The above title is a quote by Einstein, and it is, indeed, excellent advice. Einstein was, of course, one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, if not the greatest. Much of modern physics is based on his discoveries. In later life, however, he also became a philosopher of considerable importance, and he gave us a lot of useful information about life. His quotes are seen everywhere. The above quote can be generalized to: Learn from the Past, Live in the Present, Hope for the Future. And if you do each of these, you will, indeed, be much happier.
What do we mean by each of the above statements? Let’s look at them in turn.
Learn from Yesterday
We should, indeed, learn from the past — particularly from the mistakes we have made in the past. We certainly don’t want to make the same mistakes again. But we also don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about these mistakes; they’re over and done, and there’s nothing we can do about them except learn form them. So don’t continue to rehash them, and don’t become obsessed with them. If you do, they could become a source of frustration, and they could make you fearful of failure in the future. In short, they could make you very insecure, and this is, of course, something you don’t want. So learn from them, and forget them.
It is, of course, okay to think about the past occasionally, savoring some of the joys you have experienced, but you should return to the present as quickly as possible. Don’t develop a nostalgia for the past. This is a common fault with many people; they daydream about how happy their past life was, and how dull and humdrum their present life is. Maybe your past life was better in some respects, but too many people magnify the happiness of their past life and forget about the struggles and sorrows they experienced. If your present life appears to be dull compared to your past life, it’s up to you to make it better.
Don’t keep longing for the past, Today is much more important. It’s the present — what’s happening now — and you should make the most of it.
Live for Today
Enjoy the day you’re living in. Wake up in the morning with confidence, and a feeling that the day is going to be the best you have ever experienced. One of the best ways to do this is to relax and live each day as if it were your last.
Dale Carnegie encourages everyone to live in “Day-tight compartments.” And it’s the best advice anyone could give you. As he says, ” Half the beds in our hospitals are reserved for patients with nervous and mental troubles, patients who have collapsed under the crushing burden of accumulated yesterdays and fearful tomorrows. Yet a vast majority of these people would be walking the streets today, leading happy, useful lives, if they had heeded the words… “Live in day-tight compartments.”
In other words: Shut off the past. Shut off the future. Live for today! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for the future; it means you should not have any anxiety about the future. If you fret and worry about the future continuously, you could end up in the nuthouse.
So live one day at a time. Think of each new day as a new adventure — a new life. Tell yourself that it’s going to be the best day of your life. One of the major tragedies of many peoples life is that they keep putting things off. In particular, they put life itself off. They’re always telling themselves that life will be better — after they marry, when they retire, and so on. And as they wait, life passes, and suddenly they discover that it has left them behind. They have forgotten, or perhaps never learned, how to enjoy life, or maybe they’ve been too busy and haven’t had enough time. Life is in the living, and it’s important to learn this. “Today is our most important possession. Don’t throw it away. Cherish it. Live it. Enjoy it!”
Our happiness and peace of mind are determined, to a large degree, in how efficiently we shut out yesterday and tomorrow. Most of your thinking should therefore be directed at what you will be doing between now and when you go to bed.
Happy people don’t allow past failures and problems, or worries about the future, to plague them day after day. If you do, you will likely end up depressed, anxious and frustrated, and that’s no way to live. Remember that today is the most important day of your life. So when you begin drifting into the past or future, bring yourself back to the present as quickly as possible.
Hope for Tomorrow
It’s not that the future is unimportant. It is, and you should prepare for it. Prepare for it, but don’t be anxious about it, and don’t worry needlessly about it. Life is full of problems related to the future: financial problems, worries over your health, worries about getting old. Some of these will come to pass (such as growing old), but many of them will remain nothing more than worries.
So force yourself to remain optimistic about the future, and the best way to do this is to foster hope. Never lose hope; hope encourages you to set goals and strive to accomplish them. It makes you optimistic and gives you faith in the future; it’s the thing that spurs you on. It makes you dream of better things, and it makes you feel good.
Anxiety, on the other hand, depresses and frustrates you. And it can easily get out of control. Anxiety feeds on anxiety — it’s a vicious circle. So get rid of it as quickly as possible, and the way to do this is to fight against all negative feelings and negative thoughts related to the future. Don’t be fearful of the future — look forward to it.