Stephan Joppich (aka Leo Sharp)

Don't be in the moment

published27 days ago
3 min read

This newsletter is a fortnightly meditation on living a more intentional, fulfilled life.
Every edition includes exclusive updates, intriguing ideas, and meaningful content recommendations.

Today: The downsides of too much fun and being present all the time.

Hey there!

Have you ever had too much fun?

It might seem like bizarre, privileged question to ask. But I think it's important to investigate it anyway. After all, the pursuit of unlimited happiness is the marching course of the 21st century.

Why else are we trying to be more productive, delegate our tasks to robots, and optimize processes? Quite simply, because we want to have more time. More fun. More ecstasy! (The emotional state, not the drug, obviously.)

But maybe an abundance of fun is not so desirable after all -- at least from my experience.

Let me briefly explain.

Last weekend, I went to the Swedish city of Gothenburg to meet a friend, see a concert, and, finally, visit an amusement park. It was a complete success. On Saturday, I had great conversations, amazing food, and the concert was sprinkled with surprises. There was confetti, sparks, fireworks, and Greta Thunberg. I'm not kidding:

And on Sunday, we went to this place called Liseberg -- one of the top 10 amusement parks in the world. I felt like a child again. I couldn't get enough. Dopamine overload.

But then, suddenly, it was all over. Gone in a flash of time. And there was this element of deep melancholy in realizing that all these beautiful moments were lost forever and we probably didn't enjoy them enough. We weren't present for it all.

Because that's the ultimate goal in life, right? Just be present. Enjoy the ride. And full disclosure, I've also preached this -- and I still do. But it might also be worth looking at the contrary standpoint: Don't be present.

Here's why.

Idea: Don't be in the present moment

At first glance, this side of the coin seemed absurd to me. For all I knew, avoiding the presence meant mindless consumption, distractions, and a life of regrets. But after revisiting The Comfort Book by Matt Haig, I discovered the appeal of not being present all the time.

Matt argues that, by design, we're always in the present. It's impossible to live in the past or future because life is simply a series of moments. One after the other. And so, what gurus actually mean when telling you to "live in the present" is to enjoy the present. To make the most of it, no matter your emotional state.

But let's face it: this is impractical, exhausting, and down-right impossible.

I still remember getting on the most popular roller coaster of Liseberg and thinking, "Okay, focus. Be present. You have to enjoy this." But, of course, that made it worse. Rather than actually being present, I was only thinking about being present.

"The pressure to live so deeply in every moment," Matt writes, "could also make us feel like we have one more thing to fail at." Wise words. My friend actually beat herself up about not enjoying the weekend enough. She was kind of devastated.

But still.

I won't abandon the concept of living in the present. After all, the most fulfilling periods of my life were those when I was there -- really there. So, after weighing off both sides of the spectrum, here's my take:

  • Being in the present doesn't imply you have to enjoy every single moment. Rather it's an invitation to be mindful. To be aware of your senses, what's happening around you, and where you are. To observe. It's like a scientist conducting an experiment. They curiously watch the outcome -- no matter good or bad -- without projecting judgement onto it.
  • Don't try to be present all the time. Instead, nail down a few micro moments throughout your day to be fully present. A few examples: when drinking coffee, when brushing teeth, when leaving a building and inhaling the fresh (or not so fresh) air.

Being present is not another competition you have to win. It's an offer. A reminder to see what life really is: an unstoppable sequence of moments.

Content: My new favorite podcast

I don't think I've ever related this much to a person I don't even know.

Basically, this podcast is a guy in his 30s reviewing sparkling water. But it goes deeper. Joakim -- the host of the show -- gives you a completely unfiltered view into his personal and emotional life while talking about sobriety, loneliness, AI, and the human condition.

To get a good overall impression, I recommend listening to episode 100. You can check it out on Joakim's website or any other podcast platform -- like Spotify.

Something to think about

A quote by Søren Kierkegaard I'm pondering:

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.”

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Until next time,


No new blog posts in this edition because I've been chillaxing for the past two weeks ‍💆‍♂️