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For two years it was easy: both Dwight-Now and Dwight-Next were happy


Near the beginning of 2001 I had been working on my book, “Courage: the Choice that Makes the Difference–Your Key to a Thousand Doors” for over two years. Up until that point, working on the book, writing the different essays and sharing those with friends, had been easy and fun. Dwight-Next and Dwight-Now had been on the same page (LOL).

Then it got hard


But then it was time to start the editing, the formatting, and all the detailed stuff. Dwight-Next was pleased with our progress and was eager to get the book finished. Dwight-Now’s response to editing was, “This is boring...this is no fun.”

Asking the right question


By this time in my life, I had become insightful enough to know that I could not continue unless I could get Dwight-Now on board. Consequently, Dwight-Next kept asking the question, “How could we set it up so that Dwight-Now could enjoy the process of editing and getting the detailed stuff finished?”

Finding a “book listener” in Shanghai


Three weeks passed before I came up with an idea that Dwight-Now was excited about trying. I put an ad in a Shanghai site, advertising for a “book listener.” (I lived in Shanghai from the end of the year 2000 to the end of the year 2009). I got a lot of responses to the ad. The Chinese who were responding to my ad were willing to work for a nominal amount because they knew it was a good chance to improve their oral English by working with a native English speaker.

I started our relationship with a lie


This is how it went down. On the first day that a new young Chinese woman (usually a university student) would come to my apartment, I would lie to her. Sitting to her left, in front of my computer, I would say, “As I am reading my book out loud, your job is to make suggestions as to how the English writing could be improved.”

She feels guilty

She doesn’t think she’s helping. As we were working together, I was making many editing changes and quite pleased with the process and progress. She was enjoying listening to me as I read the English sentences out loud. Sometimes I would explain the meaning of a word to her that she was not sure about. After two days, she had made no suggestions as how to improve the English (she wasn’t a native I really didn’t expect her to notice any changes that I hadn’t noticed myself). But, having not made any suggestions, she became uncomfortable and said to me, “I am so sorry, but I don’t think I am helping you any.”

Telling her the naked truth


At this point, after two days, I knew she felt comfortable and safe with me (she knew I was a “good man”). So I told her the full truth. “You’re helping so much. Because, if I can have a young, attractive Chinese woman sit beside me and listen to me while I am doing something, I can enjoy anything!” This made sense to her, relieved her concern about her lack of helpfulness, and we were able to continue to work together.

Dwight-Next + Dwight-Now = Dwight wins


This is how I got my book finished (it was published in 2004). Dwight-Next was happy and Dwight-Now was quite eager to work with Dwight-Next in doing all the detailed work required to finish the book.

Calling on creativity


Sometimes creativity is essential in finding ways that Next and Now can work in partnership. Stock answers don’t always fit. Whenever Dwight-Next has a new idea for something he wants to accomplish, the second question we need to answer, before we make any firm decisions for action, is, “How can Dwight-Now enjoy the process or processes likely involved in going for this result?” Often, I can work out the answer(s) to that question quickly. But, on occasion, an answer doesn’t come quickly. I keep exploring the question, using my creativity, maybe asking others for their ideas, maybe brainstorming, whatever it takes to find a way or ways for Dwight-Now to enjoy the process. See the NNI toolkit for a buffet of methods to create and support Now-Next integrity.

“Slavery” has been outlawed


If Dwight-Next, while consulting with Dwight-Now, cannot find a way for Dwight-Now to enjoy the process, then Dwight-Next chooses courage (if needed) to let go of his idea. Otherwise, it’s a type of “slave labor,” which, earlier in my life I believed in and Dwight-Next was willing to try to force Dwight-Now into submission to do what Dwight-Next wanted. Dwight-Next would use fear, blame, insistence on toleration and any other forceful means to try to get Dwight-Now to buckle under (sometimes “successfully” and often not). No more. Dwight-Next has learned to show respect and consideration for what Dwight-Now wants. It has to be a win-win; otherwise no deal.

The source of creativity

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”

-Pablo Picasso


You may have noticed that, in the above story, I talked some about creativity, but it was not the central point. The central point was more about the value and importance of creating Now-Next integrity.

Yet as Picasso said, "Every child is an artist...," he could have just as validly said, "Every child is creative, the problem is staying creative when you grow up." 

Now = Child

Throughout all my writings, I most often use the words Now or your Now or Dwight-Now to distinguish that part of us that is responsible for loving and enjoying the now and the near now. In every instance that I reference Now, I could have substituted (without loss of denotation) Child or your Child or Dwight-Child, meaning that child within all of us that we have generally tried to dominate, control, and even disown.

Unleashing your creativity

Consequently, in the process of your Next showing respect to your Now and creating more and more Now-Next integrity, the creativity of your Child will naturally blossom.

Related links:



Undoing perfectionism

Undoing shoulds

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