There is a very special emotional magic that takes place when we design the future and set new goals with a specific purpose in mind. As we see the future clearly in our mind’s eye we experience a level of excitement in anticipation of the day when all that we dream will become a reality. The more clearly we see the vision of the future, the more we are able to borrow from its inspiration. This borrowed inspiration finds its way into our conversations, our energy level, our relationships and our attitude. Jim Rohn reiterates “The more excited we become by our future dreams, the easier it is to develop the necessary disciplines and make the refinements to our philosophy.” In other words, he believes that, our dreams inspire us to think and act and feel and become exactly the kind of person we must be to realize our dreams.
If we are intelligent enough to invest our experiences of the past, and wise enough to “borrow” the excitement and inspiration of the future by clearly seeingthat future in the “mind’s eye,” then past experiences and future excitement become today’s servant. The finished product we foresee guides us in our present efforts, making the attainment of the better future an inevitable conclusion. “We become pulledby the future and guidedby the past because we have chosen to take intelligent action in the present.”
The unique ability we have for investing our past experiences and borrowing inspiration from the future is an incredible force. We all have the capacity for designing the future in advanceso that when the new day arrives it is more than it might have been simply because we used part of our past and our future to create it. The power of the future is an awesomeforce. What can behas the power to drive us to do all that we can do.
THE FUTURE’S OWN PRICE
The promise of the future is not free. There is a price to be paid for any future reward. The price the future exacts from us involves discipline, labor, consistency and a burning desire to make the future better than either the past or the present. Those are the price tags of progress, but the price gets easy when the promisebecomes clear. When the endbecomes attractive, we become keenly interested in the means. We must see and want the promise with an insatiable desire, or the price it requires will overcome our wishes, and we will fall back to where we once were.
If we are sincere about wanting a better life, we must ask ourselves what we see in our future that is fueling our fires of confidence and excitement. How much of that future do we actually see and believe, deep within our own souls, that we will achieve? Is it clear enough in our minds and hearts to drive us out of bed each morning and keep us up late each night? Are we so locked in on the target we have selected that we can brush away any obstacle and disappointment? In our desire to change ourselves and our current circumstances are we fully prepared to go over, under, around and through whatever challenge life throws at us?
We cannot move casuallyinto a better future. We cannot casuallypursue the goal we have set for ourselves. A goal that is casually pursued is not a goal; at best it is a wish, and wishes are little more than self-delusion. “Wishes are an anesthetic to be used by the non ambitious person, a narcotic that dulls their awareness of their own desperate condition.”
It is possible to planour future so carefully and so clearly that when the plan is complete, we can become so inspired by it, it will become our “magnificent obsession.” The challenge is to let this obsession fuel the fire that heats our talent and our skills to the boiling point so that we are propelled into a whole new future.
As we become serious about designing the future in advance, we derive an immediate emotional benefit. The future is exciting! The more clearly we see the future and the more keenly we sense its promise, the more positive our attitude becomes that we can and will achieve our dreams.
It is this new attitude that will provide us with renewed ambition for progress and the faith that we really canmove mountains.
WE CANNOT SUCCEED BY OURSELVES
Everyone needs other people to help them in achieving their dreams. We all need each other. In the business world we need each other’s market and ideas. In the personal world we need each other’s inspiration and cooperation. The attitude of other people affects eachof us and the attitude of each of us has the capacity to affect allof us.
We become a powerful force when eachof us understands how powerful allof us are and when allof us understand how valuable eachof us is.The contribution of all of usis so important to each of us. All of us in the company, the church, the family, the community and the classroom are intricately connected to each of us. Michael Jordan would say “Without you there is no us.”
Our attitude about that interconnection of each of us to all of us and all of us to each of us has great influence on our future. As John Donne once wrote — “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. ….Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
HOW WE SEE OURSELVES IS A MATTER OF CHOICE
If there is one area in the knowledge department where we cannot afford to be lacking, it is knowledge and awareness of our own uniqueness. We do not feelbetter about ourselves for the simple reason that we do not really knowourselves. For if we truly knew ourselves — our strengths, our abilities, our resources, our depth of feeling, our sense of humor, our unique accomplishments — we would never again doubt our ability to create a better future.
Each of us is unique. There is no one else in the world quite like us. We are the only ones who can do the special things we do. And what we do isspecial. We may not win great awards or public acclaim for our deeds, but we make the world a better place because of them. We make our families stronger, our offices more efficient and our community more prosperous because we are who we are.
Changing how we feel about ourselves begins with developing a new philosophy about the value of each human being — ourselves included. Most of us are so busy living our lives that we never pause long enough to appreciate all that we do in a given day. We have no appreciation of ourselves simply because we have no awarenessof ourselves. Self-knowledge is a critical part of the life puzzle. As we learn more about who we are, we begin to make better choices and decisions for ourselves and about ourselves. And as we have already suggested, as our choices improve, so do our results, and as our results improve, so does our attitude.
The process of human change begins within us. We all have tremendous potential. We all desire good results from our efforts. Most of us are willing to work hard and to pay the price that success and happiness demand.
Each of us has the ability to put our unique human potential into action and to acquire a desired result. But the one thing that determines the level of our potential, produces the intensity of our activity, and predicts the quality of the result we receive, is our attitude.