To get into the frequency of this essay, we should ideally have quickly touched on a series of interconnected subjects. But since we don’t have that luxury at the moment, I believe it would be useful to spend at least 20 seconds picturing each of the following questions in your mind and answering them. This will allow us to fast forward our conversation to a deeper level of intuition:
- When you think of the life you would like to have, do you think of how you will get it or of when?
- When you think of the person you want to be, do you think of how you will become that person or when?
- Do you have a goal, a project, an objective that you would like to accomplish. Are you thinking of how you will get there or of when?
- Think of your own happiness, is it based on how you will be happy or on when?
- We live in a society where most people are doing what they want to do, being who they want to be and feeling the happiness they want to feel. Can we agree that this is not the case?
- Could we agree that us humans will always have needs and wants that we want to satisfy, because as soon as we satisfy one, a new one is automatically created?
Part 1- It’s not a matter of how, but a matter of when.
If we are constantly satisfying our needs and are creating new needs, can we expect for needs that are easy to satisfy to be more easily satisfied than needs that are harder to satisfy?
If the answer is yes, then as we satisfy easy needs, should we expect the pile of harder needs to get bigger? In other words, could we say that a need that is easily satisfied requires little resources and knowledge to satisfy and a more difficult need requires more knowledge or resources to satisfy? If we agree, we could summarize it as: Easy needs have easy how’s, difficult needs have difficult how’s.
Now, I would find it safe to assume that we prefer to do easy things to hard things because they require less resources and less knowledge from us. For example, a nurse may find it easier to extract blood from a patient than to draw a picture on a paper and the opposite can be true for a painter. So to be more precise, for each person’s particular situation, we are more motivated to do things that we know and come more naturally to us (easier) and less motivated to do things we don’t know and don’t come naturally to us (harder).
This means that through time, things that require more energy and knowledge are harder to start and to get done. Can you see how in the long run, this can easily lead anyone to avoid doing things that require the minimal amount of conscious effort, because we can simply do something that doesn’t require effort?
The “how” is a demotivator
Thinking of how makes us look at something and say: “too complicated for me right now” and switch to do something else. Only to look back a week, a month, a year, a decade later and say: “I wish I had taken the extra 2 minutes to do that, I wish I had done the right thing, I wish I had just tried, I wish I had not wasted that time.”
What’s the problem with how?
- When there is something you want to do but that you don’t know how to do it, it’s very easy to say: Yes I want to do that, but how? And leave it there.
- When someone asks you why you didn’t do something, you can simply reply: “I didn’t know how”.
- It’s just very easy to go around with the excuse of: “but I don’t know how, if I did, I would do it!”. It’s not illegal and a perfectly accepted reason in our society today.
I’m here to ask you when.
If people ask how will you be happy, how will you become the person you want to be, all kinds of elaborate, detailed, confusing and complicated formulas start popping up in your head. Instead, I want to ask you when. When will you be happy? When will you become the person you want to be? The answer should be pretty simple; as soon as possible? Tomorrow? Now?
Let’s dig into the now. You want to be the person you want to become right now. Why are you not that person? Because you don’t go out enough, don’t study enough, don’t try enough, etc? The “how” comes much easier when we first focus on when.
Thinking of “when” doesn’t give you all the answers, but it gives you a starting point. Of course, if you want to become someone, acting like that someone for one day doesn’t make you BECOME that person; it will be tested through the un-forgiveness of time. Therefore, the next question should be: how do I know that I have become the person I want to be? Give yourself a deadline or put a date by which you should have done the “how’s” you want to do… And then you will see the amount of time you have to become that person. Then, just take each “how” and split it through that time you chose and make it a point to do it regularly. Anyways when you get there, you won’t need confirmation, you will feel it.
Here is a more visual example:
- Who do I want to become? I want to become a more sociable person.
- When? Now.
- How? Sociable people socialize with other people. I need to socialize with people.
- What can I do now? I will socialize with someone today as a first step.
