Transformation happens when a person changes their relationship with the future. For example, it is my 64th birthday tomorrow. Contemplating that yesterday, I realized the way I show up in my life now is impacted by how I see myself 20 years from now. When I see myself as a hapless victim of the aging process, I become more irritable and less diligent about my self care. When I see myself enjoying life as it is, I am eager to be at my best—playful and free. A significant number of the breakthroughs that come through coaching happen as people clarify how they relate to the future.
In this blog, we will look at how this works and suggest a practice you can do which will dramatically clarify your ability to see what is coming.
How We Create The Future
As my birthday example illustrates, we tend to create what we anticipate. Yet for many there is a consistent distortion between what they say they want and what actually occurs. Someone may say he wants balance while continuing to create overwork, or enough funding while the company continues being addicted to survival mode. We usually find that what such a person says they want is at odds with what they actually anticipate deep down.
Experiences like imbalance or insufficiency don’t come from elsewhere. We choose to operate in ways that create our experience. Nonetheless, it often feels like these things keep happening to us. We can’t see the through-line from our present attitude to the future we are creating because what we actually believe deep down is often hidden to us.
Predicting The Future
It has become popular to speak or write intentions. The science on that is clear. Most fail to manifest. Again, our deeper unconscious anticipation is driving the creative process regardless of what our lips are saying. Here is a practice that will surface any tendency to distort your perception of the future. The practice is simply to predict, record and measure.
It works well with small stuff. How long will it take me to write this blog? Predict one hour. Write that down. Measure—it actually took me 78 minutes. Or, if you are into crypto, what will be the bitcoin price at the end of April? Or how many sales will we make this month? Have to drive to the City? Predict your journey time, record and measure. Or will my colleague be early or late for the meeting?
For a week, predict, record and measure as many things as you can. This will likely surface a pattern of bias: over optimistic, unduly cautious, more accurate with regard to others than self. Whatever it is, just notice that.
It may also be obvious that there is a belief or emotion driving how you tend to distort your perception of the future. I see that as a bonus. There is no need to wrestle with your psyche. All that is necessary is to be specific in your predicting, recording and measuring. For most of us, the clarity and recalibration comes naturally out of simply noticing, out of telling ourselves the truth about our own tendencies.
I would love to hear any experience you have of clarifying how you relate to the future.