How to be successful today, and also tomorrow


In a previous post, “The one thing you need to know about success,” I noted the dichotomy between the premise that success is predicated on doing what you like doing (and avoiding what you don’t like doing) and studies which show that the ability to delay gratification is an accurate predictor of future success. I suggested that these conclusions aren’t really in conflict because thinking about your future success can be as enjoyable, if not more so, than the actual achievement.

Blogger Derek Sivers writes about the delayed gratification study and agrees that “future focused” people (i.e., those who can delay gratification) are the most successful, but notes that they may miss the enjoyment of the present. Similarly, too much focus on the present “can rob life of the deeper happiness of accomplishment.”

For true happiness, Sivers notes, we need to be flexible:

The happiest and most effective people are balanced: equally high in future-focus and present-focus, and viewing the past as positive. When you have work to finish, be future-focused. When your work is done and it’s time to relax, be present-focused. During family holidays, be past-focused to enjoy family customs.

He also says that our focus changes depending on our circumstances. “Cavemen needed a full present-focus at all times to survive in the wild and find food each day.”

When I started practicing and had no money and no clients, my circumstances forced me to delay gratification. I had to learn how to “survive in the wild and find food each day.” Like the caveman, I was not focused on the future, I was focused on eating. You can’t think about a five year plan when your rent is due next Tuesday.

If you want a marketing plan that really works, today, not five years from now, pick up a copy of The Attorney Marketing Formula. You’ll thank me later.