I’m in a pickle. I’m feeling revved up and strung out. The day has not gone as intended.
I am so distractable. I just need a tool. For goodness sake, give me a tool.
Mindless scrolling 1 - Productivity 0.
That to do list I had so carefully crafted. Sitting with a coffee ring on it, looking the worse for wear and not likely to prompt any ‘to-doing.’
I’m agitated, aghast. In want of a fix.
If only I had a tool…
I'm not the only one.
I get this request the most, from my clients too. Help me fix it. Put it right. Change it. Make it feel better. I want to be more productive. A magic bullet is needed.
But is that the right way?
Well let’s put it this way. Is shoving an entire Victoria Sponge down you the best way to get a sustainable energy lift when you’re feeling depleted?
There’s another way.
Alright, strap in and prepare to take a little journey with me through the realms of psychology and mindfulness.
Because, there are tools a plenty, and Cognitive Behavioural Coaching is one of the best known for ‘changing the script’ that has us stop in our tracks.
We're going to delve into the world of presence, Cognitive Behavioral Coaching / Therapy (CBT), and how, in the grand scheme of life, one might just have a tiny edge over the other.
Don’t worry. This isn't your typical psychology lecture; it's more like a storytelling session with your favourite armchair philosopher.
Now, don't get me wrong. CBT is a proven, effective, and practical approach to managing maladaptive thought patterns.
It's like having a super-slick, high-tech toolbox at your disposal. You've got a thought hammer, a cognition wrench, and an emotion screwdriver to tweak, tighten, and hammer your mental framework into a shape that is more congruent with your desires and well-being.
It's an amazing tool, and it has done wonders for countless individuals.
No doubt it can help you get stuff done.
But let's put on our most daring metaphorical berets for a second and consider the idea of mastering presence, which is akin to being an artist fully immersed in the act of creation.
When you're mastering presence, you're not just tinkering with tools and techniques; you're stepping back, diving deep, and immersing yourself in the grand painting of life as it unfolds.
Here's the catch: thoughts are like the tiny strokes in this grand painting, while presence is the canvas itself, the foundation on which everything else lies.
Thoughts are transient “I don’t like it; I’m not being productive’ ‘I need a tool’...
They come and go like cheeky squirrels in a park, but presence? That's your constant. It's the silent, still lake beneath the buzzing activity of your mind.
Now, why might this be more valuable, you ask? Well, consider this: when you're wholly present, you're fully engaged with reality as it unfolds.
You're not getting caught up in the spiral of past regrets or future anxieties. You're here, you're now, you're alive in the purest sense of the word. It's not just about being present for the joyous moments but being present for all of life, the full spectrum of the human experience.
Mastering presence also offers a kind of self-awareness and self-understanding that is profound.
It's the sweet spot where you start to recognize your patterns, not just in thoughts, but in emotions and behaviours, too.
By being present, you're not just reacting to your thoughts; you're observing them, understanding them, letting them exist without trying to control or change them.
Mastering presence is about acceptance and non-judgment.
It's about being okay with the fact that sometimes, life is a Jackson Pollock painting instead of a neat, tidy Mondrian.
It's not always about fixing or tweaking thoughts. Sometimes, it's about letting life be chaotic and unpredictable, and being okay with it.
So, while CBT offers the tools to effectively manage thoughts, mastering presence offers the chance to navigate the rollercoaster of life with a sense of peace, awareness, and acceptance.
It's about moving from a mechanic's mindset to an artist's, from fixing to creating, from control to acceptance. And that, my friend, is a journey worth considering.
The short version?
When it comes to getting unstuck, and productive, time and time again, I see that cultivating presence is a kinder, less effortful way to get back into the flow. No tools needed.