What Should I Do? Step 8: Time Capital
The guidance provided in this section presumes you have already read the chapter on Time Capital in our book, Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting. If you have not, we strongly recommend doing so first.
If you’re read the previous eight sections of this What Should I Do? Guide, you know how chock full of recommended actions they are. At this point you’re likely thinking:
How the heck will I have enough time to get all these steps done?
We get it. There’s an awful lot of recommended action here. And you have a life — one you’re probably not ready to dedicate full time to these resiliency preparations.
The first step is realizing that this is a journey. No one, not even the most obsessive of us, can ever be 100% prepared. So don’t try to be.
Instead, focus your time and attention on the areas you feel most vulnerable in, or are most interested in. And then just start taking steps. Small ones are perfectly OK. The important thing is to just start moving forward.
Begin by reviewing the Control Continuum matrix presented in Prosper!:
As we advise in the book, assign all off the big tasks demanding your time into these four quadrants based on your respective levels of control and agency for each.
Once that’s done, focus your energies on the ones where you can take the Right Action today. And stop wasting time on any that fall within Ceaseless Striving. Feel good about setting aside the ones you allocate to Letting Go, and tell yourself to revisit the Giving Up tasks at a later date, if the situation changes and you feel you’ll have a better shot at making progress with them.
Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, warns that our modern work behavior often works against our efficiency, what with an endless barrage of interruptions from our digital devices, meetings and other unnecessary distractions that derail our focus and hamper our productivity. In many cases, less is more: do fewer things, but do them well. Much of the rest will take care of itself. It’s worth watching his advice here:
But the big advice we have beyond what we discuss in Prosper! is to maintain a sense of perspective, and to be content with forward motion — any motion — no matter how small.
When people initially arrive at this guide, many of them are filled with an urgency driven by fear. Fear that’s there no time left to prepare, that the whole system is going to fall apart tomorrow. Fear that they’ve done too little, and that it’s too late to get started now.
New people have been arriving at our site feeling this way for over a half-decade. None of them has been right so far. There is always time to do something, anything. And that’s worlds better than doing nothing.
Instead, we simply encourage folks to take a breath, be gentle with themselves, and to merely focus on “doing the next thing”. Chris put it well in his article on the topic when he concluded:
As I wrote earlier in the year, I’m grateful for these broken financial markets (where stocks only go up and nothing important ever seems to happen), as well as frustrated and bored with them.
But, on balance, I am more grateful than anything. This has been an excellent period to recharge, button down the little things, make various nips and tucks to the homestead, and delve into the deeper and meatier aspects of emotional resilience.
This gift of time, which may persist for a while or might not, has allowed us to settle into the new realities that we are each creating in our own lives. Some are further along than others, and some have yet to really begin the physical activities necessary to manifest a new life. But we’ve all had the opportunity to emotionally integrate the implications of living within a flawed system that seems destined to operate somewhat normally until it doesn’t.
None of us know what the trigger will be to launch us into the next phase, where the larger body of the culture finally figures out that if there ever was such a thing as ‘normal’, we’re not going back to it anytime soon, if ever.
Perhaps the trigger will be a failed harvest. Or a credit crunch that scythes down a number of systemically important entities. Or even just simple exhaustion of the print-your-way-to-prosperity concept.
Because we cannot know when or what the trigger will be, the best and most successful strategies for living that I know of include doing the things you love that also happen to bring resilience into your community and alignment between your thoughts and actions.
That way, no matter what happens or when, we are living as well as we can, growing, and improving ourselves with age – as opposed to being worn down by living the lives we are ‘supposed’ to live inside of a careless culture.
I reserve my deepest gratitude for the people around me, those conscious and living consciously in my community, who allow me to live openly with all my thoughts and ideas – no hiding! – and allow everyone the luxury of making mistakes as we experiment with living new lives, with new rules and boundaries and expectations than the ones we were handed at birth.
My most important asset besides time? The people around me!
Included in this description is the gratitude I have for this community here at Peak Prosperity, where I learn so much and have become close with intelligent people of goodwill and passion whom I have never actually met in person. Despite the virtual nature, the connection is there; and finally meeting the ‘screen names’ at seminars and presentations is always a big treat.
Among what I consider to be my most important traits are the ability to see what I wish to create, and to then apply the daily persistence to just ‘do the next thing.‘
That’s my personal secret to life – creating what I wish to see – and it keeps me nourished and vital. I happen to think that it also keeps me safe and resilient, as well as engaged, and those are all important. But the motivation comes from seeing how everything I do is relational, and that’s something I am just wired for and fed by.
Of course, once upon a time, I was motivated by urgency and anxiety about the future. And though I still have my moments of concern, that frame of mind was conducive to sprinting, and I had to learn to find a way to pace myself for the marathon to which we find ourselves conscripted.
That’s how I learned to combine what I love doing with creative action in the natural world. For me, that centers around nurturing living things – bees, plants, chickens, people. For others, it might be something entirely different such as music, building things, systems engineering, or community organizing.
It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as our best gifts come out and help re-shape our future together constructively. But it does matter that your daily actions fulfill and energize you, because that way you have the best chance – call it 80% – of just doing the next thing.