Derek Sivers

The challenge: Don’t speak in future tense.


When I lived in Los Angeles, I noticed they have a strange speaking pattern. Everyone speaks in future tense!

These are the things some people have to tell themselves to be hopeful when facing another day of challenges.

But of course these future things rarely end up happening. They don’t mention it again, and you politely don’t ask.

I felt like wearing a shirt that says, “TELL ME WHEN IT HAPPENS.”

So now when I hear a future-tense sentence, my ears shut down. I’ll wish them well, but I don’t believe a word.

Try noticing this in yourself and others for a week. Are you speaking more in future tense or present tense? Are they?

Because announcing your plans makes them less likely to happen.