Out of the Moment

There’s a concept most prominent in Asian cultures known as being “in the moment.” This simply means being aware of everything around you and focused on the immediate task in front of you. Here in America, we tend to be doing something today, while we’re thinking about what we should have done yesterday, or what we are planning to do tomorrow. This is not an effective way to get things accomplished, learn, or grow.

As a writer, speaker, movie producer, and columnist, I try at all times to keep my audience in the moment. No matter how powerful the principle being presented may be, a minor distraction can diminish or even erase the message. If there is a grammatical or typographical error in this column, you will inevitably focus on it instead of what I’m trying to communicate.

In addition to a national weekly radio show, I’m part of a local broadcast in my hometown each Thursday. Recently, the host of the program and I were discussing the 20-year anniversary of the death of Princess Diana. I pulled from my memories of two decades ago and discussed the fact that Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died on the same day and how different their histories and legacies are now as we look back at them.

One listener contacted the radio station to let them know that Mother Teresa had died six days after Diana. This listener was correct. My memory was of the news breaking regarding Mother Teresa’s death during Princess Diana’s funeral service. This small discrepancy made that listener miss the overarching powerful message regarding building a legacy and changing the world.

Early in the development of my company the Narrative Television Network, I hosted a talk show called NTN Showcase along with my cohost Terri Harrel who is a very talented actress and media personality. During our talk show, we would interview classic film stars and present points of interest and previews of upcoming movies we would be running on the network. Terri and I typically would tape five shows in a day.

I merely wore a blue suit and changed ties for each show, but Terri had to entirely alter her wardrobe, jewelry, and hair for every program or we would get calls and mail pointing out that she had worn the same scarf or earrings more than once. I was amazed at how easily people could be taken out of the moment, and instead of catching details about upcoming movies or the actors starring in various films, they would pick up on the most minute and trivial aspects of Terri’s appearance.

This kind of minor incident can have an overwhelming impact such as Dan Quayle’s inability to spell potato or Howard Dean’s awkward primal scream during a campaign speech. These inconsequential moments changed their lives and, arguably, the direction of our country.

As you go through your day today, focus on your message, and help everyone stay in the moment.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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