Derek Sivers

from the book “”:

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.

“This guy from EMI is interested and going to be presenting it to the VP.”

“We’re in talks to do a pilot for the fall.”

“I’m getting ready to work on some new material with a hit writer.”

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 t-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?

Remember that announcing your plans makes them less likely to happen.