Jan 31, 2017

What’s Now: Asking “What’s Next?” Won’t Help

In a world of uncertainty, it doesn’t matter what’s next. All that matters is WHAT’S NOW.

Over the past few weeks I have caught myself asking, “What’s going to happen?”

I feel anxious about the political uncertainty in the United States and abroad, and how these changes will affect the economy (as well as basic rights and freedoms). I wonder about disruptive technologies, and what’s the next frontier with artificial intelligence and automation. I try to read the signs to determine my path to success, because everything feels chaotic.

The more I ask “What’s next?” the more I get sucked into the vortex.

Unaware of it, I created a daily ritual surveying all the major media outlets to figure out what’s happening. I look to the left, the right, and a few points in between. I don’t trust any source on its own so I look at everything. But this is a colossal time suck that only amplifies my unease.

Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, calls this “outrage porn.” He explains, “Rather than report on real stories and real issues, the media find it much easier (and more profitable) to find something mildly offensive, broadcast it to a wide audience, generate outrage, and then broadcast that outrage back across the population in a way that outrages yet another part of the population. This triggers a kind of echo of bullshit pinging back and forth between two imaginary sides.”

Yes! That’s exactly how I feel. And it’s not just with politics. It’s with technology, business, and the economy. Everything is amplified in a way that forces us to fixate on “what’s next?”

WHAT’S NEXT does not matter! All that matters is WHAT’S NOW.

WHAT’S NOW is the mantra. It’s not just a question, it’s a call to action:

  • What can you affect right now?
  • What matters right now?
  • What can you do right now?

These questions apply equally to your life and work. You have today. You have opportunities and challenges. You can make choices. “What’s now?”

Yes, you can fixate on the future and what may (or may not) happen, but that’s another form of procrastination. The media wants your attention. Every moment you spend stressing out about things outside of your control is a wasted opportunity. You have the power to make a real difference right now.

The actions you take now will impact your future. Pick up the rallying cry, WHAT’S NOW!

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