How to Keep Going When You Don’t Know What’s Next
The future can be scary, but there are ways to deal with that fear
We often hear about the power of day one, and are told that getting started is the key to success. But really, the hardest and most vital thing is to keep going.
Anyone can declare themselves a writer, singer, designer, illustrator, and many have real talent. But only a dedicated few can stick with it for months, years, decades. Plenty of people have great ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. But almost half of startups don’t exist after five years.
A reader of my blog recently emailed me: “I want to create something for others,” the person wrote. “I started with a tiny step. It was easy at first. But after that I felt like I lacked inspiration. How do you keep going even if you don’t know what’s next?”
It’s an essential question. Not knowing what’s next is a fundamental condition of human life. Here’s what I do to tackle that challenge.
Focus on today
Much of our anxiety comes from uncertainty about the future. “What will happen tomorrow or in a year from now?” It can be scary. I can tell you that the world won’t blow up tomorrow, but if you’re in the wrong state of mind, you won’t listen to a word I say.
The best thing you can do is to focus on your very next step — right now. What are you going to do next? Not as in, “What’s your next big move?” No. What are you going to do after you’ve read this article?
Look, maybe you’re right. Maybe tomorrow the world will end. Are you really okay with wasting today on crap you don’t control? Make something out of your day. Forget about the past and the future.
Set goals in areas you control
Never give the wheel to someone else. You’re the ruler of your kingdom. You’re in the driver’s seat.
That’s why you’ll want to focus on things you can control. You don’t control the rewards you get. If people don’t want to give you their business, so what? If people don’t want to hire you, so what? When you set goals you don’t have control over, you will think success is impossible. Plus, you will always depend on others for…