Q&A November, 2020
Rich: The whole Now-Next thing is very confusing to me. I have always just been me. Now I am talking to different mes? I always had that same problem talking to the young me. The child Rich. Don't know how to do that. I talk to Rich. I haven't met all these other people. 5 year old, or Rich-Next and Rich-Now.
-Rich (November 29, 2020)
Dwight: You have a good point. Think of it this way. Sometimes you have one thought, "I should not eat that second dish of ice cream; that would be better for my health." That's my way of saying Rich-Next is thinking. Then another thought occurs, "But it would be so satisfying to just have another scoop." That is Rich-Now thinking.
When I suggest that there are different parts of you, there's still just one Rich. This is a method to distinguish the two sides of the conflict (which means you lack some integrity) that most of us often experience inside of ourselves, make sense?
Similarly, consider the scenario where you have the thought, "I would like to take some extra time now to help my daughter with her homework." Then you have a conflicting thought, "But I'm behind on my sleep and I really should get into bed now."
The first thought comes from Rich-Others. He is concerned for others and as well as what they think of Rich. This is the "part" of Rich that thinks about others, what he can do for them and how he occurs for them. Rich-Oneself created the second thought. His job is attending to Rich's self-care.
Think of these four "parts," as a convenient way to distinguish and address two fundamental domains in which we humans are often in conflict and out of integrity with ourselves.
This analogy might help: Let's say you start a company and it grows pretty big. It needs to create separate departments to handle rather distinct functions that your company needs in order to create and maintain success (like the marketing department and the accounting department). Yes, there is just one company and all departments are in service to the company. Yet the departments have different functions that can occur at odds with each other from time to time. If these conflicts are not addressed, with each department respecting the the valid roles of the other departments, then the company will suffer. We could say the company would be out of integrity with itself.
Similarly, almost all of us experience seemingly unresolvable conflicts between our Now and Next "departments" and our Oneself and Others "departments." Our default way of trying to resolve these conflicts is by our Next attempting to dominate Now (blaming him when he rebels). And by our Others (being caring and altruistic) trying to dominate Oneself (being selfish), with feeling guilty when we act selfishly against others. This default methodology (taught and supported by all cultures and religions) just perpetuates this conflict and lack of integrity. AskDwightHow is all about ways to create mutual respect and cooperation (integrity) between our four different parts (or departments, if you will) that all of us have within us.
Rich: So there is a Now, Next, Others, and Oneself? Now there's four of me? You want me to talk to myself as a fifth person talking to different people inside me? You want me to think that there is really four of me and a narrator? Like a multi-personality kind of thing?
Dwight: Yes, you could also think of a fifth Rich (like the CEO of the company who wants all departments to work together and doesn't take sides of one against the other).
Many can relate to the idea of separating themselves into four roles. If you currently can't do that, no problem. Just think of the four "parts" as pointing to different types of important functions that Rich (and all of us) have to attend to in life. Making sure that we are able to handle all four functions with the least amount of conflict makes for the best possible life.
Rich: But don't they work together all the time anyway? I mean, I have made it to 61 years old.
Dwight: Yes, many times they do work together without conflict. But other times there are conflicts. When I asked you before if you had issues with procrastination, you gave yourself a "10" on a scale of 0-10. That indicates a big conflict between Rich-Now and Rich-Next.
Rich: And procrastinating is another department?
Dwight: No, procrastination indicates one type of conflict between Rich-Now and Rich-Next. Rich-Next doesn't want to procrastinate. He wants to take action so that he can have a better future. But Rich-Now wants to feel good now (or avoid feeling bad now), so he wants to delay doing things that occur as uncomfortable in the short-term.
And this procrastination "family feud" has been continuing indefinitely for Rich since he hasn't found a way for BOTH Rich-Now and Rich-Next to be happy in filling the distinct roles that they each have.
Rich: Where does Oneself and Others fit into the equation?
Dwight: When I asked you earlier if you had "issues with over promising to others," you gave yourself a "4," on a scale of 0-10. This probably indicates that you sometimes have an unresolved conflict between you trying to take care of others and taking care of yourself. (Although it could also include a Now-Next issue. Next, when not considering Now, tends to over promise for the future).
When we focus on wanting to care for others and to not disappoint or upset others, it becomes easy to over promise. We may think to ourselves, "This is important for others; I'll just find someway to handle it myself," without fully considering the fact that your #1 job in life is to take care of yourself.
Rich: That's hard to say when talking about my kids. I find myself saying that a lot though. As long as they are taken care of, it doesn't matter what happens to me.
Dwight: It's understandable that you think that way. But it's acting very short-term. In the long run, if you don't take care of yourself, then you'll be less capable and able to take care of them. The Now-Next issue and the Oneself-Others issue are both at work here. There's a conflict between all four "departments." LOL...
Also in this regard, you're giving your kids a poor role model. In the future, when they have an occurring conflict between taking care of themselves and taking care of another, they are likely to sacrifice themselves in the transaction. Because you have not modeled that integrity of doing both together in yourself. Is this what you want?
Rich: No, of course not.
