How to make things actually happen
Forget New Year's resolutions, tell yourself a ‘future truth’ instead.
An invite from Tim Smit
'Why don't you come and join us and change your life forever?’Play video
Hear from some of the people who've been on the programme.Play video
There’s a particular story that’s entered Eden’s creation mythology. It’s the tale of ‘future truths’ and it goes a little something like this…
After receiving a seemingly fatal knock back in the mid-1990s about a chunk of funding Tim Smit, Eden co-founder, was famously faced with a dilemma. The embryonic Eden team and the local press were expecting a big funding announcement, but how could he let down the people who had given up everything to gather around the project?
In a panic meeting it was decided that he shouldn’t let them down, rather he should – in his own words – ‘bluff it out’. So, that’s what he did. Through some linguistic sleight of hand he managed to convince the Eden team, the press, and possibly also himself, that the project was in good shape, and that the funders merely wanted some minor adjustments and they were good to go. Amazingly, everyone carried on as normal.
This playfulness set off a chain of events which ultimately resulted in the creation of the Eden Project as we know it today. There's lots more detail on this episode in Smit’s book Eden, but let us just focus for now on this idea of a future truth. You’re probably curious about what exactly it is.
'Once I said that Eden was going to happen, that was it, it was going to happen!’
On the face of it this decision can seem at once foolhardy, mischievous or, arguably, unethical. But when pressed on this Smit’s answer makes a lot of sense. ‘Don’t you see what I was doing, I was telling a future truth,’ he said. ‘You see, I’m a fundamentally lazy person. So I need something to trick me into action. Once I said that Eden was going to happen, that was it, it was going to happen!’
Smit’s great insight was that, unless he said his ideas out loud, they wouldn’t come to life. Some of you may empathise with this. You might have 10, 20, or even 50 brilliant ideas swimming around your head and many of them will have been swimming there for years. They’ve just never been given the opportunity to escape your skull, to be breathed into the world. That best-selling novel? That ground-breaking company? That adventure over the Andes? All stuck inside your mind.
You might like to think about what it is that’s stopping you. You may fear you can’t actually do it, you might be scared of other people's cynicism, or perhaps it's the trepidation that this thing might actually just work.
So instead of the usual New Year’s Resolution, here’s your challenge. The next time you’re with people whose opinion you value, be it in private or the board room, tell them your future truth; your biggest, craziest, most brilliant idea. Breathe that magic into existence.
Join us at HotHouse
If you’d like to start the journey of turning your ideas into reality, why not join us on a creative leadership programme this year in March or May, a five-day immersive experience here at the Eden Project.