Sunday, May 29, 2011
Life has a way of slipping away on a daily basis. Perhaps one of the ironic truisms is ones youth is perceived as eternal and the future never comes. In stark contrast to reality, the future does come and usually quicker than we think.
Each day I meet individuals who are “trapped” in the mundane aspects of their life, and struggle to find a sense of purpose in their jobs. The fact that we refer to our daily work as “a job” is the first indication that we are trapped. So how can we build a future in which we would prefer to live?
Here are some helpful keys that will empower your future.
1. The future is where we live
The future is not as far away as one thinks! I remember well, sitting in the career guidance office at high school, worrying about the next phase of my life. As I pondered the career options, leaving home, friendships, and the sports teams that had provided the network and assurance of who I was. All these would change, and the future was less than clear to me.
How important were those decisions made in ignorance? The quote “youthfulness is wasted on youth” has a ring of truth to it. As a young person, my thoughts rarely ventured into the mundane issues of life or responsibilities beyond my future needs, let alone considering another’s needs. On reflection, I think I should have thought.
Each day we fashion our future out of the daily habits we accumulate. Some will prepare us for life, but few will initiate our success in the future.
2. The strongest prison is in the confines of one’s mind
Our attitude is a huge factor in determining our future. A positive attitude can make an intellectually inferior person superior and a superior person inferior, that’s the power of attitude. To assume we need unlimited resources to be successful in life is as foolish as believing things will change without us taking responsibility. Whether we can or cannot, we are absolutely right!
The wild salmon’s survival is dependent on its capacity to swim against the tide. Were it to choose a life of ease and to take the path of least resistance, it would be extinct in one generation. If we are to build the future in which we prefer to live, one must accept the inevitable:
a) We will meet with daily resistance of all kinds. Prepare your mind for it
b) Every preferable future starts with the seed of hope. It does not come fully formed
c) If your thinking isn’t open to growth and change, your future is limited
d) The hardest thing to open is a closed mind. Seek out dream builders in print
e) Minimise your options. An option mentality always leaves the back door open.
3. Our future is purposed by our daily activities
We are creatures of habit. Part of our security lays in the way we control the variables in life. Recently I was speaking at a meeting regarding change management. I made the statement, “Who likes change” and the response was overwhelming. Almost all the participants raised their hands. I asked each person to look around the room and see the response. I then talked about, removing parking privileges, open plan offices replacing individual ones and moving the 9-5 working day to three shifts which included weekend rotation. I asked again, “who likes change now?” The response was again overwhelming, but this time negatively. The point being, we all like change as long as it affects us positively.
Change is the way of life. From the moment of our conception, our life is given to change. Some things are within our ability to change, others are not. However, the things we do on a daily basis can guarantee our success or failure.
I believe there are some important habits that we must include in our day to be facilitate the future in which we prefer to life:
a) Think and act constructively. (Enter each day prepared ahead of time)
b) Find creative solutions to mundane problems. (boredom is a curse)
c) Never ever, let someone paint your horizon (it will always be too dull)
d) Give at least one hour per day to the pursuit of your future development
e) Take the time to help someone else out. Give, share, encourage, support, acknowledge)
f) Always be kind to the cleaner (janitor) and treat them with equal respect.
g) Remember God’s gift to you was life, what you do with it, is your gift to Him.
4. Boldness is the tool that shapes our world
For every great breakthrough that humanity enjoys today, some individual has paid the price to bring it into reality. Boldness is not arrogance! Today people are more focused on having an “attitude” than they are a “character.” Boldness is one of the missing links in many a life today. One can be bold without imposing ones boldness upon another, but boldness is infectious and without such people, the world is captive to a monotone existence that lacks the rallying call of creativity and daring.
“People who make no mistakes lack boldness and the spirit of adventure. They are the brakes on the wheels of progress”. Dale Turner
Why not act bold. If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got. Idiocy is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
I recall playing a play station golf game that required me to synchronize two moving scales of strength and direction simultaneously in order to drive the ball down the course. Try as I did, the ball kept hurling off to the left. After hours of total frustration, I gave up. One of my children picked it up and with one click landed the ball smack centre of the fairway! After “being educated” in the process, I am able to place the ball at will around the course.
In order to create a culture and a character of boldness, one must position oneself in a place of potential failure, for without the possibility of failure we will never experience the thrill of success. Living a beige life restricts us from living in the spectrum of colour. Why not be bold and take a risk in a new career, a promotion, in a new business venture, in a relationship, in an investment, in a new country, or simply in the way that you have always thought. Open your mind to the creative genius of a bold new life. That’s what visionaries do.
5. Change your glasses; you may be surprised at the view.
Some years ago, I had a group of friends around whilst I was decorating the house. One of the majour tasks was the cathedral style vaulted ceilings of my home. Standing a considerable height from the floor, the only way they could be painted was with the brush attached to an extension pole. It was messy work and the constant dripping of the paint splattered my glasses and those of my friend. On noticing the state of his glasses, I couldn’t help but laugh. However, my glasses were in a worse state than his. How we had managed to continue with the painting with such a limitation in vision was amazing. The truth is, we live our life each day with our vision limited by our perception and circumstances. On cleaning the mess off the lenses, our field of vision was once again restored.
Here are some helpful keys to improve your vision of the future:
a) Take time out to review your perspective. Things do look different after a good night’s sleep.
b) Get your eyesight checked (all vision needs the support of other visionaries)
c) Adjust your focus (don’t micro manage your problems), step back and try to look at the big picture. A magnifying glass in the suns focus can set a corn field on fire, yet of little value in looking at the big picture.
On a final note; the only things that grow naturally in a garden are weeds. To construct a life with vision and purpose, one needs a plan. The roadway to success is paved with parking bays, and an original idea needs a systematic plan of activation. Why not start building your future, today?