I’ve learned to place an importance on being present, rather than letting my mind wander to something or somewhere else. It hasn’t been easy, as it involves self-discipline, and lots of it. I used to wish I was anywhere else than where I was at, because I didn’t enjoy my work and I didn’t like who I had become. I thought that if I could escape my reality, then I might be able to escape my funk. I thought that if I could be somewhere else, then I could maybe find happiness. But the problem with this mentality was that I quickly found there’s never anything satisfying enough to quench the search for true happiness from the outside. This is because once you reach your idea of happiness, then something else will appear that’s more shiny and the natural response will be to want the next new thing.

Please know that happiness comes from within, not from other people or fancy things. I made that mistake, and it’s something that I’ve learned from. In fact, it has been the most important lesson I’ve ever learned. Before this moment of clarity, I knew I had to make a mental shift, and since making the change, I’ve been better for it.

So, if you’re wondering how I did it, here’s my advice to anyone trying to be more present: I’ve stopped comparing myself to others, and instead have lived my life to the best of my own ability. I’ve stopped chasing money, and have instead chased impacting people. And I’ve stopped mixing focused work with focusing on relationships. I have found that when you say you’re going to be with people, you should fully be present with them. And when you say you’re going to work, go work. But, don’t mix the two. Most people appreciate the amount of focus you place on them, even more than the amount of time you spend with them.

Choosing to focus on being present is also important because in many ways, mentally being anywhere else than where you are right now is selfish. It robs precious time and focus from your relationships. Thinking of this fact also helped me be present, even when everything else in life seemed a little chaotic.

In the end, you have to ask yourself, “What do I want to be known for?” Personally, I want to be known for building great relationships and being present. When you know what you want to be known for, you can begin building your life around those things.

Ideas of who you want to become won’t actually become a reality until your actions meet those ideas.

Originally published at medium.com