The Danger of ‘When’

If you had asked me at fourteen if I liked musicals, I would have scoffed at the question. 

It turns out that ignorance is not always bliss. Sometimes, it is just ignorance. 

I had never experienced a Broadway-style musical, so I assumed I didn’t like them. 

Now I love them.

Our family saw Matilda a few years ago, and the song When I Grow Up hangs with me from that production.

It portrays the kids’ imaginations about what life will be like when they are older. For example, “When I grow up, I will eat sweets every day on the way to work, and I will go to bed late every night!”

“When” can be a dangerous word. 

  • When the kids get older, I . . .
  • When the life slows down, I . . .
  • When I retire, I . . .

‘When’ can quickly push the positive action that I should start today into the future.

Recently, I caught myself thinking, “When the New Year starts, I will . . .”

It makes sense. With the holidays and the onset of early darkness, it is easy to lose motivation and kick things to 2024.  

But we will have 40 days remaining in 2023 when this post goes live. That means that we have over 10% of the year remaining. 

So, if I punt the positive action I need to take today into 2024, I am wasting 10% of 2023. (Yes, I know that if you subtract weekends and holidays, only about 25 days remain, but that is simply another rationalization for inaction.)

One of the best ways to make 2024 great is to stop procrastinating on the positive things we know we need to do and start NOW. Working out some of the learning curve at the end 2023 will make 2024 much better.

So, take five minutes right now and jot down three things you plan to do “when the new year comes” and get started today. 


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Director of Operations for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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