The one sentence summary

You can’t change the past, but you can change the future, and now is where everything can be changed.


  • For anyone who has ever been told to slow down, there is a surprising truth about the power of now. If you learn to nurture your newness, embrace your haste, and love your Nowist nature, you can discover effortless action and decisions, embrace opportunities, obstacles and crises, and keep moving forward in a thoroughly positive way.
  • Those living in the past are called Thenist – they suffer from loss, regret and worry. Nowists are more likely to achieve growth, joy and reward.

Thenists: tasks are a means to an end; they often forget to enjoy life; they agonise over decisions, which slows them down, so they often procrastinate, or suddenly lurch into a decision that makes no sense; they are easy to interrupt or slow down; they tend to be self-doubting, and often waste energy on worry.

Nowists: love moving and seek joy in doing things; they don’t waste their lives seeking happiness, so they seek it now; they make rapid, effortless decisions; they see sequences, and have a sense of where they are going; they are hard to stop and a force of nature; self-trusting, confident in their abilities; and have do-it energy.

  • One way to cope with stress is to lower expectations, but that means we may miss what makes us stronger. Instead of passively hiding or becoming overwhelmed, you can actively leap into the best that life has to offer.
  • If you are overwhelmed, you use up too much stress energy; but with too little stress energy, you are underpowered, and don’t get round to things.
  • We live in the present but carry the anxieties of the past and concerns about the future with us at all times. Yet you can only directly think, do or change anything at the point of now.


  • You get told to look before you leap but if you are too careful you may end up just looking. If you don’t start, you’re finished.
  • Effortless doesn’t equal lazy. Nowists satisfice, by giving it their best shot fast, and moving on to the next thing happily. They believe that done is better than perfect. They often practice precrastination – they move the priorities of the future into the present by starting things early.
  • Nowists do look back, but only constructively. When you remember feeling powerful, action becomes a powerful habit for next time.
  • Performance is ability minus interference.
  • Those confronted by tricky obstacles (such as cancer) are said to have a feisty spirit of survivorship.


  • The Nowist/Thenist (Taoist/Zenist?) labels take some getting used to.