All that matters is this moment. Not what happened in the past. And not what your imagination is making up of the future.
As the buddhists say, there literally is nothing other than this very moment. It's abstract and difficult for us overthinking apes to grasp. But it's true.
When we plan ahead we forget about now.
Most of what happens to us is random. Nassim Taleb proves this over and over again in Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan and Antifragile. We're post rationalising creatures and, no, we do not like to think that we don't have control over our destiny. So we make plans. New Year's resolutions. Monetary goals. Material goals. Success goals.
But if life is just luck (good and bad) and all that exists is this moment then what's the point in planning ahead like that?
Nassim Taleb argues that $1 million earned as a dentist is not the same as $1 million earned as a rockstar because success as an artist depends much more on chance. If you imagine a game of “career roulette,” you end up a starving artist 99 times for every time you end up a rockstar. If you want to minimise the chance of bad luck, he says, be a dentist. There are no “starving dentists.”
Dentists probably aren't sitting making financial goals today. But us entrepreneurs and creators are. Our trajectory leans more on chance than we ever let ourselves believe.
So while this article really is about being in the present, for Ronnie, it is inextricably linked to work.
“Strategic Planning” is Just Superstitious Babble
- Nassim Taleb
Same with life planning. So be in the moment. Work hard and luck might find you.
But don't waste this moment in favour of something better in the future. There's every chance it'll be less special than your fantastical imagination is making you believe today.