Have you ever thought about what path you’re on? About your future and what it will be like? Of course you have or you wouldn’t be reading a blog like mine.
But how often or deeply do you think about what your future will be like?
It’s a very curious thing about people? We avoid unpleasant things. OK that’s not so curious. What is curious is that we avoid thinking about what we need to think about, so that we can be happy now, while knowing that avoidance now almost guarantees the collision in the future.
Here’s something to reflect about.
If you continue on the way you’re going, with your current friends, doing what you’re doing, exercising the way you do, on your current career path, living where you’re living, reading what you currently read, etc., etc., what do you think will be your likely future?
Of course you can’t predict the future, yet there are probable outcomes to actions. Remember statistics class? If you flip a coin there’s a fifty per cent chance it will lands heads up, a fifty per cent chance that it will land tails up. There is no chance that it will turn into a dollar bill. This is a similar exercise applied to your life. Your actions will have probable outcomes, and there will be some outcomes that will just not be possible – unless you change your actions.
If you continue as you’re going now, where will you be in ten years?
If you continue on the path you’re on what is the likely outcome of your life ten, twenty, thirty years down the road? Will you be wealthy, healthy and have a loving family and communities around you?
Will you have accomplishments that you can be proud of?
Will you have had a great time, enjoying yourself and doing great things? Will you have made a lasting impact on people and communities that will be left behind to say that you were here and made a difference?
Perhaps you can look at members of your family or communities for a hint. It’s more often the case that people repeat the habits, practices, conversations and outcomes of their families and communities than not.
Here’s an example of how this exercise might look. Imagine you’re in your forties, you’re overweight, your idea of exercise is doing the Dorito curl while spending hours every night watching hours of American Idol/Gladiator/Got Talent etc.; you have been in the same or similar jobs for ten years or more; you don’t go to seminars or conferences unless it’s mandated by your company; you hardly spend time with your kids; and you have friends that rarely discuss anything else but what’s wrong with the politicians, their employers, their families, friends and the casual passer-by.
Your very likely future is going to be very different than if you eat well, you exercise, you spend time every day with your family, you are constantly educating yourself, you are looking for ways to take on more challenges and responsibilities, and you have friends that almost always are discussing their latest challenges, projects, businesses and what is being done to make the world a better place.
The very likely future for the first “you” will have a lot more suffering in it than the second “you”.
Not acting for a future you want guarantees a future you don’t
Of course we will all die in the end and anyone can get hit by a truck, lightning or die from some terrible disease, yet only a simple mind will use these to avoid the sad conclusion of their very likely, almost certain future.
It’s not rocket science … really. And it’s not “Que Sera, Sera”.
You are authoring your future every day with the choices you make. The first step to altering your future – choosing a new future – is to really see and feel the future you’re on a trajectory toward. Shine a light on this likely future, imagine yourself there and sit with the impact of it for awhile.
If this is difficult, have a close friend paint the picture of the path you’re on, and you do the same for them. Not “Rah-Rah, you can do it” – that’s not appropriate for this stage of an intervention – but an honest assessment based on where your current practices (what you do, your attitudes, your job, spouse, communities etc) are most likely to lead you. Then consciously choose this future, own it.
Or choose another.
Don’t do what most people do, which is pretend that you don’t know how life will turn out and you could win the lottery ticket in the end. That’s for victims, not you.
“The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found,but made; and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.” Peter Ellyard