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Why We Get Stuck in the Present

Why We Get Stuck in the Present

Did you get your salary last month? Are you waiting for salary this month? How about next month? How about the month after next month? For most employees, the salary is a “trap” that gets them stuck in the present. They have no plans for the future and if they do have a plan it’s strung around their current state and job.

This trap extends to leaders. A 2018 report by Michael E. Porter and Nitin Nohria, published in Harvard Business Review, analyzed the calendars of twenty-seven CEOs over a full quarter. On average, they had thirty- seven meetings per week, which took up seventy-two per cent of their time.

As overwhelmed by the stresses of the present as they are, where can these over-pressed leaders find the time to think about the future? The stresses of the present are palpable; we feel them in our bodies as we scramble to deal with them, while the threats and opportunities of the future are just ideas.

You should always seek opportunities beyond the current job or business because growth today does not foretoken growth tomorrow, even if you are the most valuable employee or company in the world.

I love how Sandi Peterson, a former vice-chairman of Johnson & Johnson who currently sits on the board of Microsoft, puts it, “People do get lulled into thinking that the future must be fine because they’re making their quarters.”

Your consistent salary or business income could be gone in a split second if you haven’t been building new platforms and opening up new markets, laying the groundwork for a future that is likely to be as different from the present as the present is from the past.

When you are thinking solely in the short term, you are by definition blind and complacent.

Learn to set aside time for the future regardless of how demanding and busy you are currently. If you are an employee don’t work all the weekends, slow down. If you are a leader delegate some work to allow you time to think and act on the future.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Exactly what I need to know and start doing… this is really helpful. Thank you!!!

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