The Right Time Will Never Come


Lots of good people are frustrated with the world, and I understand that only too well. They are, furthermore, eager for the world to improve, and I respect that a great deal.

Their problem arises, however, right on the heels of these desires, when they ask the question, “What should I do?” And that’s where the wheels fall off.

All the Popular Answers Are Wrong

The world is full of people who are glad to tell you what to do. They have carefully thought out arguments as to why their plan is the right one and why everyone else’s is wrong. They’ll encourage you to commit to them, and they’ll try to surround you with people who have already chosen their plan. If you join, you’ll get lots of pats on the back and assurances that you’re a good person.

But all those ways are wrong. They offer you fast, cheap self-esteem. They offer you a fast track to feeling useful, important, and wanted. And all you have to do is join their very pleasant crowd.

Let me make this very clear: There is no blueprint for freedom. There will be no great plan to follow. People who say they have such a thing, while they may be well-meaning, bright, and even respectable, are moving in the wrong direction. (And I truly don’t mean to criticize here; we’ve all made our mistakes.) Here’s the core of the issue:

If we want a world that is safe for individuals, we’ll have to create it as individuals, not as groups.

Groups beget after their own kind, and individuals beget after their own kind.

I’m not the first person to decide this, by the way; here’s what Albert Schweitzer had to say on the subject many years ago:

The unnatural way of spreading ideas must be opposed by the natural one, which goes from man to man and relies solely on the truth of the thoughts and the hearer’s receptiveness for new truth.

The Easiest Thing to Do

Following someone else’s plan is the easy way. It saves us from responsibility. It allows us to deflect the blame, at least a little, if later we’re found to be wrong. This easy way, however, is a wrong way.

There’s a great line from Steven Stills’s song, “The Southern Cross,” that goes like this:

And we never failed to fail;
it was the easiest thing to do.

It will always be the easiest thing to go downward into servitude. That is the current condition of the world, with its dominance-obsessed and status-worshiping inertia. You can go downward quickly by handing your will to the status quo, or you can go slowly by standing still. But until you act, solely upon your own judgment, you’re not going to go upward.

Are You Saying…?

Yes, I’m saying that you have to make your own decision, all alone, and that you have to raise the courage to start acting upon it by yourself, with no leader telling you the best choice, with no famous author guiding you, and with no authority sanctifying the path for you.

You’ll have to choose, all by yourself. And you’ll have to face all the fears that hold you back from stepping out… you’ll have to push past them… you’ll have to make your own legs start walking.

That, my friends, is the price of progress… and we each have to pay it, or not pay it, alone.

We Should Act Without a Plan?

Emphatically yes. The central issue here is not following a plan, but dragging ourselves out of stasis and taking some kind of initiative.

Unless you’re making some kind of wild, violent choice, almost any choice you make is a good one. Your central necessity is to unfreeze yourself and start moving. Once you’re in motion, it’s easy to correct your course. But if you never move, you’ll just keep sliding down the majority’s path, regardless of how much you complain.

In our time, most of the good people in the world remain motionless. We complain about our local fiefdom’s abuses, of course, but that’s about all. That’s the seduction of “democracy,” you see: It magically turns complaints into progress.

Except that the magic of democracy never really shows up. Still, it’s the easiest thing to do. And so we complain and we wait, but we do not act.

But again: There’s never going to be a perfect plan and there’s never going to be a right time. If you wait for them, you’ll wait forever.

So, pick a spot and start. You probably already have choices in mind: Bitcoin, home school, 3D printing, intentional communities, temporary autonomous zones, agorism, becoming a perpetual traveler, or something else. Get moving. Your central necessity is to face the fear and to act anyway.

And if you’d like to know my favorite choice, here it is: Sit at a bus stop and talk to people. You can do that at almost any time and any place.

Who Happens to Whom?

In other words, “Who acts, and who is acted upon?”

