Can You be Driven and Embrace the Moment?

Embrace the moment, a phrase made popular by Tich Nhat Hanh and others, is something most of us think is a good way to live most of the time. I was listening to a clip from Marie Forleo about how you can be driven and zen at the same time and wasn’t quite buying it. Not to put down what she was getting at, which is to embrace the moment, but I’m looking at it from my perspective; from that perspective, whenever I’m driven, no matter what state I think I’m in, it isn’t in the moment.

Being driven, according to the online dictionary, means to be controlled or propelled by something. It has an external control and a compulsive quality that makes it irresistible to the person who is driven.

Most people I know have a dream of how they want their life to unfold.  Some of these people are also ambitious – focused on making their dream a reality. But not everyone is driven to make that dream come true – focused on nothing else, determined to push through any obstacle that may stand in their way. I can be that driven, and when I’m in that place, I’m not anywhere in the present space, or in the moment. I’m in the future focused on the end result, or in the past, making sure nothing that had been a problem remains a problem.

Not everyone who has a dream is driven.  And this is the point. Mindfulness – living mindfully – is the antithesis of being driven.  Tich Nhat Hahn says that embracing the moment, living mindfully, reduces suffering and promotes healing.

Here are three daily practices that can help when we find ourselves driven:

  • Begin with a focus. Choosing what we focus on can greatly change how drive influences us. influences us.  For instance, if I chose to focus n being healthy, then it’s not likely I’m going to stay up until 2am working on a deadline.  Instead, I’ll find ways of getting it done that don’t require any sacrifice to my health.
  • Meditate. 10 minutes in the morning can set up your entire day.
  • Practice momentary mindfulness. Every so often, learn to pause and be mindful for a minute.  Some people do this by setting a timer.  There’s even an app called a mindfulness bell that you can set to ring at random intervals.

Tich Nhat Hanh on Mindfulness


Quote of the Week

I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live. -Tich Nhat Hanh, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations.  For more information, visit my website or contact me directly at


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