Now Or New

“If you want to be ‘now,’ you’re finished. That’s when you become the past.”
—Tricky, aka Adrian Thaws, from ‘Hell is Round the Corner’

Wabisabi Street Art photo by Robert Van Valkenburgh (artist unknown)

There is a saying in poker, or so I have heard, that goes something like, “If you cannot spot the sucker at the table, it’s you.” This is also true of innovators and followers in any aspect of human activity. If we are not sure that we are the ones innovating, breaking new ground, or creating new trends, someone else is and we are merely followers.

Followers rarely catch up. They are always going to be a bit behind because not only do innovators not wait for others to catch up, but they are often too busy shifting, pivoting, and moving forward to even notice or care. Innovators do not watch the shifting tides, they are the waves themselves.

Unlike the follower, who is constantly chasing that which is popular, the goal of an innovator has nothing to do with what the crowd thinks they want. Innovation, if it is to be useful, is about creating that which is needed or wanted for people who do not yet even know that they need or want it. Popular opinion and popular trends may inspire an innovator, not as something to catch up to, however, but as something to break away from, to overcome, and to abandon on the path away from now to new.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Street art photo taken by Robert (artist unknown)

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