A man of many successes and struggles, Alexander Graham Bell is the perfect example of a man who knows the importance of connecting to the future. He invented the metal detector and helped relaunch the National Geographic Magazine. He gave his wife Mabel, who was deaf, 1497 shares of his 1507 total shares in the Bell Telephone Company.
When talking about missed opportunities, he was quoted as saying, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the door that is closed that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Losing sight of the future keeps you mired in the past, unable to see your possibilities.
During your successes and struggles here are four ways to connect to your future without being mired in the past:
1Pick a few adjectives to describe who you want to become this year as a person
Do you want to be friendly, helpful, or kind? Choose adjectives related to behavior. The main thing you can control is your behavior, so behavior is a useful place to start. The words you pick help you keep focused so that when challenges or change occur, you work to keep your adjectives in mind as you choose actions to support the chosen adjectives.
2When dwelling on the past, redirect yourself
Make a checklist of things to do that week. Clean out a closet. Read a book. Exercise. Take a class. Write out goals for the year.
Take actions that support your plans and goals. Remember to stay aware and intentional about the behaviors you chose. Connecting to the future sometimes involves an intentional and authentic plan of behaviors and actions.
3Don’t judge people or events as good or bad, or wrong or right
You may not agree with how others act or see the world, but these events and individuals do not have the power to change your behavior. When you take away good or bad, or wrong or right from your dialogue, you disconnect from the need to prove yourself in past situations.
Since people see the world differently, expand understanding of internal (you) and external (other individuals) with observation, not labels. You can say, “I did not care for his behavior.” It is a subtle wording difference to saying, “That guy is wrong.”
Take up a hobby you enjoy. Snuggle in a chair with a blanket and a book. Go for a walk. Golf. What makes you feel healthy and relaxed? Think of activities you do where time disappears. Sometimes your life feels nice when connected wholly to the present.
The past plays a role in today, but it does not have to define your future. The next time an individual or a situation frustrates you, think of your adjectives, choose actions that support your words, then change your dialogue to observations, not labels. Find ways to connect with the future possibilities of life.
This cycle of living keeps your energy focused on opportunities in the future instead of the mire of the past. During work or at home you have the potential to create a style of living that offers you a stronger connection to the future.
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5Author: L Reed
Writer, researcher, and advisor for personal and organizational development. Dr. Reed has mentored people from a variety of organizations Her current literary contributions include an executive summary paperback, Fixing the Problem, Making changes in how you deal with challenges, book contributions, articles, and guest radio appearances, and a series of children's books with Abingdon Press. Her academic background includes a D.Min in Spirituality, Sustainability, and Inter-Religious Dialogue and a Master