Do you ruminate about the past? Do you worry about the future? Well, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t do both.
As far as we know, human beings are the only creatures on Earth capable of understanding the concept of time. We know that we were alive yesterday and we hope we’ll still be around tomorrow. But when we project ourselves in time, we often don’t like what we see there. Whether we’re looking at our work or our home life, we can easily recognize patterns and difficulties from the past that we certainly don’t want repeated in the future. How can we best avoid this? The answer lies not in fretting about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow, but in focusing positively on today.
Neuroscientists over the past decade have discovered that the human brain isn’t well equipped to act on negative commands. Although there’s no magic “law of attraction,” it is true that focusing on the negative — even if it’s the bad things you don’t want to have happen — is debilitating. Focusing on what you do want, and how you can get it, is far more effective than focusing on what you don’t want, and how to avoid it. Whatever you focus on keeps expanding. So create a clear vision of what you want in the future and then give your attention to the steps you can take today to get where you want to go.
You have to create a new you now in order to create a better life in the future. This requires stepping out of your customary, comfortable routines and relinquishing some of your favorite excuses for why things haven’t worked out as you wished. Analyze which habits or activities are helping you grow, and which ones are limiting you. As Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Whatever you do repeatedly, even if it hurts, eventually becomes a habit. And your habits become the blinkers that limit your perspective, narrowing your view of the options that are available to you. You then believe that your particular path, your rut, is the only way to get from here to there when, in reality, there are as many avenues to the future as there are people on Earth.
Some people complain about the opportunities that have escaped them in the past. Somehow those lost opportunities continue to happen, over and over again. Other folks have very clear visions of what they want to accomplish in life and they focus on the positive steps they can take to create a better, happier future. As Charles F. Kettering once said, “My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” What future are you creating?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”
George Bernard Shaw
© 2009 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.