When Is the Right Time?

A colleague just tendered his resignation. There are whispers in the corridor that he should have just waited for the annual bonus which will be given out in a few months time. I sat down with the colleague and discuss the matter.

“There is no such thing as right time. I am not happy with my role.”

He resigned without a job being lined up. He is married with kids and has mortgages to pay. I do not have his kind of courage.

He rather embraces uncertainties than unhappiness. At least in uncertainties, there is a chance that he may find happiness.

Many of us are waiting for the right time to take the plunge. I am guilty of waiting for the right time as well. Wait until you grow up. Wait until graduate. Wait until you get married. Wait until you have kids. And we all just keep waiting. Time is running out for all of us. Why are you still waiting?

Exactly when is the right time? The traffic lights of life, will not turn all green for us. Nor it will conspire against us to make our lives as difficult as possible. Life is just life. There will always be a series of ups and downs. Our next moment is built in our current moment. So what are you doing now to make a better future?

Let’s learn from history. Here is a short list of companies that were set up during periods of depression.

  • Microsoft
  • FedEx
  • General Electric

For more details of the list, you can read here.

I am not saying all companies that started during depression times will thrive. Instead, I would like to emphasise that there is no such thing as a perfect time. We can only make use of the opportunities available to the best we can. There is always a risk. There is always the uncertainty.

Instead of asking when is the right time? Maybe it is more important to ask, what is holding me back? By asking when is the right time, it is a passive question. We are not putting the responsibility on ourselves to execute. We are waiting for a sign. We are waiting for something to happen before we can take action. The right time will never come, period.

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the first Habit is Be Proactive. To be proactive means taking ownership of our life. Yes. The job market may be slow. Yes. The economy is bad. Yes. There are bills to pay. Yes. You may even fail. But, you may even be successful.

Take a piece of paper and write it all down. What is outside of our control? If it is outside of our control, there is no point in worrying about it. What actions can be taken? Instead of waiting for things to happen, we should take the initiative to plan and make things happen.

Slow job market? Expand your network, talk to a few headhunters. Show your work on social media. There is always a demand for good talent. Sign up for Freelancer or Fivver and offer your services.

Worry about medical insurance coverage? Talk to a few insurance agents and pick their brain. Setup a budget put the money aside. Pretend that you are no more under the company’s medical insurance coverage.

The right time is now. Take the moment to plan. Take the moment to take action. Do not let winds of life to force you to take action.

There was a time, I would die to join the oil and gas industry. After much searching and networking. Someone finally offered me an opportunity to attend an interview. For me who has no engineering background and no experience in the oil and gas industry, it was the alignment of the stars! I was thrown out from the interview after about 45 minutes. I do not know anything about the industry. My reading and preparation were too shallow, too layman. As soon as I got into my car, I cried my eyes out. The time was right, but I was not ready. I did not take ownership of my preparation and knowledge. So even if the right time comes, ask whether you are ready? The stars only aligned for me once, I never have another once in a lifetime opportunity again.

Regardless whether the decision is right or wrong, my colleague has taken the first step to make a difference in his life where he feels unfulfilled. How about you? What is your action?

Start With Cleaning Your Desk

If you are not growing, you are dying. Many of us grow old and reflect back to our life. There are far more items of regrets than accomplishments.

Is it too late to start now?

I think I am too old to chase my dreams.

I am destined to fail.

I did everything for my family and I did nothing for myself.

I was born in the wrong country.

I do not have the right education.

If there is an Olympic event for blaming and finding excuses, many of us would win the Gold medal, I know I would win the Gold medal many times.

Is it too late to start making changes? Of course not! Even if you have live past beyond midlife, there are always areas that you can improve. Make your life an evolution and not revolution. Start making small changes to your life and its effectiveness will quickly compound.

Professor Jordan Peterson suggests his students or people are who are seeking his help to clean up their own room. The idea is to do the small things well before going into bigger things.

Sometimes cleaning the room can be a choir. For a start, I would suggest cleaning your desk. Your desk is a place that you study and work. Besides your own bed, you will be interacting with your desk most of the time. A messy desk can be a sign of genius. Nevertheless, this is not a good excuse to keep a messy desk at the cost of hygiene. Any good desk, messy or not sometimes need a cleanup.

Start small by throwing bits of notes or papers. If the document has been sitting at your desk for more than two weeks. You either file it or shred it. Far too many stationaries on your desk? Put it all away and keep the ones that you need on your desk.

Once you have a clean and organized desk. Things will start to happen. By taking action, you will fire up your neurons in your brain. You will keep your hands busy. You will get the blood flowing. You become more observant of your surroundings. You may want to clean your room. You may want to do more. You will see more opportunities. Opportunities that may bring you to the next level. And it all starts with doing something small like cleaning up your desk.

It may be difficult to believe that small changes can compound into a big success. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the British Cycling team won seven out of 1o gold medals, ending 76 years of waiting. In 2012, the team won gold again in the London Olympics.

The secret of the team’s success is practising marginal gains approach. The team would look at all aspects of the team and find that marginal improvement. They hired surgeons to teach the team how to wash their hands to avoid falling sick during competition season. They bring their own beds and mattress, so the team can sleep in their own posture every night. Nothing is too small to overlook. Their obsessions to details paid off.

You may not have the big budget or support for the Olympic team. But, you can start with cleaning up your desk which should not take you more than 30 minutes to complete. Be that 1%. And start taking action.

Bonus idea: You may not want to clean your desk. You can try making your bed.