Now is Not Forever

When you have a meeting or even a brief chat with your team or other managers (I wont say leaders here) about changes, about plans, about the future are you met with a list of unanswerable questions?

You know the kind; “but what if…?” “don’t we need a detailed plan for…?” “what will happen when…?” Those kind of questions. The kind you can never hope to honestly answer at the point in time.

Well if you apply the FINNA logic of just enough then you very soon get to the position of; its not a problem till its a problem. Most of the things people worry about really don’t happen as they imagine, not many things and situations are ever quite as dire as first imagined. All you have to understand is that the decisions you make today don’t last forever.

Its just not so that the ideas of today, the experiments of today are designed to last forever or at least work for years on end. It seems obvious to say it but circumstances change, after all why have the new idea in the first place if not to address an emerging need? If circumstances change then decisions change. Your decisions therefore do not last forever.

By worrying unnecessarily about the future state and solving all of those impossible to predict problems even before they happen what you’re really doing is finding reasons not to do something, you’re inventing ways and reasons to stop and not move forward. Your product, your service, your career, your team, your business, your future remains on hold, stuck behind a massive pile of imagined obstacles.

Getting new products and services or projects off the ground is difficult enough without inventing ever more obstacles to overcome. FINNA says you have to optimise for NOW and worry about the future when it actually happens.

This doesn’t mean that the future will not happen, of course it will and possibly in a way you haven’t yet thought of. But that’s the thing about optimising for now, cause when change happens you’ll be ready for change. You’ll always be ready for now when now happens by staying in the present and staying close to the product, service or project.

Sounds bizarre I know but what I’m saying is that by staying close to what you’re doing and keeping in mind what you are trying to achieve that you will remain agile and ready to change course almost without notice. You’ll be capable of making those quick and sometimes sweeping changes. By being ready for now as it happens you gain the advantage of speed.

Pay close attention to today and worry about the future later as and when it comes about. If you don’t and you do become fixated, even a little bit, you’ll look back and realise that what you’ve actually been doing is wasting energy, time and often money on fixing problems when they weren’t there in the first place and may never actually materialise.

Associated with this idea that the future hasn’t happened yet is the sense of ASAP. Please don’t confuse the being in the now with constantly demanding everything ASAP. When you get so focused on speed of delivery either to you or from you, you lose sight, everything becomes a priority and nothing is a priority unless its a priority. So do prioritise work and actions by others and yourself but stop treating everything as a priority. ASAP should be banned as a phrase, it serves only to inflate your need to yourself only and actually works in the reverse for those of whom its demanded.Your request for a service is diminished and deflated.

Reserve your need for crisis language for a crisis, relax, you only ever need to act as if there is an immediate crisis when there is an immediate crisis.

Some final thoughts for this post;

When you do have an idea, keep it for a while. Put it in a safe place for the weekend and then go back and have another look at it at the start of the next week to see if its still as great an idea as you first thought it was. Chances are its not actually that great after all.

If however you get to Monday morning and the idea has legs then you have to do something with it. Putting it back in the box for a while longer will make it perish. You have to do something now. By doing something now it probably wont be perfect, there will be questions asked… but remember FINNA tells you these are possible futures not yet happened and you’ll waste energy, time and money addressing them now. You have to get on with what you really do have to do in an imperfect way while you’re motivated to do it. While you’ve been grabbed by the thought of a great future you will work hard, harder than you ever normally work because you are in the moment, you’re working for the pleasure of meeting the needs of now.

All you have to realise is that now is not forever, there will be other ideas and inspirations but whatever you do, don’t waste energy, time and money fixing the non-existent problems of the imagined future.

As always thank you for reading this post.


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