- How will I become? Socializing one day doesn’t make me a sociable person, a sociable person socializes with people all the time.
- How do I know I have become? So, I would consider myself a sociable person if in 2 months I am regularly socializing with people.
- Split it through the time you decided. I would be satisfied with myself by socializing with people twice a week and would be an extremely sociable person if I do it 5 times per week. If I reach my satisfaction, I will proudly call myself a sociable person.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking of how, quickly! Think of “WHEN”, before you look sideways.
Part 2- Predicting the future
Let’s play a little game. Try to fill the missing numbers on these four scenarios. You should be able to easily do this with your mind:
- A) 1 2 _ 4 5 _ _ 8 _ 10
- B) _ _ 000_0 1 2 3 _ 5 _ 7 _ 9 _
- C) _ _ 01 0 0 0 2 _ 0 _ 3 _ _ 0 4 0 _0_ _ 00 6 _ _ 0 7 _ _0_0009 _ _ _ 10
- D) _ 0 _ _ _ _ 0 1 _ _ _ _ _ 0 2 _ _ _ 0 _ _ 3 _ _ _ 0 _ _ _ _ 0 _ _ _ _ 5 _ _ 0 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ _ _ _ 7 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 0 _ 9 _ _ 0 _ _ _ 10
Were you able to complete it? Do you like any scenario better than the other ones just by intuition?
The game represents 4 simple time sequences for an imaginary project. You have a project that requires 10 steps to complete it. You can do a maximum of one step per day.
- If you do one step every day, you complete it in 10 days.
- if you wait 7 days to start, then logically you will only complete it in a minimum of 17 days.
- If you do one step every 3 days, you will complete the project in 30 days.
- If you do one step per week, it will take you 10 weeks or 2 months and a half.
Now what do most people do when they say they want to do something? They talk like option A. Then, they plan to start like Option B. Then, they run into something unexpected and re-plan like option C. They Start like option D. How do they end up? In one of the two following options:
- E) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3…..
- F) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0…..
Then they wonder how I was able to tell from day 2 where they were going to be in 2 months. And what happens when in day 3 I tell them where they are heading? They get mad, complain, say I am judging them, that I don’t believe in them and that it won’t be like that. Then what happens? They do it over and over again. Because, they get stuck in the how and don’t see the urgency of the WHEN.
Let’s go back to the game… Option A is 7 times faster than option D. That means that a person who does things like A will do in about 10 years the equivalent of what a person who follows the D option will do in 70 years. What if this was money. How do you think some people make more money in 10 years than other people make in a lifetime?
When, when, when, when? You want to: get, do, become, feel something? When? Not how will you do it, when will you do it! Your past speaks for itself and if you are doing things like most people, now you know exactly where you are heading… What’s the way out? Option B. Stop the 0s and start taking action. And how do you take Action? By defining the WHEN.
Not convinced? Here are a few more common examples:
Bob tells Paul that he will start his own business and gives him a quick summary of the business.
11 months later they meet again and:
Paul: “How’s your business coming along?”
Bob: “I’m still in the planning phase…”
Albert tells Jenny that he is looking for a job but there are no jobs in the market.
Jenny: “How long ago were you laid off?”
Albert: “4 months ago.”
Jenny: “How many jobs have you applied to so far?”
Albert: “to 3 jobs.”
Jenny: “wow it’s really tough out there. How many hours do you search for a job every day?”
Albert: “What do you mean? I only started applying this month, the first month I was doing my resume; my friend took a really long time to help me create it. Then my uncle took really long to help me revise it also and now I send out my resume on Tuesdays.”
The “I don’t like my job.”
Alex and Joe work at the same workplace and meet in the hallway.
Alex: “Hey Joe, how are you today?”
Joe: “You know, another day another dollar, I really gotta find something in my field.”
Alex: ”You should, have you started looking?”
Joe: “I gotta re-read my books first, then start looking.”
