Why It Pays For Young Professionals To Focus On the Now

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / December 27, 2014

A word that many young professionals don’t like or want to hear.

What do we want?

We want immediate gratification. Immediate results.

While we ultimately have to take responsibility for this mentality, there’s no denying that advances in technology have played a significant role in conditioning our minds to think like this.

THE PROBLEM

It’s this mentality of immediacy that results in many of us being stressed and frustrated when we don’t see results early on in our careers.

This can then lead us to questioning our chosen career path and if it’s really the best fit.

With millennials changing jobs every 2.6 years oftentimes the answer to this question is no, it’s definitely not the right fit.

So we move on to the next job.

After all, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?

Not always…

Herein lies the next problem.

As young professionals enter their late twenties, many of them are still “trying to find themselves” or “find their passion”.

When this happens they then experience a whole new level of stress and frustration.

The reason being that:

Their reality does not match the blueprint in their mind of how they think their career should be at this moment in time.

Now keep in mind that this all started by having a mentality of immediacy.

A mentality that if you don’t see immediate results then it’s probably best to try out a different career. A mentality that forces you to place the majority of your focus on the future when you should be focusing on the “now”.

And it’s this lack of focus that causes many young professionals to aimlessly drift from job to job throughout their twenties because they have no clear purpose or ultimate outcome in mind.

THE OPPORTUNITY

Most let the mentality of immediacy control their careers without even recognizing it.

The good news…

Now having read this you will not be one of them.

Instead you will learn how to use this mentality to your advantage.

The following story will help create the foundation to make this happen.

China is home to a tree unlike any other…

While most trees grow steadily above soil throughout the years, the Chinese bamboo tree doesn’t break through the ground until the fifth year.

It’s during these four years (1,460 days) where the tree must be cared for each day.

The reason being that this is the time where the tree is building a sophisticated root system below ground.

Then in the fifth year something remarkable happens.

Not only does the tree finally break ground but it can grow to heights of 80-90 feet in as little time as five weeks.

While this story can be a powerful metaphor for any stage of our lives, it provides a valuable lesson for young professionals.

That lesson is one of value integration, specifically diligence and faith.

When we integrate these values into the mentality of immediacy we give ourselves the best opportunity for growth and success.

The reason being that it provides us with the discipline to focus on the “now”.

It’s what you do right now, in this moment that will determine the quality of your future.

Similar to the bamboo tree, we must be diligent in building our own sophisticated root system during the beginning stages of our career. Then we must have the faith that our hard work will result in explosive growth and success.

While we will never know when that day will come, we give ourselves a far greater opportunity to make this day happen sooner rather than later by taking this approach.

After all, will worrying about the expected timing of our results get us any closer to achieving them?

Absolutely not.

If anything it will create more stress and frustration. It will take our focus off what we can control (the actions we take today) and get us focused on something we have absolutely no control over (the timing of our results).

Now for those who believe that you have to “find your passion” before you can truly be happy and produce at your highest levels, I’d encourage you to read Mark Cuban’s post and consider his advice:

When you work hard at something you become good at it.

  • When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.
  • When you enjoy doing something, there’s a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it.
  • When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.

TIME TO EXECUTE

While this might sound like a valuable concept to implement in your career, easier said than done, right?

So I’ll end this post with a few strategies that have helped me use the mentality of immediacy to my advantage.

It’s my hope that they will do the same for you.

Purposeful Outcome (Goal)

YoungPro Elite gives me the opportunity to speak with young professionals every day.

One question that I oftentimes ask them is what their biggest priorities are for the year.

Eight out of ten times they will have trouble answering this.

The reason being that they’ve not taken the time to define the outcomes they want to achieve.

By determining what your ultimate outcome is, you give yourself a target. You give yourself something to focus on, which then gives you a purpose. And when you have a purposeful outcome it enhances your ability to focus on the “now”.

Modeling

Since young professionals appreciate immediate gratification and results, this is one strategy that should be utilized immediately.

Modeling is the concept of finding someone who has done what you want to do and then you “model” or replicate their strategy.

When I say, “model their strategy” I’m referring to:

  • The psychology (thoughts, states, associations, mentality, etc.) they had while in pursuit of the outcome.
  • The tools, resources and network of people they utilized.
  • The steps, processes and / or strategies they used to get where they wanted to go.
  • The habits they developed that helped them push through the tough times.

When you model those you aspire to be like you’ll be able to take what took them years to learn and compress that knowledge and experience to your advantage in a matter of days.

One Skill

Here’s a question that could change the trajectory of your career:

What’s the one skill you could master that would make the biggest impact on your career?

Once you’ve determined what that skill is, devote at least an hour of study and practice to it each day.

No matter what job or industry you may be in right now, if you’re able to master a skill that will always be in demand, it will provide you with opportunities that few others will be given.

Contribution

Ask yourself each day how you can make the greatest contributions in the lives of your colleagues, bosses, clients etc.

When you focus on what you can be doing right now to serve others, any disempowering thoughts about your present or future will quickly fade.

In addition, by increasing your level of contribution, simultaneously you’re increasing your personal value. When you become more valuable to others, opportunities start flowing your way.

Presence

With all the demands of the workweek, it’s easy to drift from task to task without being fully present.

So throughout the day make sure you ask yourself the following question:

On a scale from 1-10, how present am I?

While this is a simple question, it’s a critical one to ask.

The reason being that if you’re meeting with someone or if you have to complete something, you’re only hurting yourself if you’re not fully present in the moment.

After all, if you’re taking the time to do something out of your demanding schedule you might as well do it to the best of your ability, right?

The only way to make this happens is by becoming fully focused in the present.

Risks

As I look back on my career thus far, I’ve recognized that the most rewarding experiences have come during the times where I’ve taken the greatest risks.

Although many of these risks resulted in failures and rejections (which never feel good), they’ve been responsible for helping me achieve massive levels of growth and experience at a young age.

So step outside your comfort zone and take risks. Not only will these risks provide your brain with a challenge making it stay focused in the “now” but it’s during these times where you will experience the greatest growth and fulfillment throughout your career.

YOUR DECISION

If you found this post to be of value, I’d ask that you take action on one of these strategies right now.

The reason being that I don’t want this to be another article where you tell yourself:

“This could really help me out in my career so I’ll make sure I get to it later.”

And then you never do.

If you’ve made it this far, you owe it yourself to experience the benefits that these strategies will give you.

Make it happen!

The moment we think that our hard work and persistence will never pay off is the moment that we must have faith that it will.

Blake Cavignac is the Founder of YoungPro Elite and President of Intellectual Innovations.  If you want to get a better understanding of what he’s about take a look at what others are saying about him. Connect with Blake on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Image Credit: b-splendid.blogspot.com

About The Author

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.

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