W.I.N. in Every Moment

What is “W.I.N.” and what does it stand for?

I’ll get to that in a minute, I promise. I assure you, though, that this has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen. (Although if #WINblog would trend worldwide like his outburst did, I wouldn’t complain.)

Before I get to today’s topic, I want to take a moment to share how touched I am by the way my Very Uncommon Wish for 2014 was received. I am honoured that you shared your personal stories with me about realizing benefits in welcoming critics, and I am humbled by the number of people who felt that my words could inspire or benefit others and shared my post with their friends and family. Thank you.

While I received a lot of positive feedback on that piece, I did not receive the comments I actually wished for: criticisms. When I asked some people if they had read it, a few of my more opinionated friends were rather short in their responses. While I am hopeful that for some it was probably just bad conversation timing, a different approach to blogs, or maybe they were digesting an uncommon way of thinking, I have to believe that at least some of them held back criticism of what I had written.

If that’s the case, please don’t hold back. A few days ago, I heard a very intelligent comment. “The person who gains the most out of a debate is the person who loses.” Again, I welcome your feedback on any article on Mark Unleashed. I can handle it.

One of the reasons I can handle it is because I am used to receiving criticism. I wasn’t always good at it, and I still falter at times, but I have a ton of experience. I am my own worst critic, and given my wish, I am therefore also my own best critic. So who better than to make my wish come true than me? And so the idea for this new post was born.

Friday night, sleepless in Montreal, I got to being a critic. What am I doing wrong? What’s wrong with my approach?

While I can certainly blame my sleepless nights on two weeks of trying desperately to get comfortable and sleep with surgical shoes on, the problem is bigger than that. I haven’t prioritized sleep. And it goes beyond sleeping. My time management skills, in general, are lacking. In university, like most of us, I crammed for exams and completed papers in the last hours before it was due (and that was when I didn’t ask for an extension.) Today, the situation is different but the problem is much the same. I wait until the last minute to accomplish things, make arrangements, I spend a lot of time on facebook, with online games (damn you, apps!), and I enjoy my TV shows and sports. I get everything done, but it’s not pretty – and it’s usually at the expense of my health.

While I do not have a solution for Charlie Sheen’s problems, I think I came up with one for mine. And if you’re anything like me, I’m confident this will work for you too.

I call it: “W.I.N.” – What’s Important Now?

It’s 11pm, and I can sit on facebook scanning memes and watching videos or I can go to sleep. What’s important now?

It’s 5pm on a weekday, and I can start another work-related task or I can put it all away because I hear the garage door opening and my daughter is home from daycare. What’s important now?

I can open up the iPad and play some You Don’t Know Jack or Euchre, or I can go shave my head because tomorrow is cleaning day. What’s important now?

It’s the middle of the day, and I’m on fire. Not really, but I’m getting lots of work done and being very efficient. Haven’t eaten anything all day though. What’s important now?

The goal here is pretty simple: get present to what I can be doing with my time that will actually make a difference. What action can I take that supports what I have declared to be important in my life? And what actions might be more appealing in the moment, but actually don’t make any difference.

What’s important now? In all moments, my daughter comes first and my health a very close second, so that I can be there for her.

My wife, my friends, and much more, are also very important to me, and going away to school and having international experiences has left me with friends from all over, in different time zones, on different schedules, and it’s hard to keep up with all of everyone’s news, as much as I want to. But in doing so, I have lost track of my priorities: the people and things who are most important.


What’s important now? I have only been playing with this very simple expression for 2 days and already I find it a powerful call to action.

I invite you to try it on for yourselves. Craft it to your unique circumstances and use it to your advantage.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing those other things in moderation. The trouble, for me at least, is that moderation can only be seen in my rear view window. I still have a lot to learn.

That being said, I am excited by the possibilities that open up when I ask myself this quick, concise, question:

W.I.N. – What’s important now?

P.S. As always, I welcome your comments below. I’m told that finding the place to put them is not obvious, so please look for “Leave a comment” or “# comments”. And, to not miss any new posts, please subscribe at the top on the right.

P.P.S. It’s been 75 minutes since I posted this, and I just did a google search on “What’s Important Now” – turns out I’m not the first to come up with this. Oh well. I had never heard of it before, so it’s new to me (and maybe new to you too?) Still, I hope that this way of thinking serves you well.



  1. The notion of “mindfulness” or being in the present moment because it’s really the only one you’ve got is very trendy right now. So your post is very well timed for me…I am always looking ahead, always trying to get out of the moment I’m in and on to the next thing. I remember when I worked at the local paper, I said something along of the lines of “I can’t wait for the weekend.” And one of my coworkers said, “Don’t say that! What about today? There’s nothing wrong with today.” I need to learn to live in the moment and enjoy it and let tomorrow worry about itself (which is actually echoed in one of my favorite Bible passages), but it is obviously much easier said than done! Thanks for the reminder!!

  2. Wouldn’t it be exciting if mindfulness and living in the now became more than something trendy? I too am still a student of my now moments. It took me many years of living in another mindset to develop what became my thought habits and I realize that it will take me some time and much conscious effort to create new habits to replace those I had perfected. BUT the short time I have spent with that conscious effort applied has changed my life dramatically for the better and so count me in.

    “What’s Important Now?” is something I have played with for a year or two though it has been under a different game title. I have been using “Does it Matter?? Really??” Mark I think you are on to something. Simplifying a moment while exercising decision making skills can be very empowering and I can feel your excitement. I think it would be wonderful to see this idea take shape and become more common than trend.

  3. It saddens me to hear mindfulness and being in the now described as trendy as I actually fully believe that we are experiencing a shift to mindfulness, gradually. I’m an astrologer and the evidence is there. It started in the 60s, lost its way for a while, and we are right in the midst of another shift right now. I try to practice being in the now and choosing that which is most important all the time. Often unsuccessfully but I keep on learning how. I try to stop when my daughters are around and want to talk to me (which is a lot lol) and put my work or whatever aside. And so on and so on. I also like this quote.
    “It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
    ― George Harrison
    This thought keeps me focused.

    I see that I am going to enjoy your blog 🙂

    • Thank you for your comments, Louise. It always feels good to hear from someone who is excited about what I have to offer.

      I look forward to the day that I see things the way you are describing. I feel that the trend is going towards mindlessness, and I’m scared. Social networks are winning over on personal connections and relationships. People are prioritizing the quick and painless response over the intimate connection. We are not considering what motivates our behaviours, we just act.

      The core of my being is fighting the efforts to think positive. I want so badly to be proven wrong.

  4. Great post! I love it. Of late, I’ve been also concentrating on focusing on one thing at a time. So in the spirit of “W.I.N.”, instead of splitting my attention on two things at once, I would focus on one thing. Instead of talking to a friend and texting, just talk to the friend, and give the full attention. W.I.N. is a great question and a great acronym to embody that as well as go deeper to think about whether or not that action is truly important to the core of who you are. Score!

    • Mathieu, thank you for your comments. I had been using W.I.N. as a way to choose powerfully what to do – one thing – with every moment, but from a place of nothing to do and a choice to make. I hadn’t seen the use you mentioned, to powerfully select between competing possibilities occurring in the moment. Thanks!

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