Let’s talk about an essential journey which, if you are like the majority of people, you will never go on.
You’d never dream of jumping into a taxi, naturally wearing your face mask, and when the driver asked “Where would you like to go?” saying: “I don’t know, just take me anywhere.” Yet this is a perfect metaphor for how most people lead their lives. Even more so during this time of the 'Chicken of Doom'.*
I’ll prove it to you. If I was to ask “Where will you be in two years time?” you probably don’t have a clue. That’s because only 10% of the population are future-focused. This means 90% of us are stuck in the now or the past (where are you spending most of your time at the moment?).
When someone says: “Never mind two years from now, I don’t even know where I’ll be five minutes from now. I can’t think about the future,” it is literally true. They can’t think about the future because they don’t believe, deep down, they have any influence over it. Especially right now.
Most folks accept, without question, that they are victims of circumstances, not creators of circumstances. And so should you. I mean, what is the point of thinking about the future when it’s largely a matter of luck? Successful people, on the other hand, are visionaries. They don’t believe in luck. They are in the driving seat of their own life and aren’t content to be a passenger. They put themselves at cause, not effect. They don’t let a worldwide pandemic become an excuse for not taking action. Even though, given what’s happening in the world, they will need to dramatically change course, probably several times and even change modes of transport too (working and studying from home being just one example) before they reach their clear final destination.
Successful individuals and organisations know that everything is created twice. They know you must clearly see your future success in your mind’s eye before you can create it in reality. They vividly imagine the successful completion of their goal, over and over again, until it becomes so familiar to them that, as far as their unconscious mind is concerned, they have already achieved it. These are the peak performers. Unfortunately, most people vividly imagine what they don’t want. There is a name for this is: WORRY. How are you doing with that at the moment? Both the good and the bad news is that you become what you think about most of the time. So, to speed f**king things up, don’t be very careful what you think about!
Never let your memories be greater than your dreams.
When, in the past, before social distancing and all that, people first came onboard a workshop we ran on a boat (yes, a boat), they often asked: “Where is the boat sailing to?” Just for a laugh, I’d reply “I have absolutely no idea.”
Actually, I knew exactly our destination, but you see there are lots of people on boats, called their lives, who don’t know where they are sailing to. They don’t have a big engine on their boat called vision, values, purpose and goals. Which means they can’t celebrate success because they’ll never know when they’ve arrived. Plus, if they were to encounter a storm while at sea without an engine, they could end up anywhere. Now it could be a nice harbour. However, if you can’t see where you are going, there’s a greater chance you’re bound for the rocks or the bottom of the sea. Of course, if you don’t put an engine on your boat, you are unlikely even to set sail in the first place. This will guarantee that you, like so many other great failures, will stay where you are for most, if not all, of your life. Which is probably in bed. Nice thought.
While you are at it, don’t think about letting go of the past either. Don’t stop trying to fix or solve past mistakes. Don’t merely make peace with what’s happened and move on. Just continue to wallow in things you can’t change. Knowing you tried, and letting it go, may be exactly what you need to make the current situation acceptable again. Doing this would also release the extra energy you might need to design your future life rather than let it unfold by accident.
Actually, to be fair, I think we are all entitled to a bit of wallowing. Feeling sorry for yourself and wishing things were back to normal can help release some pent-up emotion. I’ve done a fair bit of it myself in the last few months but there comes a time when you have to get out of the mud and get on with it.
So don’t practise back-from-the-future thinking. Don’t think about what success will look, feel and sound like five years from now. Yes, it’s even more effective to think five years from now, rather than just a piddling two. I get that the future might feel uncertain and unclear, yet imagine what views might open up if you dare to start travelling. Sometimes you might end up at the wrong destination only to discover it’s where you were meant to be in the first place.
*My personal term for Coronavirus
About the author
Steve McDermott - International Motivational Speaker and author of the new book How to be a Complete and Utter F**k Up: 47 ½ steps to lasting underachievement
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