Carpe diem?


If you have ever watched the film “The Dead Poets Society” then you will know this phrase: carpe diem. carpe diem is Latin for “seize the day.”

In other words, enjoy the moment. There are discussions in popular society about time. In traditional discussions, people usually criticize focusing too much on the past or the future. In the business world to focus on the future is more popular; however, the most popular time frame is the present. Mother Teresa once said: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” This approach seems rational. However, there are some other approaches. Peter Drucker, in his famous book “Managing for Results,” said: “The future is not going to be made tomorrow; it is being made today, and largely by the decisions and actions taken with respect to the tasks of today. Conversely, what is being done to bring about the future directly affects the present.” So, there is a struggle between the present and the future.


The things we have to do for today are different, and the things we have to do for tomorrow are different. So what are we going to do?


We can make a simple classification of people with different approaches. There are three types of people: people who live in the past, people who focus on the present and future-oriented people. People who live in the past are probably the inefficient group. They love to remember those good old days, or they constantly question the faults of the past. They cannot live in today.


People who focus on the present might be happy. They are a bit romantic and a bit realistic at the same time. If there is something to enjoy at the current moment, they enjoy, or if there is a current problem they try to solve it. They are romantic because they focus on enjoying the moment; and they are realistic because they adjust themselves according to current reality. However, they don’t prepare themselves for the future.


People who live in the future always think about the future. They wonder about the future; they scan the future for potential problems and opportunities. Thus, they can prepare themselves for the future.


However, it is a good habit to focus on the past, but not to be locked in the past because if we analyze the past, we can make deductions for our future. Besides, focusing on the present is also a good habit. It is not a good idea to get lost in yesterday’s sorrows and in tomorrow’s dreams. We are always in the present, and we have to feel it. Mother Teresa is also right; I believe she calls for action. She means: “Don’t be an idle person. Do something good, and do it now.”


On the other hand, through my life I have witnessed the most successful people are future oriented. Because, what they do today is always relevant to the future. They manage time effectively. In my personal view, the number of problems they experience is always less than ordinary people experience. Why is that? Because people who live in the future are proactive. Before problems appear, they cut off the roots of these problems. Other people perceive them as lucky, because they are always in the right place, at the right time and with the right people. A few people figure out that these future-oriented people planned everything.


In order to enjoy the day, what we have to do is to prepare ourselves for the future. When the future comes, we will be ready for it; and we can have time to enjoy it.

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