- Thoughts for inspired living

August 11, 2008

Crystal Ball Gazing

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:19 am

Ten years ago today I began a new job. It lasted a little over 3 years. I got to thinking how different my life is today than it was ten years ago. I’m not alone in that assessment. Many people can easily look back on their lives and see many differences between then and now.

In retrospect, it’s easy to see how certain doors opened up when others closed. Whoever said, “Hindsight is 20/20” was a very perceptive person.

A real challenge is to look forward with the same perspicuity. The standard interview question of “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” is a great test for eliciting an applicant’s planning strategy but a poor precursor to what will actually transpire.

Is there a way to bring the next 10 years into clearer focus? There are the goal setting strategies and planning protocols that can be useful. There is also a technique from the NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) community called “Future Pacing” that is also quite helpful. This strategy has you play out your current plan in your mind and see how it feels somewhere down the line. Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago my wife from another life was recruited to interview for a managerial assistant’s position at a factory. She came home and told me all about the opportunity – nice people, better pay, a regular schedule. As an aside, she said the area around her potential desk was a bit dusty. Apparently it came in from the factory floor. I asked her to imagine driving to that job every day for 6 months, getting out of her car, walking into the building and sitting down at her desk and seeing the dusty floor. “How does that feel?” I asked. Her face screwed up and she said, “I’m not sure that would be something I would ever get used to.” She chose to pass on the opportunity.

But there are some things that show up unexpectedly no matter how adeptly we plan or prepare for the future. So how do we best prep for the future?

The answer is: Learn to respond.

The art of responding will insure that whatever the future presents, you’ll have the ability to respond versus react. You can’t prepare for every eventuality but you can install the framework to deal with any of them, and the work begins now.

Now is the time to respond. What’s right in front of you now? That’s what you respond to. If you train yourself to respond, it really won’t matter what the future holds, because you will have built enough trust in your response capability to weather any storm or to accept any gift.

Reacting is a hit and miss strategy conditioned by the past. Responding is noticing the reality that is before you right now and taking the time to choose a response. The short time it takes to throw in the clutch and choose a response will make all the difference in the world as to how your future turns out. Your future depends on how this moment turns out. Teach yourself to respond to this moment.

You can easily tell what your future will be if you remain at the mercy of your reactions. It will be just what you have now. The only difference is you’ll be older.

Reacting is being a slave to the past; responding is using the gift of free will.

Which future do you want?

All the best,


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