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Fundamentals for peace and symbiosis

between Now and Next (NNI)



The enmity and distrust between Next and Now runs deep. You will require time and courage (especially from the perspective of Next) to create new attitudes and new habits that support integrity, peace, mutual respect, and cooperation between your Next and your Now. They both need to learn that both will be much better off (especially in the long run, which Next is very interested in) if they can create win-wins on their journey together. Although it can seem that Now and Next are often at odds, they both need each other in order for each to have more of what each wants.

Both have the same intention


The first thing for both of them to get clear about (and stay clear about) is that they have the same intention: happiness (and avoiding unhappiness). It’s just that they have different time-span responsibilities. Next’s responsibility is for the future to be happy; Now’s responsibility is for now (and the near now) to be happy.


Related to this is that both of them (but especially Next) need to develop a deeper understanding of how they need each other and how each of them can fulfill their responsibilities better if they can find win-win solutions to any conflicts that arise (creating a you-win).

No more blaming and guilting


The beginning of the peace (and cooperation) process begins with Next. His or her habit, a knee-jerk reaction, towards any of Now’s indulgences (as seen from Next’s perspective) has been to criticize and blame Now for Now’s behavior (“Stop being so lazy!”). This does not help. It just makes us (Now) feel guilty and often Now digs his or her heels in, continuing in his or her indulgent behavior. Moreover, even when it does seem to work (that is, Next gets his or her way), it works at the expense of our vitality, aliveness, and happiness, as well as perpetuating the conflicts between Next and Now.

Next showing respect to Now (then, step by step, Now will stop rebelling against Next so much)


The new attitude that Next (who can be thought of as our inside adult) needs to adopt is showing respect to Now (thought of as our inside child) and to get curious and interested in what Now wants or might want. More specifically, whenever a conflict or potential conflict arises between Next and Now, then Next needs to ask himself or herself, “How could both of us win, how could both of us be happy regarding this issue or in this circumstance?” If instead, Next falls into the old habit of criticism, then he or she needs to stop and apologize to Now, saying something like, “Tracy-Now, please forgive me for blaming you. I got scared. Tell me more about what you’re trying to do for us. Let’s find a way, in this circumstance, for both of us to be happy.”

Creating an environment for cooperation


Another important factor for creating peace and cooperation between Next and Now is a more supportive “environment.” For example, usually, if one feels rested and energized, it’s easier for Next and Now to find a way to be on the same page. Consequently, the first priorities for alignment are to stay well-rested, to eat healthfully, and to get some exercise (and getting Next and Now on the same page for doing this).

Enjoying the process and putting lifestyle first


The highest-level adjustment that Next needs to make is to put “enjoying the process” first, to put creating and maintaining an amazing lifestyle first (which comes out of enjoying the interleaving processes of one’s life and the dance of the journey), above any particular result or accomplishment. I'm not implying that Next should give up on the results and accomplishments that he or she wants.


On the contrary, with a little foresight, Next will realize that he or she is more likely to get what Next wants if Now can be on board. When we are enjoying the process, then invariably we do a better job and can easily be persistent in the actions that will likely lead to the results that Next wants. Somewhat paradoxically, when we put “enjoying the process first” and “results second,” the results are more likely.


An added benefit of this approach is that, even if we don’t get the results, we already enjoyed the process. We already won! Consequently, we don’t end up feeling so discouraged and don’t get gun-shy in going for another result. At the beginning of creating this new habit of putting process first, it may seem paradoxical to Next that he or she is more likely to get the results Next wants than when following Next's old habit of prioritizing results over process. For myself, I sometimes say, “Ninety-nine percent of the reason to set a new goal, to set a new intention, is so that I can have a process to enjoy.”

Do the math: there's only one way that makes sense

  1. If you don't enjoy the process and don't get the result, you lose both ways.

  2. If you don't enjoy the process and get the result, you lose one way and win the other.

  3. If you enjoy the process and don't get the result, you win one way and lose the other.

  4. If you enjoy the process and get the result, you win both ways.

Consider points #2 and #3: despite appearing similar, they're different. Prioritizing the enjoyment of processes over outcomes means we can almost always appreciate the journey. The outcome of any process we undertake is a facet of life's gamble. Accepting this risk means that failing to achieve a specific result won't feel like a significant loss, as the joy was in the journey itself.

Moreover, by focusing more on the processes rather than the outcomes, we are generally more likely to achieve greater and more positive results in our lives.

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," becomes "Ensuring a bird in the hand makes it more likely the other one will join it."

Now-Next integrity (NNI)


Many great thinkers, empowerment gurus, and ethicists have emphasized the fundamental importance of integrity. But I have found all their distinctions of integrity lacking. Most fundamentally, integrity is the ongoing alignment of your Now and your Next...resulting in an “we win.” This constitutes at least 80% of integrity. The ongoing alignment of  Oneself and Others (to be introduced next) fills out the full distinction of integrity.

If you like, you can take a side trip from this tutorial to check out all the methods and approaches to create Now-Next integrity. Go to the NNI toolkit. Otherwise, continue onto the next section of this tutorial: Oneself and Others.

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