the right time

Published on April 17, 2020

When is the right time to do something?

Recently, I have been making a decision that would require a big commitment. It would require a risk. It would require me shaking up my routines, and spending my time in a way which is different to how I do so today. But it is a great opportunity.

The one hesitation I have had in my mind has been “it is not the right time.” This has been compounded by the current economic circumstances in which we find ourselves. During a recession -- or the preamble to one -- taking any risk can be rationalized as a poor decision.

But when is the right time for me to take risks? Next month? Next year?

In one month, things likely will not have changed as much, but one thing is almost certain: this opportunity will not be around for me to pursue.

In one year, I will likely have more commitments than I do today. I won’t have as many as I will ten years down the line -- I don’t expect to be signing on for a house any time soon -- but, overall, judging by how much my life has changed over the last year, I will have more to think about in one year.

There never really is a right time for many of the decisions that we have to make. If there were, then there would not be an entire section in the self-help industry dedicated to decision-making: it would be obvious what we would need to do in most cases.

Being young is an advantage that is easy to take for granted, because it is inherent and young people don’t have the benefit of hindsight.

The one thing I keep forgetting is that, when you’re young, you are more free to take risks in large part because of your age. You have time to backtrack if things don’t go your way. You have years ahead of you that you can use to catch up if you fall behind.

If I don’t take risks when I am young, when am I going to take them? The one mistake I do not want to make is to avoid taking risks, putting them off until “the right time” comes. Because there may never be a right time.

There are definitely wrong times. Making a career transition when the rest of your life is not going well is most likely the wrong time to change; trying to change your diet during Christmas is not the wrong time, but it’s probably not the best time, either.

But, in most cases, there will never be a right time. The one thing I need to train my mind in recognizing is when the conditions are good enough to make a risk.

I am young. I have my whole life ahead of me. If I let myself avoid a risk because I don’t feel ready, then perhaps I’ll spend my whole life chasing the “right time”, and never get to where I want to be. It’s difficult to make progress amidst uncertainty, but it’s exactly during those times where you are able to learn the most.

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