When's the Right Time to Pursue Your Passion? It's Right Now.
A few years ago, for some occasion I don’t recall, my parents bought me a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. I love scotch, especially if it costs north of $200, so I wanted to save it for something special.
I waited and waited. I assumed the right time would come. But the longer it sat, the more it felt like the right time had to be really right.
Then the pandemic arrived. My family and I left our home. That bottle is sitting back in our living room. Who knows when I’ll see it? Really, it might as well not exist.
I turned 40 a few months ago, and my parents bought me another bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue. So this time, I opened it immediately. Pours for everyone! I’ve learned my lesson: If you wait, you may wait forever.
The only time we have is now.
The pandemic has taught this lesson to so many of us, in much more serious ways. People have lost loved ones. Lost jobs. Waited to pursue an idea — a new business, a passion project — and then saw it disappear. We’ve come to learn something that was always true but that has never felt more acute: The only thing we can count on is what we have today.
And you know what? What we have today isn’t so bad, compared to the potential nothingness of tomorrow. It’s a time of new needs and new interests, when people want comfort and solutions. It’s a time to make an impact.
The only time we have is now. We forget that too often.
I was recently talking with an executive from a large company, who was telling me about a challenge with their sales team. The team liked being on the road, meeting clients face-to-face. Now they’re at home and demoralized, wondering: When can we get back to normal? They’re not selling hard anymore. Instead, they’re waiting.
What a mistake. If that’s how this sales team thinks, then that’s probably how many of their competitors think. Imagine it — legions of sales teams, all hibernating like bears in winter. Waiting. Waiting. You know who will win? It’s the sales team that thinks: I’m making the most of today. The winners will realize that they’re not in the traveling sales game; they’re in the relationships game. They’re in the convincing game. They’re in a game that matters ever more today…because the rules were reset, which means they get to redefine them.
If you wait, you lose. If you think there’s only one way to do something, you lose. If you’re biding your time for an opportunity you can’t control or define, then you lose.
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Is now a perfect or easy time? No, of course not. But perfect times do not exist. They only exist in retrospect, when we know how everything turned out. These days, the year 2019 looks pretty amazing. But imagine waking up one morning in 2019 and asking yourself if it was the perfect year. You’d have said no. Why? Because there is no golden age. There are no “good old days.” Every generation looks backward to a time they think was better…and the people who lived in that time were looking backward…and the people who lived in that time were looking backward…
We have to stop that.
People need us now. We can create opportunities now. We have lives to impact, and people to love, and things to build, and whisky to drink, and it’s all now. Set aside regrets. Set aside frustrations. Set aside the past that’s never coming back, and that you remember more fondly than you actually experienced it. What we have is this moment, when we are alive, and we are able, and our future is unwritten, and what more could anyone want, really?
The only time we have is now.