Monday, January 16, 2017

Can We “See” Into the Future?




Do you remember when you bought your first house?  I remember trying to find a balance between what we wanted in a house versus what we were able to afford.  In a perfect world, we would have been searching and categorizing places by what we wanted.  The truth is the limiting factor was what we could afford.  Many people told us that you should not only look at the physical structure of the house, but you should be able to see the potential the house has for the future.  We were young, we were inexperienced, maybe even a bit naïve, because our focus was the dollars and somewhere we could be happy to live.  The one thing we did foresee was that this first house would be a starter home for us.  Beyond that, we only saw what was directly in front of us.

Not everyone can see into the future.  To see into the potential future, one has to be open to learn, experience, and yes, change.  There are times where it seems as if we cannot change to meet future challenges living “in today” (yes, today does matter).  Often I have talked with people, individually, in a group, formally or informally, where we seem to be stuck in the area where we are most comfortable, which is the place where we are at today.  I admit, I sometimes fall into this trap, and must be intentional in being forward looking.  I have found that:

  • You cannot listen to history to prepare for future (all the variables do not remain constant over time).  History stories serve to tell you how you arrived where you are at, but the past does not dictate the future.
  • You cannot romanticize today to prep for future.  We all spend some amount of time with our heads in the clouds, our minds forever working on “improving” our personal stories.
  • We need to listen, take realistic stock versus living in a purely dream world.  To move towards the future and expected goals, we have to take into account our environments, not to dictate what we do, but to be better able to navigate the waters around us.
  • We need to vision 5, 10, 20 years into the future and plan, mentor accordingly.  Focusing on a goal, writing that goal down, talking about the goal and taking the appropriate action(s) are the things that move us in the right direction.
  • We have to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes to see the potential impact.  Remember, we are not in this world alone, our paths are not solo flights and we can achieve more together than separately.

About 17 years ago, Debbie and I moved into our second home, where we were able to look at the house, the community and see what the future would hold for us.  What changed in those six years we were in the first house?  As we lived our lives, we started to gain perspective based on our different experiences, and, finding our way in the world.  For the first house, it was all about now, where we are today, what we wanted today and where we would be comfortable today.  In the short amount of years, we had two children and I lost a parent, experiences which opened our eyes to think about the future, in terms of what we have and how precious life can be.  For the second (and current) house, we needed to see the potential, we needed to see where the schools were headed, we needed to vision the community we want to participate in…we needed to plan forward, based on future needs.  Without “looking into the possible future,” in a short number of years, we would have been looking to move again.  Instead, we have slowly been shaping this house into the place we saw when we first arrived.  By seeing into the future, we are realizing the potential we first saw.