The Power of the Present Moment and the Secret to Accessing It

Freddie Collins via Unsplash

The heat of few remaining game time, the execution of the most critical shot, the knockout punch slipped in perfect timing, the one picture-perfect kick to the goal that would end the entire season -all these in our favorite games, fueling our spirits, and pumping our blood with intense adrenaline. Such is the terrific effects of today's sports. It always amazes me how our favorite heroes of the game (some along with their teams) pull off the winning moves that will forever be written in legend.

As a fan of combat sports myself, I went on a journey to model the habits, mentality, and sometimes diet (working on it) of my favorite combat sports athletes. Doing this took some deep research, and that was the easiest part.

What I found out that surprised me though, alongside their hard work and the intense focus to a goal, is their "state" during the exact fighting moment.

The first time I've heard of it, it felt overwhelming, not to mention, mentally immeasurable. How am I supposed to attain this fabled "state" that took my heroes to victory?

To attain real progress, I took some little footsteps - little lessons from them that would guide me as I train and condition myself. There's one athlete I admire intensely for his personality who said, "When I am in the cage, I feel nothing. I am free." Also, another one said "Some fighters can hit harder than me, some are faster than me, but there ain't no one who could make adjustments like me." It seems that the "state" that they are talking about - being free and making instant adjustments - are surprisingly sensitive to the present moment. Pretty much like Bruce Lee when he said: "Be like water."

We're getting some real progress now. These two athletes along with intense training and focus, are talking about the right "state." Then we've just found out that the "state" is deeply connected with being one with the present moment.

So now, the next step is how? How do we align ourselves with the present moment? And is it scientifically proven, or just another mumbo jumbo?

Good thing we've got some pretty promising answers from two books: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

How to be in the Present Moment

To be one, then, with the present moment, Eckhart Tolle recommends one very underestimated physiological technique: breathing.

Take time to notice default movements when you are about to undertake a daunting task; observe your breathing -or  to put it more accurately, your non-breathing. Commonly in these moments, we are not being attentive actually, but holding our breaths, waiting for the inevitable. We are in a state of tension -reactive and not creative, which I believe is not a very good way to win. Let's go the other direction and remember to breathe then. Through this, we will instantly attain the right state.

Constantly, slowly, and deeply breathe.

The Power of the Present Moment

The final question is: how does this work? Is there any biological explanation to this? Well, in any sport or fight game, we can all agree that every second counts, and the winning keys are actually done in the golden split seconds. The right strategy is constant capitalization of the split-second opportunities, and we can only do this by shutting the rational side of the brain whenever in the heated moment.

In his book, Mel Robbins explains that this side is responsible for holding back the "right" (or in our case game-winning) immediate actions. It follows that you can only do this by being in the right state -being one with the present.

She even discussed that it takes only five seconds to do something you have to do against some odds because after this, the rational mind will already start to take over. That's a generous allowance after all!

Stay always present or at least work on it for five seconds, and you can perform like your favorite athletes! This, with the proper training and conditioning, of course.


"The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That's all there ever is."

Eckhart Tolle

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