The Next and Most Necessary Thing
I am reading a fascinating book called Four Thousand Weeks – Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. I know you must be thinking, yet another book on Time Management. That is what I thought too initially but I loved some of the concepts in the book (I am yet to finish it). I am sharing one such gem from the book with you today.
On December 15, 1933, Carl Jung wrote a reply to a correspondent, Frau V, on the proper conduct of life.
Dear Frau V,
Your questions are unanswerable because you want to know how to live.
One lives as one can. There is no single definite way.
The individual path is the way you make for yourself, which is never prescribed, which you do not know in advance, and which simply comes into being itself when you put one foot in front of the other.
His sole advice for walking such a path was to quietly do the Next and Most Necessary Thing.
If you do with conviction the next and most necessary thing, you are always doing something meaningful and intended by fate. A modified version of this insight, “Do the Next Right Thing,” has since become a slogan among members of Alcoholic Anonymous, as a way to proceed sanely through moments of acute crisis. But really, the next and most necessary thing is all that any of us can ever aspire to do at any moment.
And we must do it despite not having any objective way to be sure what the right course of action is.
Fortunately, precisely because that’s all you can do, it’s also all that you ever have to do.
If you can face the truth about your time and work in this way- if you can step more fully into the condition of being a limited human – you will reach the greatest heights of productivity, accomplishment, service and fulfilment that were ever in the cards for you to begin with.
Aren’t these some amazing thoughts and words? They just blow my mind.
If they haven’t yours, try again.
Read the above lines from the start and digest them.
There are several powerful questions that we should be asking ourselves.
- Do I always do the Next and Most Necessary Thing?
- What do I do when there is really no objective way to be sure what the right course of action is?
- What do I do when there is an objective way to be sure what the right course of action is? Answer this one with a hand on your heart. I know the second question paralyzes most people into indecision and inaction but what is more shocking is when people don’t take the next step even when there is an objective way.
- Finally, What’s the Next and Most Necessary Thing for me TODAY? Am I Doing it or Am I waiting like investors who wait for Corrections to Invest?
James Clear wrote “You only need to know the direction, not the destination. The direction is enough to make the next choice.”
The direction is indeed all that is required for us to make the next choice and to do the next and most necessary thing.
So, What’s the Next and Most Necessary Thing for you Today?