Present Tense Future Perfect

Time is a concept that most of us take for granted, but Einstein showed us that it is rather more complex than we think. Many of us have an idea of something which is called a ‘Time Line’, where we place the past at one end of a linear scale and the future at the other.

The other day I heard a slightly corny little verse which got me thinking about all of this.

“The Past’s history,
The Future’s a mystery,
But today is a gift,
That’s why we call it the Present”

I found myself wondering, “When does Change happen?” I’d like you to pause for a second and answer that for yourself….

I put this question to a group I was working with. About half of them answered “In the future”, because they felt they had to think about things, make plans, and then the action happened tomorrow. Others said “Today”.

I would like to suggest that the only possible time that Change can happen is today, and more specifically ..NOW.

As individuals, this is a challenge and an opportunity. If we want to lose weight, then we need to say “No” to that drink or cream cake that is on the bar or table in front of us; if we want to get fit, we need to walk up the stairs now, rather than join a gym tomorrow.

For a company, this is crucial. So many companies begin their Change programmes with consultants, then create some complex plan, whilst, today, it is business as usual… and that is where (and when) the Change program fails, because it is always ‘Business as Usual’ today. Most of us have some experience of the ‘new plan’ being set aside for some crisis, and then never being fully revived.

If you want to make something different happen, you need to do something different.

  • Talk to someone you don’t usually speak to
  • Listen to someone who you usually talk to
  • Go a different route to work, to the photocopier, etc
  • Have lunch with someone new
  • Take time to say “Thank you”
  • (Sincerely) Praise someone for doing a good job

“History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that’s worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.” Henry Ford


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