It may seem the title of this article is completely random. Just an out of context question, making absolutely no sense.
And yet, this is the most fundamental thing you should do after you finished something.
You finally reached that goal? Ok, done, what next?
You finally ran your first marathon? Ok, done, what next?
You found the love of your life and got married? Ok, done, what next?
You made your first million? Ok, done, what next?
See, we tend to get attached to outcomes to such a degree, that we think we’ve made it. We think that once we reached that goal, once we found that person, once we have one million in the bank, ka-boom, life is solved. It’s not.
First of all, life is not a riddle, so it cannot be solved. Just give up on that, if you had your philosophical takes at it, it doesn’t work that way. Life is an ongoing process, continuously unfolding, impossible to stop. And we are its witnesses. Or, as Chuck Palahniuk said it even better: “we’re the all singing, all dancing crap of the Universe”.
Second, spending too much time in a certain place will make us inertial. It will be more and more difficult to get up and move forward. Of course, we should enjoy victory, we should reap the rewards, we worked hard, so we deserve a bit of comfort. Enjoying some comfort is nice, but we should be aware that, as all things in life, comfort is not only nice, it’s also transitory. Sooner or later we will be forced to move from that nice place we found, we will be force to leave the plateau, and if we’re not prepared, it will be hard. For some of us it will be so hard that we will perceive that process as a crisis.
The mere focus on this “what next?” question will at least create some mental space in which the unavoidable change that will nudge us forward will be properly integrated. We not only know that change is inevitable, but we’re actively inquiring, trying to find out what it is.
This approach will keep us flexible and fit, the same way constant training, as athletes, will keep us strong and fit. The moment you stop training, the moment you stop asking “what next?”, you will start to decay.