Monday, May 4, 2009

The Second Best Time to Do Anything!

Do you find yourself looking back and wishing you had done things differently?

Do you wish you had cultivated the reading habit as a child so you'd be a better-read person today? Do you wish you had played a sport and stayed with it beyond college, so you would be a fitter person today? Do you wish you had gone easy on sweets and on food so you wouldn't be an obese diabetic today? Do you wish you had told your parents and your spouse and your kids how much you loved them?

Or are you the kind of person who constantly sees things changing in the future? I will give up sweets - after Diwali. Or, once we finish the Annual Business Plans, I will spend more time with the family. Or once I have that magic number in my bank account, I will quit and do what I have always wanted to.

Well, in either case, it might be good to remember the wisdom contained in an old Chinese proverb: "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now!"

The second best time is indeed now. The best time might appear to be yesterday - or tomorrow - but now is a terrific second-best - and it's up to us to make the most of now!

Business gurus and spiritual leaders have all talked about the power of now. The power of living in the present - versus the futility of living in a past that's gone - or dreaming of an imaginary future!

Often, our excuse for not taking action is either that the best time has passed - or is still to come. And our quest for the 'right time' helps mask our lethargy, and fuels our tendency to procrastinate.

Success comes to those who live in the present, who seize the moment. What's gone is gone - so no point living in regret. And the future? Well, as the saying goes, tomorrow never comes.

So whatever it is that you wish to do, do it today. Now. Make use of the second best time. Remember, it's never too late to become what you might have been.

Want to learn a new skill? Start today. Want to lose weight? Start that 45 minute daily walk - today! Want to have better relationships? Reach out and hug your loved ones - today. Whatever it is you want, make a beginning. Today.

Today is the tomorrow you thought of yesterday. Today is the yesterday you will look back longingly at - tomorrow. This might sound somewhat philosophical, but it's for real! When you start living in the present, that's when you unleash the power that's inside you.

As the Nike guys have been urging an entire generation, 'Just do it'. Right now!

And sure enough, twenty years from today, you'll be glad you planted that tree!


Anonymous said...

Absolutely right Prakash...every word mentioned here is very true

If one were to take a backseat & ponder back into life...u will always feel that you could have done this better or handled that situation better etc.

One is able to relate all this to real life situations , be it on personal or professional fronts!

As the saying goes " Let Bygones be Bygones"...OR ..."There's no use crying over Spilt Milk" OR ..."Do not ruin your Present or Future for the Past" , all these proverbs in some form or the other state that "The Second Best Time to do Anything" is now !


Avijit said...

The most difficult decision is to come out of our individual comfort zones or the inertia that we have got into and hence to justify this we postpone things for tomorrow....and as we all know Tomorrow never comes. This reminds me of one of your earlier posts..Eat the Frog....We need to eat the frog TODAY..Now or else it would be too late.

ambika said...

Remembering my father…he use to say
“You can not change the past….but u can ruin perfectly good present by worrying about future”
One should live each day in a very positive way …that makes you and people around u happy….
worrying or regretting is not going to help in any ways…….

Megh said...

Sir i was never keen on reading but since the day i have started reading your blogs im more into it now.......guess i have already implemented want you wanted to convey thru this blog..........

ananth iyer said...

There is a saying that the past is over nothing much can be done so one can learn lessons from the past.
The Present is what we need to enjoy.
Future is always uncertain so one needs to plan for the Future.
Lets live the Present and make the best of it.
As you have mentioned ,it is now we need to do what we failed to do in the past or what we plan to do in future.
Enjoyed reading your blog.

Prakash said...


Yes, it's amazing how most times we look back with regret! We "wish" we had done things differently!

The challenge is to get ourselves to do things that we could look back on with pride... and the bigger challenge? To make sure we do things - and not just talk about doing them!

Prakash said...


Shaking yourself out of your comfort zone is reallly the key! Building a mindset of 'doing it now' can make all the difference.

Prakash said...


Thanks for sharing that... As always, Dads got it right most times!

Prakash said...

Well done Meghan!

Delighted to know that you have got into the reading habit! It will make a difference to your life - for sure!

What are you reading now?

Prakash said...


Happy to hear that you enjoy reading the blog!

You are right about the Present being all-important. If you hear spiritual gurus or management experts - they all agree on this one point: Live in the present!

Jayshree said...

your blog helped me ticking my wish list which remained unticked for so long .I started playing the keyboard once again and singing my favorite tunes. Thank you so much Prakash!

ashok said...

Hi Prakash,

I have been intoduced to your blog by Avijit, a big thanks to him, I am now a routine visitor, the article is fantastic at least to me its already given a kick for "Just do it" thanks for reminding we can do it and the right time is NOW!!!

Megh said...

Hi Sir how r you? its been long since we have read your new blog......

Mukesh said...

hi, Prakash,
So nice to read your blog.
I am glad I found The Salad Bar.
I only wish to add one more to your excellent quotes - this is what I have lived my life with:

You may fail in some of what you try but all of what you do not try.

Many times we do not try for fear of failure or redicule- but try we must.

Look forward to reading more .

PS:Every time I am at the airport i look around - to see if I spot you.