It is often said that we should "live in the present," but why is that? Pascal Mercier writes, "It is a mistake, a senseless act of violence, to concentrate on the here and now in the conviction of capturing the essence. What would be important would be to move confidently and calmly, with the appropriate humor and melancholy, through the temporally and spatially extended inner landscape that we are."
With that in mind, consider this value-neutral question: How much of your time do you spend thinking about the past, the present, and the future? In other words, how often do you think about the past with nostalgia or relief? How often do you feel like you are really thinking about what you are doing right now? And how often do you imagine what the future might bring, or worry about what is coming for you?
The three examples on the right in the picture can also be read as representative of cultural tendencies. Memory-driven: nostalgiciac Europe. Dream-driven: happiness-oriented America. Reality-driven: entrepreneurial Asia.
You can't change the past. But you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.