Dwight: Right, that's why is invaluable (both for yourself and for others) to find ways to create more and more Now-Next integrity and Oneself-Others integrity, right?
Dwight: You got it!
When is Next the bad guy?
Frank: So here is a question. I do tend to start with the premise that Frank-Now is bad and Frank-Next is good. To help me understand, can you make up examples that could be real where Frank-Now is good and Frank-Next is bad?
-Frank (November 24, 2020)
Dwight: In this question, you may be using the words “good” and “bad” toxically, with strong positive/negative connotations, but fuzzy denotations.
Let’s reframe the question, replacing “good” with “provides benefits, either short-term and/or long-term” and “bad” with “incurs costs, either short-term and/or long-term.”
Since Frank-Now is responsible for providing short-term benefits (and avoiding short-term costs) to Frank, he always intends to do that, whether or not he is accurate in his assessment or successful in his intentions. The same for Frank-Next, except his responsibility to provide longer-term benefits (and avoid longer-term costs).
In this regard, they are like a team (of two people), where one is in charge of one fairly distinct half of a project (because that is what they’re good at) and the other takes care of the complementary half, which is their expertise.
You asked for an example where Frank-Now is “good” and Frank-Next is “bad.” Since they both have “good” intentions and are both trying to take care of Frank, I can’t really do that. But I can give you an example, where it would probably make sense to listen more to Frank-Now than to Frank-Next. Imagine that you’re sick and Frank-Now wants to stay in bed, sleep more, and relax. But Frank-Next is thinking about how he’s promised himself to spend at least three hours today on his computer to move a project along. If there’s not a way to do both of these, then the prudent thing to do (even for Frank-Next, though he wasn’t thinking of it) is to stay in bed and recuperate.
Continuing with the dialogue above: who's better? Frank-Now or Frank-Next?
Frank: Would you agree that Frank-Now has a focus on immediate pleasure, such as watching movies, eating ice cream, and such?
Dwight: Yes, AND many more possibilities are available for Frank-Now to enjoy now. Here are some of them:
Frank-Now can be happy when Frank-Next gets excited…the excitement becomes contagious from Frank-Next to Frank-Now.
Frank-Now can bring himself to focus on short-range feelings of accomplishment and creating mini-celebrations. For example, “Great, I’ve picked up the phone to call the prospect.” “Fantastic, I’m actually gotten half-way through dialing the number. “Amazing, I hear the phone ringing.” This can bring immediate pleasure to Frank-Now.
In the moment, if you notice Frank-Now not enjoying the process of (or resisting) what Frank-Next wants to do to get future results, then you can search and find the answer to the question, “What specifically about this process is not enjoyable for Frank-Now?” That question in itself may provide a shift. If not, then the answer(s) to the question could open up some creative ways for Frank-Now to enjoy the process.
To find other ways that Frank-Now could be happy, check out the link: https://www. .org/seven-ways-now-to-be-happy.
Frank: Would you agree that Frank-Next has his focus on exercise for future benefits, eating well for future benefits, and so on?
Dwight: Yes. But be careful. Frank-Next, without paying attention to what Frank-Now wants, may have a tendency to over promise. It’s also likely that Frank-Next is going to have trouble being persistent or staying focused if he hasn’t set it up for Frank-Now to enjoy the journey. And, importantly, why is Frank-Next interested in these future benefits? Because he thinks that when he has those benefits, the future Frank-Now will be happy. Often the habit of putting Frank-Now’s reward off into the future continues on into the future again and Frank-Now never gets to be happy. (I’m not suggesting that you’re really unhappy. I’m just saying it works this way for many.) For myself, if Dwight-Next is interested in a result, then Dwight-Next’s first priority is to consult with Dwight-Now (projected into our future) to ensure that Dwight-Now is likely to be onboard with the follow-through actions that are needed for Dwight-Next to get what he wants. If Dwight-Next shirks this consultation (sometimes it only takes a few seconds), not only are we likely to be unhappy in the process, we am less likely to be able to stay focused and keep going. Dwight-Now may even get rebellious and really mess up Dwight-Next’s plans?
Frank: Thus, I am struggling to see how Frank-Now is better than Frank-Next?
Dwight: Neither is better. They both have important and essential roles, where everything goes better when they are not at odds with each other. Check out Now and Next need each other. Imagine a company in which the marketing department and the accounting department were always fighting with each other, not appreciating the important functions the other department provided for everyone. This would make both departments and the whole company less successful than if they appreciated each other and found ways to work smoothly together.
Frank: So I am making up possible situations where Frank-Now is so valuable and that fact bothers me. It seems a stretch, but one example might be: Frank-Now wants to be the most irresponsible possible in how he spends his time and then, like magic, he discovers a break-through on something that becomes a great idea for a unicorn start up company (that could reach a value of $1 Billion).
Dwight: LOL. That could happen. Be careful here. “Irresponsible” is a word that Frank-Next uses to blame Frank-Now. That attitude perpetuates the fight between Frank-Now and Frank-Next. Personally, I do get some of my best ideas during my downtime when Dwight-Now is in charge.
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