As a boy I always thought about the future as a far of place rather than a time. In my mind it was a place filled with flying cars and technology-laden homes. I never thought of it as a reality.
I think that most people think of their futures that way, as a far off place, not as an eventuality. Nothing could be further from the truth. The future is not only an eventuality, but you can change it. Everything you do has a consequence. We don't always realize how significant our actions are.
We take most choices for granted. The truth is everything we do is important. Some moments are more pivotal than others. These pivotal moments occur when the small choices are made that present the opportunities associated with pivotal moments. No one wakes up on the plate, bases loaded at the World Series. It takes a lot of small choices to be up to bat when the pivotal moments present itself.
The problem is that we all look at people in their pivotal moments and wish or dream of being in the same position. But we lack the experience to understand that these moments do not just appear. We fantasize about being at the top but not the hard road to success.
Movie stars don't get discovered. Despite the common saying, it's not really being discovered; it's about being noticed. Most actors' work for years on end, working night jobs and living in less than ideal situations so they can be free for the 9:00 a.m. auditions. People see actors and think that they just showed up one day and suddenly they were a success. Most cases, people work their guts out for the better part of a decade before they gain any real notoriety, if they gain any at all. Most actors never achieve the level of recognition that we associate with being a working actor.
We never see the road; all we see is the destination. The road is the only way to get there. And learning to navigate to get to the place you want to go take the understanding that the future is in your own hands. There is no magical moment where you go from rags to riches without doing anything. You have to be proactive to make it happen.
Here are three habits you can develop to take an active part in your future.
1. Plan. Most people dream. Dreams are great. Most involve something really special. Achieving something, attaining something, feeling something. All these things have a price and no one will give them to you, you have to take them. Don't get stuck in the dream phase. Most people cant get past the fantasy of being successful. Planning it is the first step to achieving. When you plan, you may need a mentor or advisor to help you make realistic plans, like a guide in foreign country, someone who speaks the language and knows the lay out. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most people would be surprised to find that nearly all successful people have a mentor or advisor of some sort. I have mine and they are invaluable to me.
2. Sacrifice. There is no way to get what you want without some sort of sacrifice. Another word that works well is compromise, when we compromise we sacrifice something we want so that we can get something we want more. You have to want it to get it. When we sacrifice our time and money we create opportunity. Opportunity is the saving grace of any dreamer. Without it you have no chance. Sacrifice now to get what you want later. There's no other way.
3. Do. It sounds so simple. But actually doing what you plan is hard, mostly because it takes sacrifice. Quitting your job, breaking up with a bad relationship, moving to a new area may be required to get what you want. Sometimes it's as simple as not going out with friends or missing a TV show to do what you need to do. We all have time bandits. These activities replace the best thing we could be doing with things that might be good, just not the best use of time. The good is the enemy of the best. Understanding the concept is half of the battle.
As your plans unfold and the doing will be a little harder than you expect. Hey, if it were easy everyone would do it. The way we react to mistakes, unforeseen expenses, problems and even opportunities will determine your success. Turn that upset customer into your biggest fan, take that opportunity to grow and magnify it, take a bag of lemons and make something you can sell.
As we consider our future, we need to think of it as an eventuality, not as an abstract. Dreams are real. I have always been a dreamer, and my dreams become my reality. Do not wait for tomorrow, the future is now.