I’ve lost so many opportunities in life because I believed the timing wasn’t right.
It’s happened most often in my love life.
It usually went like this:
I’d meet someone special but feel overwhelmed with the circumstances of my life and then struggle to fully embrace what was before me.
But using the excuse of “the timing is never right” hasn’t just happened in my love life. I’ve used this excuse to keep myself stuck in place in other areas of life.
The problem is that believing “the timing is never right” is a disempowering perspective to take. It results in making excuses and missing out on the opportunities that are before us right now.
Let me explain.
The feeling of “the timing is never right”
Have you ever wished to yourself, “if only…”
If only I had more money, I’d do things my way.
If only I was better looking, I’d find the partner of my dreams.
If only I wasn’t feeling so overwhelmed, I’d be able to move forward in life.
This feeling of “if only” is similar to the feeling of “the timing is never right in my life”.
It’s disempowering to think this way.
When we focus on “if only” or needing the timing to be better, we put ourselves into a state of malaise. We succumb to the circumstances around us becoming set in stone, impervious to change.
Instead, we develop more personal power when we accept the reality that the circumstances will never be perfect while focusing on the limited possibilities before us.
The feeling of “the timing is never right” happens in many areas of life, but most often with romance.
Using “the timing isn’t right” as an excuse to avoid a relationship
I’ve been on both sides of the ledger when it comes to timing not being right as an excuse to avoid entering into a relationship.
In my early 30s, I met a wonderful woman. We had similar passions, I found her incredibly attractive, and we respected each other.
The problem was that I was distracted by my ambitions.
I was in the process of moving to New York City from London, having quit my Ph.D. to start Ideapod. She lived in Bangkok and wanted to move to New York City to be with me.
But I hesitated.
The timing isn’t right for me, I told her. I wanted to focus on my ambition of building a big company. I didn’t want her to be dependent on me, making such a big move.
Looking back, I can see now that I was trapped by the belief that circumstances needed to be perfect before I was able to fully embrace a potentially wonderful relationship. I was addicted to idealizing the perfect life and the perfect relationship.
Now that I’ve emotionally matured in some areas of life, I can see that the perfect relationship doesn’t exist. I don’t need to achieve any kind of success before I’m able to settle down and commit.
I missed out on embracing something special, and it’s happened many times since then.
If you’ve been in this situation or have someone avoiding a relationship with you because their timing isn’t right, I suggest watching the free masterclass on relationships with Rudá Iandê. The exercise he shares in this masterclass is what I needed to realize I’ve been making excuses when it comes to commitment and love in my life.
But what if we believe the timing isn’t right because of all of the injustice and inequities of the world? Or what if we’re facing personal challenges that make us feel overwhelmed?
Let’s go a little deeper.
What if you’re feeling overwhelmed?
I posted a controversial statement on Instagram yesterday and received many critical comments. The comments got me thinking a little more deeply about the issue.
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It seems a bit harsh, right?
There are many reasons for feeling overwhelmed. We’re living through a pandemic. People are losing family members. Hospitals are overloaded in many parts of the world. People’s mental health is a huge issue.
But my point isn’t to deny these issues. There are very good reasons for feeling completely overwhelmed.
Rather, what I want to say is that in the face of feeling overwhelmed, every single one of us has a choice.
We can choose to let the feeling of being overwhelmed define the story of what’s happening in our life.
We can deny ourselves agency in the face of the chaos of life.
We can become fixated on the circumstances that are making us feel overwhelmed.
Or we can choose a more empowering path.
But choosing a different path isn’t about denying the reality of the circumstances we face.
We don’t need to overcome these circumstances in order to move forward in life. We don’t need to achieve any kind of outcome to defeat this feeling of being overwhelmed.
Rather, we can make the powerful statement — even if it’s initially just to ourselves — that we have the power to define the circumstances we’re facing.
We have the power to grab hold of this feeling of being overwhelmed and use it for motivation to make some kind of change.
Even if we’re feeling miserable, depressed and anxious for the future, this power can never be taken away from us.
We don’t need to hold onto the excuse of the timing not being right. We have more power than we’ve been led to believe.
The timing will never be right
We live in a highly complex world that is full of injustice and inequity. We will always be one recession away from losing our jobs, one pandemic away from losing our loved ones, one natural disaster away from losing our homes.
Unfortunately, we’re going to face many challenges in the future.
And the solutions to these challenges will never be immediately apparent.
Rather, what matters is that we adopt an empowered perspective in the face of these challenges which doesn’t require the timing being right or the solutions being clear.
