Thursday, April 16, 2009


“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” -- Woody Allen

“The other twenty is being present.” -- me

Imagine a classroom full of fourth graders settling into their desks. The teacher begins to call roll. She plainly rattles off the names of each student, who reply in turn, “Here”, “Here!”, “What?” (giggles) “Present.”

In most aspects of life it pays to be more than just here. Being present, in this case meaning being an active participant in the events, aware of what’s going on, and fully concerned with right now is hugely important. And seemingly easier and easier to get away from these days. Televisions, computers, cell phones, blackberries, even printed pages, mirrors and windows have surfaces that are a portal to being elsewhere. The key is to engage yourself and maintain focus on your tangible surroundings.

Using your senses to hook into everything that’s going on and becoming a concerned observer can make the difference in almost any situation. In your social life, love life, work life, health, even citizen life. Being present is the key to getting what you want or at least understanding and accepting what you’re getting. Or more profoundly, what you are and aren’t giving.

Put life on a clearly defined schedule. Set time to get dressed and do it thoroughly in that time. Set time to read and be invested in it. Give yourself a bed time. Sit down and eat a meal. Start conversations and see them through, but don’t be afraid to excuse yourself, hang up, or walk away in due time. Turn off the TV when your show is over. Take off your hat and coat when you get inside. Watch the sunset, the kids playing and the waves crashing. Be a good host and a great visitor. Be a good boss and a great employee. Be a good father and a great son.

Take the time to...

Listen to someone’s story.

Observe nature.

Play the game.



Excuse yourself.

Stay until it’s over.

and know when it’s time.