To-Date or To-Go? That is the Question…

12/17/15 (Omaha, NE) Written by Sabastian Hunt

What type of person are you? Do you think mostly about what you’ve accomplished so far (to-date thinking) or think mostly about the work you’ve got left to do (to-date thinking)? This is an idea that is beautifully written about by Amy Wilkinson in The Creator’s Code.

Being thankful for what you’ve already accomplished is a great exercise in mindfulness and makes people happy generally.

Being focused on what’s left to do can keep you focused on accomplishing your next round of goals and prevent you from becoming that person who always revisits their high school days.

Studies cited in The Creator’s Code point to a correlation between having a to-go mindset and achieving success. Intuitively, this idea makes sense because dwelling on past success can demotivate one. It’s best to maintain a to-go/to-do balance and use each mindset as a lever to persevere depending on the unique situation you’re facing at a given time.

A great mixed strategy might include leveraging to-date thinking in areas that you’re not particularly competent in. You can’t be the best at everything so celebrating the success you have been able to make in areas that will eventually be delegated away is a reasonable approach to keep yourself happy. To-date thinking is good for your self esteem so use this lever sparingly to save your self-esteem and confidence to weather the emotional pressures you face in your career/startup.

Employ to-go thinking in areas where you’re very competent in. Take Peter Thiel’s mindset and aim for domination and monopoly in those areas. Whatever you do, don’t rest on your laurels because your competition isn’t resting — not even a little bit. I think the underlying benefit of to-go thinking is that you’ve always got a lofty goal on the horizon that acts a motivating force and is considered in every decision you make.

A great mixed strategy of to-go and to-date thinking can keep you a healthy and balanced person in your private and professional life. Experiment with this idea the next time you get discouraged or encouraged by something.