Have you ever heard it said that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour? While it does not always hold true, let’s face it, people can and do change, it is ‘mostly’ true. Why? Because it is easy to ‘get stuck in a rut’. In a similar vein, many years ago I first heard of a concept called “your probable, almost certain future”. To work out what that is likely to be, you guessed it, the best indicator is the past. In other words, if nothing changes, your life will probably and almost certainly looked like a version of what it is now. You will just be a little older and not necessarily any wiser.
The best way to predict your future is to create it.
What do you want?
That seems like an innocent and easy enough question and yet so many people can answer it. The question is why? If you don’t believe me try asking someone close to you what they want out of their life and see what comes back. Don’t be surprised if you get a blank look or a barrage of DON’T wants. Here is the kicker! You cannot create the future you want by focusing on what you don’t want: It has the undesired effect of continuing to focus you on a future that you do not want thereby creating more of the same. That is starting to sound like a definition of insanity to me and from this stand point the probable almost certain future makes perfect sense.
Resignation and cynicism
Try asking a child what he or she wants. My guess is you will get an entirely different response. They will, in no uncertain terms, be able to tell you exactly what they want, down to minute detail and probably furnish you with a list of who they want to be when they grow up. They will have absolutely no issue with seemingly contradictory roles until some well meaning adult points it out that is. So what is the difference between you and them? You too were a child once. You used to be like that too. The culprit is resignation and cynicism. As an adult we tend to use our responsibilities as excuses for why we cannot have and do what we want. Ask yourself, “Is that a cop-out?” Only YOU can answer that question and only YOU can answer it honestly. Children still believe in possibility, there imaginations are alive with it. Adults by contrast have traded what’s possible for what’s probable instead. When did it become OK to settle for …. fill in the blank..? It starts with taking responsibility for where you are at. Your life looks the way it does because you’re living it that way.
Dare to dream
As corny as it sounds the answer lies in giving yourself permission to dream. Sure, it can help to get clear on what is holding you back so that it doesn’t hold you back moving forward. The key thing is to create a destination. One that you can own and one that you want to head towards. There are many ways you can do this from flipping through magazines (yes I am showing my age) to surfing the net. The key thing is to allow yourself to dream and not to censor what you want. If you were going to take a holiday you would take certain steps from choosing the destination to booking the flight and hotels or Airbnb equivalent. You would know the date of travel and when you expect to arrive. Most of us take more care planning a holiday than we do in planning our lives. Now I know that they aren’t quite the same thing. We can’t always have everything planned out and I am not suggesting that you do. Life is an evolving reality and a canvas we continue to draw on and fill up. Just make sure it is a canvas that you want to be painting on.
Set the destination of your choosing. Just talking about it isn’t enough. What it takes is taking ACTION and consistent action in the direction of your ideal future. When will you arrive? Are your day to day routines and habits taking you closer to or further away from your destination? I know it is important to enjoy the journey. That goes without saying. Lip service and some-day, one-day, maybe’s just won’t get you there. That one is in your hands.