Alex: “You should look at the same time you go over your books, you never know! Alright, got to go, see ya!”
4 years later they meet at a shopping mall.
Joe: “Hey Alex, what’s up!”
Alex: “Joe! good to see you. How’s life?”
Joe: “Meh same old, still at the same place, not much has changed.”
Alex: “What about getting back to your field?”
Joe: “I’m gonna do it man, it’s just one thing leads to another you know, but yeah I gotta get around to it.”
Alex: “You know, it’s been four years, at this rate you will be nowhere in 8 years.”
Joe: “All right I didn’t say hi to you so you come judge me. See you around…”
The only thing that makes the difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful person is action. Successful people take a MASSIVE amount of actions towards their important goals. Unsuccessful people find a tremendous amount of excuses for why they are the victims of the world.
Part 3- Scaling the formula
Ok, enough about you or me. Let’s take this a step further. What differentiates the possible form the ridiculously impossible? Think of something you think would be completely impossible and keep it in mind for later. Anything, just do it… Really…
In part 2, we explored how we can use historical evidence to predict the future. The more history we have, the better. This method is so powerful, that we can come up with some really crazy ideas if we apply it to a larger scale.
Let’s look at our civilization.
- At some point, the thought of a car was an impossible dream. Let alone be the first person to imagine a car. Today we have millions.
- Flying was a fantasy.
- The idea of having a conversation with someone at the other side of the planet through a cell phone that sends invisible wireless signals that get to the other person in less than a second could have gotten you burned alive at some point in time.
- At some point we were really convinced that Earth was flat and that we were the center of the world, embarrassingly enough, some people still believe that.
- How would you explain to Natives that we landed on the moon?
- Go back to the 18th century and explain to those living at the time, that a computer would be able to hold all the books of all the libraries in the world in a few inches of space.
- The Microwave?
But these are all old examples. Let’s look at some more exciting examples from the younger generation:
- The flying car now exists. It’s not about how we will get private flying transportation like we have cars, it’s when…
- Mind controlled bionic limbs are here. It’s not about how we will become enhanced cyborgs, but when…
- Cloning is old news. Now we can print guns and living organs in 3D. It’s not about how you will have a 3D printer at home that prints food, clothes and most of what you need, it’s when…
- Artificial Intelligence is just around the corner. Hello I Robot, Ex Machina, Iron Man and so many more AI sci-fi movies.
- Your electronics can listen to you and record sound and video without you knowing it.
- There are now blind people who see. Paralyzed people who move, deaf people who hear.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Technology moves faster than ever before and is always going to move faster than ever before. So if now it is fast, tomorrow it will be faster and then faster. Where are we going?
How long do you think until we find a way to become invisible? Not sure I will see it in my lifetime, but it’s bound to happen. 1000 years you think should be enough? Maybe.
Now, let’s look at a subject that has been painted by ridicule: Aliens… What about the possibility of an Alien civilization being 1000 years older than ours. Could they be invisible to us if they wanted to? It’s as simple as that…
Let’s take it further. Could veins be the cables of the future? The brain be some sort of extremely advanced programmed hard drive? The human eye is only capable of perceiving a minute portion of the wavelengths which we call colors; meaning that we are incapable of seeing most colors that exist. Could this have been programmed? Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Oh wait, that last phrase sounds familiar…
Ok, let’s go wild. I am a Harry Potter fan. What if, like we have done for the computer, we are capable of reducing electronic components to be so small as to make a wand. What if we are able to fit a microwave generator into this wand that we guide simply by pointing the wand. What if we can mind control the wand so that it generates the microwaves where it is being pointed at? Hmmm… We have microwaves, we have electronics and we have mind controlling. Harry potter may be closer to reality than you may think… Forget the microwave… show me fire, a lazer, electricity, whatever…
And don’t get me started on the speed of light, time travel and different dimensions. How, I don’t care… Tell me WHEN!!!!! I’ve had enough, this article has turned ridiculous.