As an old coworker of mine used to say, “He who hesitates is lost.” If you wait, you’ll be acted upon. And then you’ll have to re-form your plan, and you’ll hesitate again. And then you’ll be acted upon again… over and over, until you’re too old to do much of anything.

The ‘right time’ never comes. Either we let the world happen to us, or we transcend our fears and we happen to the world.

So, I propose a simple motto for people who actually give a damn:

The world doesn’t happen to us. We happen to the world.

Paul Rosenberg

8 thoughts on “The Right Time Will Never Come”

  1. “We Should Act Without a Plan? Emphatically yes. The central issue here is not following a plan, but dragging ourselves out of stasis and taking some kind of initiative”.
    For the love of god man please don’t tell people to start without a plan. This is a recipe for failure.

    1. For the love of god man please don’t tell people to start without a plan. This is a recipe for failure.
      I think what Paul means (and perhaps could have stated more clearly) is, make your own plans as individuals, plans that can be carried out by the one man alone.
      Or maybe I’m mistaken and Paul didn’t mean that. That’s what I’d recommend, though.

  2. “The world doesn’t happen to us. We happen to the world.” This is something I’ve always suspected. I’m glad I read your email tonight. Your posts always leave me with something useful, if not profound. If you’re ever in the Chicago area I would love to connect with you and perhaps get your reaction to a project I have been working on for the past several years: NewManagement.US. It is always gratifying to meet someone who is smarter and wiser than I am – it’s a relatively rare experience.

  3. Well said. As more and more people enter into greater moral decision making and ethical relations, there will come a time when critical mass has been reached.
    The practical way I see this creating change is as each person awakens to his inner guidance system he seeks to influence the endeavors in which he participates. For example, those in bureaucracy see those they serve as full human beings with personal value to be cherished and assisted. Love in action. There are thousands of groups and organizations spread throughout every aspect of civilization whose adherents seek to implement high ideals in a practical manner.
    Despite the appearance of insurmountable destruction of society and earth by self-centered men and women, from a cosmic perspective I perceive it all being under control.

  4. Well said indeed…and for sure easier said than done. Something worth pointing out is that when you start in whatever direction, find it exciting, feel like your doing the right thing, people and unseen opportunities will pop up to help you along. That’s not faith that’s reality, it’s scary to admit to yourself that you are not really up to your desired life, at that point is when the universe somehow intervenes to allow your forward evolution. I have counted on whatever this mysterious force is…and have relied on this for the free half of my life. One further observation is that you may have to burn your bridges, well meaning friends and relations will likely think you have gone absolutely insane and will do their very best to dissuade you from your “foolishness”.
    Very few people have the strength to resist turning tail back to the status quo when this strange new world becomes difficult. My advise is to take a long trip, look around, look for people doing the sorts of things you would like to try, then make a civil exit from your status quo, friends and family then DO IT!

  5. Another advantage to acting by oneself is that there are no communications with fellow actors for criminals to intercept and no exposure to “conspiracy” laws. I remember reading years ago about some people charged with conspiracy (a felony) to commit a misdemeanor crime. You read that right. That’s how twisted the government is.

  6. Not to criticize Rosenberg I like a lot of his ideas and have subscribed to his newsletter for about 2 years now, but I think it is funny when he says avoid groups and then at the end of the article goes on to basically say -join our group-.
    “So, pick a spot and start. You probably already have choices in mind:
    Bitcoin, home school, 3D printing, intentional communities, temporary
    autonomous zones, agorism, becoming a perpetual traveler, or something
    all good ideas but at the same time all part of the anarcho-capitalist mindset (not a bad mindset by the way!)
    also I have some aversion about this failure to have a plan. Failing to plan is a plan for failure , I do agree with not necessarily accepting others plans outright and without question, but personally I like to have a plan in mind for my self with set and defined goals. Also if others have plans that make sense, I am generally willing to hear them out and possibly use pieces of their logic or plans to augment my own.

Comments are closed.