The future never happens the way you want it to or picture it.
So how do you deal with the future?
I don’t have the perfect answer. I have what I’ve learned and what I’ve done.
Maybe there isn’t a way to create a perfect future, but there is a way to do the next best thing.
The Counterintuitive Strategy for Building a Better Future
Billionaire business owner Charlie Munger says “he wants to know where he is going to die” so he never goes there. His point being that avoiding stupidity is a better strategy than trying to be smart. He refers to this process as inversion.
The writer and philosopher Nassim Taleb refers to a similar idea known via negativa, which means a life of subtraction. Taleb was an options trader. In his profession, mistakes can be costly. He set up his entire career and life to avoid risks that could cause a level of harm he couldn’t overcome.
Trying to predict the future is futile. Perhaps becoming intelligent enough to build a perfect future is too. Instead, let’s consider removing the ideas, beliefs, and actions that have been known to ruin futures.
I talk about this process in detail in my book. I believe we came into this world perfect, but as time goes on influences around us add layers to our personalities without our permission. The process of reinventing yourself happens when you unravel these layers and remove the ones that don’t fit.
Do any of the following sounds like you? You might be ruining your future without even noticing it…
Use the Future Killing Word
Remove this word from your vocabulary and watch yourself and the world around you change.
Can you guess this future killing word?
I’ll give you a second. Got your answer?
The word is… eventually.
Look, I’m not one of those people who will order you to follow your dreams, but I will say this — one of the few things most people regret in life is their inaction. I’ve launched products that failed and written blog posts nobody read, but I don’t regret those actions. I regretted waiting six years to pen my first words after I considered being a writer. I imagine I’ll regret the things I don’t do more than what I’ve done, which is why I try to remove procrastination when it comes to things I care about or want to pursue.
The thing about the word eventually is that it gives you the comfort of ambiguity. You’ll never know if you could’ve succeeded, which sucks, but you also never know if you could’ve failed.
In the short run, it feels nice to avoid failure, but in the long run, inaction always bites you in the ass. Always.
The long run is like a boxing match. You keep telling yourself “eventually” using it like a jab against your future. You can fend off the future with “eventually” for a while.
Then, in round 12, the future comes and knocks you the fuck out.
You kept saying you’d work out eventually, but now you look up to see you’ve gained thirty pounds.
You said you were going to find a new job eventually, but you just received your ten-year company plaque.
I don’t know what you’re putting off, but it’s waiting for you to lower your guard, and it will crush you.
It will crush you when you look back on your life in its waning moments. Maybe I’m being overdramatic or maybe I’m right.
It’s up to you to decide.