Are you concerned about single-crop plantations destroying the land we depend upon? This problem won’t be solved overnight.
Even though at an individual level you don’t have the power to change the world’s predominant system of agriculture and food distribution, you do have some options at your disposal. You can choose to shop for your food from a local farmer’s market where you have better visibility on where the food came from.
Your choices will always be your own. The challenges you face will also be unique to you. The timing will never be right because we’ll always face challenges. But your personal power to move forward will always be with you during every breath you take.
The cheap wine of tragedy
How do you relate to the tragedy of the past? Do you let bad timing and unfortunate circumstances stop you in your tracks?
I think there’s a danger in succumbing to the feeling of being overwhelmed in the face of bad timing.
It can become addictive to focus on tragedy and bad circumstances.
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Classic cases where the timing is never right
To close out this article, I want to share a few classic cases where it seems like the timing is never right.
1) The timing is never right when it comes to saying goodbye
It’s easy to feel like we’re trapped in a relationship. It may be that things feel like they’re not quite right. We may even have the clear realization that the person we’re with isn’t a good fit for us.
But the easier option is often to stay in the relationship because the timing isn’t right.
If you’re using bad timing as an excuse to stay in a relationship, I have a question for you:
Is this fair on the other person in the relationship? Are you being fair to yourself?
Even though it’s difficult, in the long run, it’s fairer on the other person and ourselves if we make the tough decision and move on from a relationship we no longer want to be in.
(The love and intimacy masterclass by Rudá Iandê contains fantastic advice if you’re in this situation. It’s well worth watching.)
2) The timing is never right when it comes to love
Throughout my 30s, I had the belief that I needed to be successful first before I was able to settle down in a relationship
Now I can see how wrong that is.
No matter the circumstances, we’re always able to partner up with others. Our challenges are much better faced in partnership together than doing it alone.
The timing will never be right when it comes to love. We always want to better ourselves first. But we can enter into relationships even when our lives aren’t yet perfect.
3) The timing is never right when it comes to the perfect job
If you’re ambitious and want to build a good career, you’ll be acutely aware of the perfect jobs you want.
But we usually need to build up experience to get those jobs.
It feels like the timing is never right when it comes to the perfect job.
Usually, we compare the stress of the job we have or from not currently having a job with a supposed perfect state that exists when we finally find the perfect job.
The reality is usually different.
Even the perfect job is going to be full of stress and anxiety. It will involve having many responsibilities.
We don’t want to distract ourselves from fully embracing whatever situation we’re currently in.
If we have a job that seems like it’s not quite perfect, we can at least embrace the responsibilities we have. We can improve our skills and get better.
If we don’t yet have a job, we can embrace the challenge of taking a step forward on the path to finding that perfect career. We can think longer-term and take up the challenge of building up our skills.
There’s always a path we can take that is empowering, even when the timing isn’t right for finding the perfect job.
4) The timing is never right when it comes to my mind
I have a friend who has struggled with a severe mental illness his whole life. Over the last few years, he’s managed to overcome what he’s going through. I recently asked him what advice he’d give to someone else going through what he’s going through.
He said it was important to him to have clear goals and continually move forward in life. It wasn’t about achieving the goals but more about having a daily routine that wasn’t defined by his mental illness.
He was able to separate his “condition” from the life he wanted to live. He created routines that were limited as compared with what other people were doing, but from the context he was operating still moved him forward.
I know this is very difficult advice for many people. I’m not suggesting that we can just ignore whatever is happening with our minds.
But we can learn to accept our current mental states while moving forward, even if it’s just a small step forward.
It’s empowering to know that even when we feel like things are at their worst, we do have options at our disposal.
5) The timing is never right when it comes to equity and justice
The unfortunate reality is that we’re never going to arrive at a state of utopia in the world.
There will always be structural issues and external circumstances that seem like they’re impervious to change.
In the face of these bigger challenges, we can choose to see them as overwhelming. We can choose to wait for someone else to do something about them. We can wait for revolution.
Or we can take a small step forward. We can exercise our power as consumers. We can commit to a different set of behaviors and inspire one other person in our life to do something similar.
It’s a more inspiring path to take, choosing to believe our actions matter. It builds up our personal power and contributes to a life of meaning and purpose.
You always have a choice
It’s a powerful decision to choose that “the timing is never right” will never be an excuse for not taking action.
I know this can sound like tough medicine, especially when people feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of their life.
But it’s important we understand how powerful we all are, despite those circumstances.
As the psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote of the inmates in concentration camps during the Second World War:
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