Right Next Thing: Perfect Your Present Thing

It’s always a good idea to move on to your Right Next Thing from a high point in the current one. Whether you are considering making a change in your career, home, relationship, location… any aspect of your life, a powerful place to start is to make your present thing perfect.

Perfect here is in the sense that life is always perfect, exactly as it is. It may not be the way we want it to be, but there are valuable lessons to be learned, especially from those people, places and things that we believe are causing us grief.

Some questions to help you reflect on this, and learn whatever you can before making a choice to move on:

  • What’s working for you in your current situation? What are the good things?
  • Do you really want to make a change or are there unresolved issues in your current situation?
  • Have you taken all possible steps to remedy these issues? Is it clear that you have done your best?
  • What might be some regrets if you moved on now?
  • What are the possible costs of making a change?

There are many reasons that it’s a good idea to do whatever you can to perfect your present thing. If you are contemplating a career change, current colleagues and managers can be important allies in your new position, and they may be reference sources for you, so it makes sense to leave on the best possible terms. In other words,  don’t burn bridges.

If a relationship change is on your radar screen,  taking the high road would mean that you have done everything you can to make your relationship the best it can be — you have done your part to be kind and compassionate. Of course, this includes kindness and compassion for yourself, which sometimes means moving on.

If you are thinking of moving to a new city, country, time zone or galaxy, consider the title of my favourite book by Jon Kabat-Zinn: Wherever You Go, There You Are. Wherever you end up living, you will still be you, with all of your beautiful, tragic, amazing flaws and strengths. Will moving to a new neighbourhood, wherever it is on the planet, bring about the change you are looking for? One way to see your current environment with new eyes is to spend some time there pretending you are a tourist. What is right under your nose that you no longer see?

Are you a fish, unable to comprehend that you are living in water? Have a look at this fantastic video produced to honour a graduation speech by David Foster Wallace:  called This is Water.

Just as fish don’t know they’re wet, we humans can be unaware of the good things in our lives. Do what you can to perfect your present. Sometimes the answers are found a little way up the stream. Beats jumping right out of the bowl.