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The Tyranny of the NOW

We live in an age of instants. Instant coffee, instant milk, instant music, instant weight loss, instant gratification. “It’s now or never!”, “Last chance to win great bargains!”, “If not now, when?” are phrases we are bombarded with constantly every day. Our culture predisposes us to act first, ask questions later. We are constantly encouraged, nay, pressured, to live lives of action. We are constantly told that NOW is king, that if we move NOW, we have first-mover advantage, that if we hesitate, we will lose that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which may never show up again. Even when we know, deep down inside, that it is not a good idea to move NOW, we are often swept away helplessly by the NOW current, often into the swirling eddies of situations we wish we could get out of, but which continually suck us down again with unremitting force. No wonder so many people feel hopelessly pressured! No wonder we feel as if we are living under a tyranny! Is there a way out of this?

buy-now-606685_960_720Now, I am not suggesting in any way that indecisiveness, procrastination, slothfulness or timorousness should be encouraged! It is clear that qualities like decisiveness and discernment, for example, are certainly most desirable, as are boldness and firm commitment to success. Many people, however, feel a sense of helplessness when presented with decisions they have to make NOW. I would like to share a few pointers that would help in the decision-making process.

Strategy. What are your business and life goals? Yes, you have heard this many times before, but perhaps you have never really been clear as to what they really are. What is YOUR definition of success? What does it look like? What does it sound and feel like? If your goals are clear, how are you going to achieve them? Our vision may change as we grow, and our strategy may change in order to be in step with our vision, but work on a strategy we must. It is our strategy that influences our conscious and subconscious actions, where we spend our discretionary time and other resources, and shapes our priorities every day. If you are not very clear as to what your strategy for your business AND your life is, deliberately allocate time to work on it. You will find, I am certain, that it is time well spent!

Timing. The right timing is of paramount importance. Everything may look right when you are considering a business venture, for example, but if you time it wrongly, you are courting disaster. There are times when you MUST act NOW, and there are times when you must be patient, wait for an opening, which you might be engineering yourself, and fall like lightning upon your objective when the opening presents itself. The economic conditions might be good, you might have first-mover advantage, no one else can provide what you offer, but if the sentiment of the population is not right at that particular time due to a certain season or due to other factors, your big launch might turn out to be your biggest flop. EXERCISE your right to act with decisive vigour, at the time of YOUR choosing!

Refuse! Say NO! Most of us are brought up to be nice and to say “Yes” to almost anything. Such a mindset makes us helpless prey to any money-making scheme that comes along. It also puts us in a pretty pickle when we are faced with choices that are in conflict with our own values, corporate or personal. To salve our consciences, we attempt to justify our choices when they are in conflict with our values, perhaps with thoughts akin to “It won’t do much harm”, “It’s just a little bit, no one will mind” etc. Decide to refuse any business dealings that force you to compromise on your values, and you will be in a much stronger position for business growth and constant profitability. Make sure that your leadership team, your colleagues, your constituents, all agree to uphold what your organization holds to be true and right, and support each other in deciding to uphold what is true and right when faced with those choices.

no-to-nowSo, get your strategy right, decide on what the right timing is and stick to it, and refuse any business dealings which cause you to stray from your organization’s core values. It will propel you to significant greatness. And remember, the best way to to deal with the tyranny of the NOW is to remove the “double-U turns” of confusing dilemmas by having the strength and the KNOW to say NO. And the subsequent freedom to say YES.

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