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Just last night, as I was watching (maybe, for the twentieth time) the animated adventure comedy film ‘The Croods’ with my kids, I got particularly captivated by a specific scene.
I saw it a few times and loved it each time I heard the story in that scene.
Before I share the scene with you, and why it holds great relevance to your own life, let me tell you the movie’s plot as quickly as I can.
The Croods is the story of an overprotective caveman Grug who, along with his family, is one of the few survivors in the hostile pre-historic times.
“Never not be afraid” is Grug’s repeated advice to his family, and especially to his curious daughter Eep.
For Grug, anything new, anything that raises curiosity, is bad. And this is good advice as it has helped his family survive against the predators.
But then things change when Grug and his family meet a clever and inventive caveboy named Guy who tells them that the world is reaching its end, and asks them to join him in the pursuit of survival.
To the unrelenting Grug who disbelieves Guy and his plan of survival, Guy tells a story of his own about a paradise he nicknames “Tomorrow”, and how they all can ride the Sun to this paradise.
Here is that part of the movie when Guy narrates his story –
Guy: Once upon a time, there was a beautiful tiger. She was in a cave with the rest of her family. Her father mother told her you may go anywhere you want, but never go near the cliff, for you could fall…
Grug: And die!
Guy: But when no one was looking, she goes near the cliff. And the closer she comes to the edge, the more she could hear, the more she could see, the more she could feel.
Then, she stood at the very edge. And she saw light. She leaned out to touch it, and she slipped…
Grug: And she fell!
Guy: And she flew!
Grug’s Son: Where did she fly?
Grug’s Daughter: Tomorrow?
Guy: A place where there are more suns in the sky than you can count. A place not like today, or yesterday. A place where things are better.
Grug: Huh! Tomorrow isn’t a place! You cannot see it!
Guy: Oh yes, yes it is! I’ve seen it. That’s where I’m going.
Tomorrow is Where I’m Going
Born in a middle-class family, and with protective parents, I have heard and experienced endless stories of the dangers of being curious and not being afraid.
I have also seen a lot of my friends brought up in a culture where they were constantly reminded about the dangers of standing up, standing out, and making a ruckus.
However, as I have realized, settling for the status quo is living for something less than God desires for us. It’s not the way you make your dreams come true.
As Guy reminds me in his story, it’s only when I go near to the cliff, closer to the edge, I can hear more, see more, and feel more
It’s only then that I can see the light, try to touch it, slip, fly, and ride the Sun to Tomorrow.
“Tomorrow isn’t a place!” Grug tells Guy on hearing his story. “You can’t see it!”
To this, Guy replies, “Oh yes, it is! I’ve seen it. That’s where I’m going.”
The crux of what I want to say here is that we all have the potential to do great work in life. However to do so, we need to leave our comfort zones – and dare to take the risk of flying to Tomorrow.
This requires facing up to the pain involved in the process, and being open to possible failure and criticism.
Take investing for instance.
In the investing world where you find more and more people sleepwalking through their lives instead of taking the risk of going against the crowd and invest for the long run, it pays to prepare for the flight to Tomorrow.
How do you do this?
By learning to pick the best investments, actually picking them, and then letting the power of compounding work its wonder on them.
Compounding is, in fact, the Sun from Guy’s story that you must ride to reach your financial freedom.
Being afraid and settling for mediocre long-term returns on your money (mediocre means anything less than inflation) by not investing at all is dangerous, whatever your overprotective seniors would have told you.
I have seen a lot of people doubting the very concepts of long-term investing and compounding.
“Who has the patience?” some would ask me in bewilderment, “…and that too to compound money at just 15-18% rate of return?”
A simple math for those who consider a 15% return as too low – Rs 1,500 per month invested at 15% annual return for 20 years amounts to Rs 22.5 lac. And if you can invest Rs 5,000 per month at 15% annual return, you would end up with Rs 75 lac after 20 years.
Start Preparing for Tomorrow
We often blame our past and worry about our future.
The fact is that – and you also know this – life is in living NOW. It’s all about the…
- Things we learn now;
- Choices we make now;
- Habits we form now;
- Actions we take now; and
- Enlightenment we receive now
Regretting about the past – “If only I could’ve started investing earlier!” or “If only I had not made that investing mistake!” – is like wasting time and energy on the impossible. And worrying about the future – the Tomorrow – is like having no belief in your capabilities.
If you can live in the present, connect with it, accept it, and experience the joy of flying in the NOW, you would surely head towards a brighter Tomorrow.
In fact, the best possible way to prepare for Tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today.
When I was ten years old, my grandfather would draw me a house with windows and doors. He would tell me how many brick lengths the bottom and sides needed, and how many brick lengths each window and door would take.
Then he asked me how many bricks it would take to build the whole house. If I had trouble answering, he wouldn’t get upset.
He would simply say: “This is how you build a house. One brick at a time.”
Well, this is also how you prepare for Tomorrow.
By seeing it now, and then, as Charlie Munger would have loved to see you do, working backward to achieve it.
As Stephen Covey writes as his second habit of highly effective people – Begin with the end in mind.
Well, that’s where you should also begin – End…Tomorrow. Then work backward.