When in doubt, choose the future

“Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.” – Larry Page, co-founder of Google

The above quote also applies to individuals.

There used to be a time when a person could make a fine living, not by creating anything, but just by pushing pieces of paper around. Those days, thankfully, are gone. These days, you’re either creating something interesting and useful, or you’re fast approaching irrelevance.

Last week my brother, almost out of college, mentioned to me that he’d been considering the topic of “I’m trying to figure out what I want to do”. He put forth his options: sticking to the tried and true path, or taking an uncommon path.

My response was: when in doubt, choose the future.

What I meant was that you will succeed over time by taking the safe path, but it won’t take you anywhere interesting; making you irrelevant over time. Whilst the uncommon path positions you in the future, with a blank slate to start with.

Of course, choosing the future is one thing; you actually have to love what you do. It’s important to understand that having passion for something will drive you through the ups and downs, it will propel you to dig deep and figure out a path forward:

Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

And suffer you will. So, it isn’t so much about what you’re passionate about, but what you’re obsessed with.

Never let the practical get in the way of the possible. It’s practical to focus on what you can do right now. But give yourself time in your life to wonder what is possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.

We’re at maybe 1% of what is possible, while what’s done is done; and frankly optimizing the present isn’t that interesting. When you decide to create the future you do so having a unique point of view, and that’s always meaningful.

So bro, choose to create the future instead of optimizing the status-quo. Here’s to the future 😉