One of my fondest memories of childhood is playing ludo with my grandmother. It was quite impossible to beat her at the game, which made me want to keep playing till success was on my side. One summer, about 9 years back, she was visiting us. Just like every afternoon, my sister eagerly set up...
One of my fondest memories of childhood is playing ludo with my grandmother. It was quite impossible to beat her at the game, which made me want to keep playing till success was on my side. One summer, about 9 years back, she was visiting us. Just like every afternoon, my sister eagerly set up the ludo board for the three of us. I decided that some background music would be perfect so I grabbed the laptop and played a song and sat down to start the game. I was slightly taken aback when my grandmother immediately asked me to turn it off. “It’s not too loud, nano”, I defended. “No. One thing at a time” she replied. “If you’re going to play, give it your full attention and listen to music later”. Knowing that reasoning with her would have offended her and she would have refused to play, I agreed at the time.
That phrase she used was something she would often say and I would internally disapprove. Doing one thing at a time isn’t exactly practical or even possible now, is it? Multi-tasking is essential and we often have to juggle multiple chores or meet a number of goals in a limited amount of time. It was later that I truly understood what her advice translated to.
Firstly it made me realize the importance of being truly present as our minds are rarely completely present in the current moment. It makes us miss out on so many precious feelings, emotions, sights and sounds. Having our thoughts and attention consistently diverging makes us disconnected with the moment that we’re in. Whether we’re engulfed by our smartphones or overwhelmed by our thoughts, our bodies are present but our minds are not. My grandmother’s advice taught me to live more in the moment and the importance of mindfulness. I learned to truly cherish the times that I have with my family, my friends, nature and myself. So no, there’s nothing wrong with putting on some music while you play a board game. But I experienced that being mentally present in a moment makes it all the more special and makes one feel more connected, focused and fulfilled.
The advice also pertains to how one can deal with having too much on a plate. When there’s a lot to do, one must take it one step at a time and feel less overwhelmed. Following this has allowed me to become more organized, self-aware and appreciative of my surroundings. I have become better at focusing my energy and attention on a task and give it my best acquiring the ability to eliminate distractions and savor the moments. Following the advice of my grandmother, I learned to get more work done by clearing up mental clutter and giving my best to the task at hand.
I lost my grandmother 6 years ago but remembering her advice still makes me feel connected to her and even more connected to the people around me.