As a coach, I spend a lot of time with people who are thinking about or working towards future objectives. However, occasionally, I work with people who are fending off the future that they see it being full of doom and disaster. I hope your future focus is positive, but if you too are seeing monsters around every corner, here are a couple of things you may want to consider:
1. The future won’t be like the past. I’ve never met anybody who had to hesitate a minute to fill me in on what that future looks like. In fact, most of the time, they’re going to be facing something else entirely. And if you’re too settled on a vision of what’s most likely, odds are that you won’t do nearly enough to prepare for those alternative futures in which you are even more likely to actually end up living.
2. Letting your thinking snowball. Thoughts trigger other thoughts, and if your initial thought carries even a hint of insecurity or worry, subsequent thoughts can explore it and magnify it until you’re completely agitated. You can end up feeling in absolute dispair, just from idle thinking. The next time you think everything is going to be hopeless, pay attention to how much ‘evidence’ you quickly collect to substantiate that. Really?
3. Attempting to deal with the future. Trying to solve future problems, or even come to terms with them, is a recipe for disaster. The future often appears in our minds as a host of real problems which require immediate attention. No matter what thoughts you have about a problem, it can only remain unsolved until it actually happens.
“Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” Dan Zadra
Whatever difficulties you think you have, they aren’t real till they’re in the room with you, and you won’t know what form they’ll take until they are there. All the suffering is in the thoughts. When you think about a problem at any time you can’t actually act on it, you suffer. So if it’s in the future, don’t treat it like a problem. Problems only happen in the moment, in real time. Consider possibilities, but don’t see them as problems, as items worthy of fear.