way, do not let the Fear of Missing Out make decisions for you. 

Lesson(s): 

  • Detach yourself – either physically or mentally – whenever you are about to react to something. 

If you do not want to be the victim of unreasonable thinking, elevate your perspective and consider the future ramifications of anything before reacting or deciding. Do not simply live in the moment. 

  • You’re designed to react to immediate pain and ignore distant pain. 

Our brains are designed to only see immediate problems but not future problems that can harm us. That is why we give attention to something like terrorism (immediate pain) while ignoring things like global warming (distant pain), which also deserves attention since it puts the very survival of the planet at risk. But such danger seems abstract in the present. And by the time it becomes real, it might be too late. 

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