“This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” Alan Watts

Paying attention to the present is something many of us struggle with. This is often because we’re either anxious about our past or our future. Although we disengage with the present moment, our brain is still functioning and coming up with ideas.

When making plans, we can easily forget that life unfolds in the present. If we want to play for success, we need to be in the game today. Play doesn’t necessarily mean that we take life less seriously, all it means is that we look to engaging with it in our natural state.

Getting into the zone of mindfulness and succeeding in the moment, can be learned with some of these tips.

Cultivate mindfulness

Mindfulness involves our thoughts as they are. Welcoming and observing our thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Buddhists often call our minds “monkey minds”, because we swing from thought to thought, like a monkey swinging from tree to tree.

It’s important to know that you are not your thoughts; you can still accomplish more in life than you realize! LeBron James, one of the best basketball players of all time, is known to practice mindfulness to improve his game.

Practicing mindfulness is something we need to work on every day, and deliberately cultivate. It will boost our immune system, reduce stress and improves our focus and memory. When playing for success… mindfulness is a powerful practice.

Choose to enjoy what you do

Seeing work as a fun, fulfilling exercise rather than a required, tough obligation will help you thrive in your everyday life. Instead of thinking too much about the future and watching your work pile up, you can focus your energy and creativity on being proactive and productive.

Learn to do one thing at a time. Multitasking may make you feel more productive but focussing, and engaging more deeply with the task at hand can help retain information in working memory. The best golfers may visualize where they want the ball to land but then they focus on hitting it.

A happy mind helps you enjoy the accomplishments that come from your work and equips you to handle problems without them overwhelming you. It’s also far easier to save or budget money for things that matter and avoid making reactive or emotionally charged decisions when you choose to enjoy what you do.

Dream about the future, work for it today

What you want to achieve in the future is important, but it’s not helpful to live in the future – keep the dream a dream and be awake in the present. What matters is the work you’re doing now, otherwise your dreams will never come to fruition.

You may dream of buying a car for your child’s 21st birthday – but this will happen later. For now, be present in the time you have with your loved ones and do the work that’s needed today.

Often we will find that the more we focus on being mindful and choosing to enjoy what we do, the easier it will be to focus on the opportunities and expectations in front of us and succeed in them.

A relaxed, successful behaviour begins with a relaxed, success-focussed mindset.