Randy Forbes: The next best thing

randy forbesThe aisle shelves displayed bags of candy corn and plastic pumpkins – sitting just steps away from the packs of college-ruled paper and the oversized pencil banners pointing down to the rows of school supplies. We are just a few days into the month of August, before many people have even started back-to-school shopping, and stores are already pulling out the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.

I don’t know about you, but it seems the time for enjoying one season or holiday at a time is getting shorter and shorter.

As a society, we’re constantly looking for the next best thing. The next holiday. The next version of our favorite product. The next episode of our favorite television show. We live in a society where technology changes rapidly, social media feeds are updated instantly, new safety recommendations are released continuously, and there is a general push towards new, bigger, or smarter.

In the midst of all this searching for the next best thing, I am reminded of the valuable lessons that come by focusing on the now.

As a kid, I used to watch my dad tinker with the television. When it stopped working, he didn’t run out to the store and replace it with a new one. Dad tried to fix it. If he couldn’t fix it, he called the television repairman. His generation expected to get the most out of the things they had. Furniture not only lasted the life of many families, but was passed on to children who sometimes refinished it to look better than it did originally. Instead of throwing away a plastic milk jug, a milk delivery man sanitized and reused glass bottles that were delivered to the front door. They had an appreciation for what they held at that moment, and they wanted to make the most out of it.

Over the past few decades, we’ve moved further and further away from a present mentality to one where we are relentlessly asking: “What’s next?” Some of it is trivial – like watching a marathon of episodes in the latest Netflix series because you can’t bear to wait to see what happens. But some of it is important. I remember watching the news two years ago just hours after the last presidential election had ended. The words ticked across the bottom of the screen: “Who will run in 2016?” There was no discussion about getting to work now, or how we might build consensus to address some of the major challenges facing our nation – only talk about who would be next.

It is almost exhausting, but more importantly, it often takes us from the task at hand. If we’re so busy looking ahead to the next best thing, how are we supposed to appropriately tackle the challenges that face us today? We can’t tackle our debt without first acknowledging our spending today. We can’t assume our military will be ready for future challenges and not address critical shortfalls today. We can’t look ahead to a good jobs report without first addressing regulations on businesses today.

This is not to say that planning ahead isn’t important. On the contrary, I have advocated strongly for better long-range planning.  I believe operating on a plan gives shape and purpose to our future, both as individuals and as a nation. However, there is a difference between the earnest planning for the future and the culture of throwing away the now in unbridled expectation of the next. We can’t fail to see what we have or where we are today – doing so breeds mediocrity. Real growth happens when we deal with the now and do what we need to do instead of waiting or hoping for the next best thing.

Randy Forbes represents the Fourth District in Congress.

augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.