‘The old year ends and the new one begins, and with it new opportunities arise. A cycle is closed and a new one opens before me. I will manage to do everything I couldn’t do this year. I will reach all my goals… I will be my perfect me… This coming year will be the one in which I will do everything.’
The future. Human beings are always focused on the future. Oh, the mirage of time! The many hours, the many thoughts, the many hopes people invest in that fake illusion of time! As we plan and think about the future, our mind takes us into a place that doesn’t exist… into the future. We spend many of our real hours there, thinking about how things will be and what we’ll do when those things happen; how we will react and what others will do and how we will react to that as well. We dive so deeply into that future that we can almost feel it as if it were here; as if it were real!
We consider different scenarios and possibilities. We imagine possible outcomes and reactions. We sometimes even see ourselves planning the following future to come!
And often times, that looking into the future comes together with worry, concern and doubt. What if something doesn’t work the way we want it to? What if something fails? What if I prove to be not good enough? The worry accumulates and grows into stress which can easily evolve into anxiety.
Then, pouf! the future vanishes as we return to the present; as we look around and somehow realize that we’re still here! All that planning, all that dreaming, all that imagining just goes pouf! Only the bitterness of stress, worry and anxiety remains in the pit of our stomach.
Or even worse… you plan, dream, imagine, suffer… only to discover that when the time finally comes, reality has nothing to do with what you had in mind. All those wasted hours!
When letting yourself be carried away by your dreams and plans, not only are you investing your energy and efforts in something that doesn’t exist, you’re also wasting the real time in your current hands. When wondering about all the ifs and whats that are not here yet, all that energy turned worry will be wasted instead of used to create something here now. Everything you focus on in the future is nothing but a big mirage. Every minute you devote to planning or organizing is nothing but an illusion. A powerful illusion indeed, as we’ve so often been told that “serious and capable people” always plan ahead. I would like to rephrase that for you today, if I may…
“Serious and capable people” work on the now to produce a tomorrow. Whenever you want your future to be better, you need to work on the now, as your only real capacity to act is in the here this moment, before it goes and becomes the past. The present is the only reality that truly exists. Any time and effort devoted to doing something later will constitute energy thrown into the big vacuum of non-existence.
Good managers and executives know this paradox. The only planning that truly works is the one implemented today, the one in which action is taken now to bear fruit later. What is done can’t be undone but what is to be done, doesn’t exist yet. Every time you or your subordinates focus on what needs to be done later instead of doing whatever it is that can be done now, nothing is gained and time and energy are wasted.
The only real planning that bears fruit is the one that acts in the now. Next time, then, devote little time to organizing what is to come and a lot to doing whatever it is you can right now to improve the today that will pave the way for the tomorrow. Dreaming is great as long as your feet are solidly placed in the here and the now and you devote your time to building the present instead of letting the fear of future blow you away.
And don’t forget to enjoy life… ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart – humanology – www.jessicajlockhart.com
Jessica J. Lockhart is a humanologist, bestselling author and renowned international speaker. Follow her here: