This is probably one of the most seemingly cliched pieces of advice in the world, but that’s probably because we all forget the truth of it until we do it, so we have to keep reminding ourselves! The truth of “do it now” sunk in for me years ago, when I said something to a friend – meaning to make a joke – and then realized my trivial witticism was actually a profound truth. I was at a video store with my friend Eric, and he had an armful of movies. We had been in the store for about an hour and he was destroying one of my pet theories about selecting movies in a video store, which went something like: One person will take 5 to 10 minutes to make a selection, two people will take 10 to 20, three will take 20 to 40, and so on. Eric had taken about 45 already, without my help. I was ready to go, and getting impatient. I tried to help him make a selection, and he responded by saying “I think I’m going to put this Kurosawa film back for now. I’d rather watch it when I have more time to enjoy it”. Totally meaning to snark, I pointed up his logical fallacy. “But Eric” I said, “every moment you’re alive, you have less time than you did the moment before. Do it NOW”. And then we looked at each other in amazement, as if some voice beyond had spoken through me with universal wisdom. Of course, we had had a few drinks earlier, so that may have impacted our ability to be impressed with ourselves, but truths are truths, even if martinis are involved.
So like anyone else, I still get bogged down by my own planning and pondering, but I make a conscious effort every single day – at least once – to ask myself the seemingly silly question “Am I here right now?” I’m surprised by how often that question still makes me realize I’m thinking about ten things that aren’t the thing I’m doing. There are of course times when I don’t ask myself that question. And those times are mostly when I AM finally doing what I’m doing. Because one of the coolest results of doing the next right thing – as opposed to THINKING about doing the next right thing – is that you end up in that happy groove, where you don’t even realize how happy you are, because you’re so happy, So why are you still reading? Go do the next right thing and find that happy place.