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A Discussion on Digital Media & Communication Trends

Future Focus = Future Failure

In a book I recently read called Peace Is Every Step, by Thich Nhat Hanh, the author requests that you “come to the present moment and find peace and joy.” The quote startled me for a moment because the idea is not an easy task. Essentially the author is asking you to stop worrying about the future. Forget the bills that have to be paid, your meeting this afternoon, your laundry at the dry cleaner and focus on the one task in front of you right now. He does this with the promise that if you can accomplish this one thing then you will find peace and joy. In a world where creativity and technology are becoming associated with constant connection how do you disconnect? In the words of Nike – Just do it!

What is the Benefit?

The benefit is the level of focus necessary to enhance idea creation. As a manager of a team in the creative field, I find that focusing on one task is sometimes the only way that a task can be accomplished or an idea can fully form. It doesn’t mean there are not other times where I am required to multitask, but in order to really connect with the goal I need to turn off email, unplug from the 50 windows open on my computer and focus solely on the project at hand.

Practical Application

Recently, I had a team member lead an event. She was so focused on all of the things that she had to get done that she allowed herself to lose control of the event. What happened is that others jumped in changed processes and the end product was not as cohesive as it should have been. I explained to her that I wasn’t upset that things changed on the fly, but what I didn’t like was that an amazing opportunity for her to be empowered with the confidence that she could direct a complex marketing event was squandered because her focus on the future allowed others to direct the present. Did she lack the knowledge, skills or ability to direct the event? No. The only reason that chaos occurred was due to her future focus.

By stopping yourself from being dragged into the future you can allow yourself to reside in the present moment creating connections with people and contexts that will increase your future value. My grandmother always use to say – “Worrying is like a rocking chair. You move a whole lot, but you don’t get anywhere.” A future focus is similar. It prevents you from getting anywhere.


So give yourself permission in both your work and your personal life to reside in the present. It will make all of the difference in your success, happiness and peace.

When have you missed an opportunity because you had a future focus? Is there a time in your personal or professional life where you used a present focus in order to generate success? Welcome the opportunity to learn from you….

6 comments on “Future Focus = Future Failure

  1. kenyonstanley
    June 16, 2011

    So true. Sometimes all we have is the moment we’re in. If we are so sold on the big picture, then we are prone to quashing or ignoring the pivot points that succesful plans need in order to succeed. It’s not so much remaining task orientated then it is being aware of the process and open to change.

  2. kwgregory
    June 16, 2011

    As a working mom of two, I can’t tell you how much this resonates with me. I needed Hanh’s advice on peace seeking in everyday moments so much. It’s incredibly difficult to be in the present moment when you have 1,000 things on your plate. If I have any regrets, it’s each time I realize I missed an opportunity to slow down and be in the moment with my children. And each time I do seize that opportunity–the opp to be present and trust that life will unfold as it should–i can’t tell you what beauty bubbles up. And I think this is true whether we’re talking about personal relationships, work tasks or career paths. It’s incredibly important to be present in the present moment.

    • kbconway
      June 16, 2011

      Kim – thank you for your heartfelt personal post. It is so true. Being in the present moment is such a difficult and yet rewarding task. #639create has taught me just how important.

  3. kbconway
    June 16, 2011

    Thanks Kenyon for your comment. It is such a hard thing to do, but when we accomplish it we are able to achieve things beyond our greatest potential.

  4. jcshoff
    June 16, 2011

    The funny thing about the future is that it gets here sooner than you think. I spent so many years trying to figure out how to impact my future that I missed out on the present moment. Just like I can’t spend all of my time thinking about the future, I certainly have gotten better at not focusing on the past. Both efforts are just wasted time.

    • kbconway
      June 16, 2011

      Jim – you bring up a great point. Wasting time on the past can be just as detrimental!

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