"Don’t be a dog— think ‘what if’” - Matt Mullenweg


Matt Mullenweg created WordPress which powers about 25% of the entire web and is the CEO of Automattic. He has been named one of BusinessWeek’s 25 Most Influential People on the Web. 

When asked about advice he’d give to someone, Matt Mullenweg thinks back to the early days of WordPress. Matt says they always used to think, “okay, if we do X today, what does that result in tomorrow, a year from now, or even ten years from now?”. He contrasted this to the metaphor of a dog chasing a car. What would the dog do if he actually catches the car? He doesn’t have a plan, all he can think of is getting to the car. Mullenweg says he finds this same thinking with entrepreneurs. He says, “[they] don’t plan for success”.  Therefore Mullenweg’s advice is, “don’t be a dog — think ‘what if’”.

If we take Mullenweg’s advice and relate it to our everyday lives, we might notice that so much of what we are doing in our day-to-day lives doesn’t positively impact our future. For example, I really enjoy watching TikTok in my free time or scrolling Instagram. If I go ahead and think “what does that result in tomorrow or a year from now?”, the answer is nothing. Watching these does not help me to advance really in any way. It really doesn’t align with any of the goals I have for myself, whether that be career or fitness related. On the other side of that, I’ve been trying to workout everyday, so when I don’t feel like doing that, I think to myself, “what will me not working out today result in tomorrow or months from now?” The answer for me is I will feel guilty tomorrow and if I keep up a pattern of missing my workouts, I won’t be able to hit my fitness goals in a few months. Mullenweg’s advice can definitely be applied to any aspect of someone’s life or in their business. 

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve ever noticed yourself “being a dog”, just doing things without looking ahead or if you normally plan for the future with your daily habits and actions! 

Ferriss, Timothy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers HMH Books, 2016.

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