If not now, then when? If not us, then who?
These words have been used by many people in many places.
Now is an uncomfortable word, we’re happy with a lot of things until they become now and it involves us.
None of us begin empty-handed, though. We live with the things and thoughts (artefacts) of those who have gone before us; we have an opportunities to be innovative and different, leaving new things and thoughts for those who follow.
We live in an unfinished world and – the thing which really interests me – we live an unfinished life. You might say, I love the smaller future, that is the future of people.
There’s no such thing as the future, as I’ve mentioned several times, and this includes there being no personal futures. There are predicted futures – if everything remains the same. There are possible futures – when certain, presently-unseen events take place. And there are preferred futures – the outcome of looking at all the artefacts in and around our lives, and beginning to innovate (what I’ve also named, adjacent futures).
Perhaps we feel trapped, thinking everything must be perfect or complete before we can begin something different. And maybe we think everybody else must have done everything that can be possibly done with the things and thoughts available. Not so, as Alex McManus points out:
‘Constraints are the womb of creativity.’*
This is about entering the yellow zone: where hope and possibility find reality and limitation to be the soil to thrive in: ‘Freedom is the possibility to choose within our bounds.’* And we’ll be surprised at just how much freedom imagination and creativity can make possible.
At the heart of each of us is a uniqueness and specialness Albert Espinosa names our secret:
‘Enjoy keeping them hidden, but enjoy it more when you show them.’**
Which I take to mean, “Firstly, value what makes you special, and then you can enjoy gifting it to others more and more.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m curious to know what people’s secrets are and how they’ll create a preferred future by sharing their secrets with others. Curiosity is something you may have to carefully rekindle – it wasn’t encouraged when you attended school, neither in your workplace or church or community, but it connects your secret with what lies beyond the curriculum and job description.
So, if not now, then when? If not you, then whom?