Posts Tagged: future


30
Dec 10

Looking Back to Move Forward

Hi, I am glad you visited me on this last blog of 2010.  With just a couple of more blinks of the eye 2011 will be here and 2010 history.

This is always an interesting time of the year for me.  Typically when New Year’s Eve approaches I become somewhat retrospective.  There are milestone points in life that, for me, force my thoughts to bigger, deeper things and the end and start of a year is one of those times.

What happens at this milestone is I reflect on the year coming to an end and then try to rate it in comparison to past years.  I don’t know why I do it, I just do.  I don’t think I am too different than most folks. 

Assessing this year was very easy.  2010 was a very good year.  It will go down as one of the better, more memorable and eventful years of my life. 

Side Note:  Just so you know, 2003 that went down as one of the worst years of my life.  It was an awful year.  I could not wait for it to end… it was a black year.

 

Sometimes people can’t wait for a year to end and others want it to hang on for a while.  But the reality is… TIME waits for no one.  We are all equal when it comes to time.  We can’t slow it down or speed it up. 

As you, I have experienced good years and bad.  I have come to find out that life is a good teacher… if we are open and willing to learn.

There are some things that I have learned that keeps this patchwork of years and life experiences in perspective.  I am sure you have some wonderful life learnings too but here are some things I think are important.

Learning One:  The most important reality to embrace is that life is not static… it ebbs and flows.  There are good days and bad days, and so on, making weeks, months, years and then seasons of life.

Learning Two:  The second reality that screams loudly is that life is a mix of things within our control and out of our control.  I can’t explain why things happen to certain people.  It just does.  Life happens. 

Beyond anyone’s control, crappy things happen to good people and visa versa.  I believe it is important to reflect on life issues to see what there is to learn but not… NOT to partake in the morbid dance of “what if”.

Learning Three:  This learning is different than the other two.  The first two are just facts that happen with or without our consent or control.

The number three reality is completely within our control.  It is the ability to choose how we respond to realities one and two. 

“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

                        – Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

 

I believe more and more in the core of my being that how we choose to respond (NOT react) to the positives and negatives in life has a direct impact on the fullness and meaningfulness of our life. 

There is a big difference between Respond and React:  To me, Respond is a controlled action to the circumstances or situation at hand.  To React is to act without thought or control. 

My Definition of RESPONSIBILTIY:  The ability to respond… not react.

I have learned that, if things are good I am to embrace and enjoy them, but I do not own them.  I must hold the times that are good LOOSELY.   I cannot force good things forward.  I can do things to increase the odds but there are no magic formulas to guarantee good things.  Good things are gifts to be treasured and appreciated.

I find that the bad years are usually a result of a mix of bad choices within my control and bad circumstances beyond my control.  Once again, how I choose to respond becomes the central point.

The bad circumstances that are not because of poor decisions on my part are pretty easy for me to put in their proper place.  I realize that life ebbs and flows and I must take what comes and make the best of it.

THE TOUGH ISSUE

The tough issue for me is when I am faced with those situations I am in because of my poor choices or outright bad decisions.  Like most people if feel I probably deserve the negative fallout and accept my self created punishment.

Yes, there are natural consequences to bad decisions or behavior.  I personally believe these consequences play an important role in our education of life.

            “Experience keeps you from making bad decisions; But most experience comes from making bad decisions.”         - Anonymous

 

“Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.”
- Viktor E. Frankl

 

But there is a trap.  The trap where our past failures keep us anchored to the negative.  Oswald Chambers says, “Don’t let the past corrupt your future.”

I don’t know what kind of year you have had.  If it was good… enjoy and embrace it.  If it was bad… release it.  Let it go and choose to drop the chains of negative things that weigh you down.

2010 is a treasured year for me.  I don’t know what 2011 will be.  I hope and pray it will be as good as or better than last year.  I will do what I can to carry it forward… but ultimately, I must release it into bigger hands than mine.

This journey of life is a JOY.  Yes it has its very hard times… but I choose JOY.

See you next year… Monday.


13
Sep 10

The Story of Sex

Hello.

I figured the title would get your attention.  This blog has nothing to do about sex.  But I figured if you knew that there was going to be another blog about the topic of the “future” you would go screaming in the woods.

I was going to start a different topic but there was a quote that I had to share that stirred me on a different level.

Side Note: I have become very attuned to things that stir me.  There is a difference between something being interesting or intriguing vs. a deep stir.  I may not always know what the stirring means or the intent but I listen.

Being stirred on a deep level is a gift, and we are not to be casual about such a sacred thing.  If you want to get a deeper understanding about this “stirring” thing go to the right side of the page to the I Write About list and click on stirring.

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Here is the quote that caused me pause.

To a father, when a child dies, the future dies; to a child when a parent dies, the past dies.

- Arnold Jacob “Red” Auerbach (September 20, 1917 – October 28, 2006)

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I am not exactly sure what struck me about this quote so I am going to poke at it for a while.  So if you allow me, I will just noodle it over as I write this blog.

For me, this is the way I have found best to explore the things that stir me.  I poke at it with no expectations.  I don’t try to force closure or understanding.  Sometimes it takes a while.  It is like a pot of stew on the back burner that you peek under the lid periodically, stir it, taste it, throw some more ingredients into the mix and let it cook to perfection.

Random Thoughts

To me the quote touches on one’s perspective or vantage point in life.  To one, life’s view was forward and to the other, backward.

To a father, children represent the future beyond ones existence.  To a child a parent represents the source of one’s existence.

Insight

I don’t know if this insight is the core of the stirring but it’s in the right vicinity.

I am at the age where both of my parents are deceased.  They were great parents (not perfect) who loved their children.  Also, on the other end of the spectrum my wife and I were unable to have children.

So here I am, according to the quote, with past that has died and a future that never existed.  Now this sounds heavier than what it is but it is sobering.

Analysis

Now I need to determine what this means.  Is it just a sobering reality or is there a learning that I need to capture.  Something that I need to grab hold to that calls me to a deeper or higher place in my life.

OK, on the burner it goes and I’ll check in to see what, if anything, I am to do with this.

See you next Thursday and I promise… no more future talk.


9
Sep 10

The Miracle Qualities

Welcome back.  I thought I may have scared some of you off after my last blog.  It was a bit heavy.

Today I want to focus on the positive side of the future.

The past is over (even ten minutes ago).  Although we can’t re-live it in reality we can (and do) re-live the past in our minds.  This is not all bad.  We re-live fond memories and pleasant events.  The only time it gets a bit dicey is when we carry the negative past into the future.

Whatever your past has been your future is spotless.

- Anonymous

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Isn’t this quote great?  I never really thought of it before but in reality each day we get a fresh start.  I don’t want to sound hokey but it’s true.  We, unlike any other animal, have the ability to impact our future by intention vs. default.

There are several distinct human qualities that allow us not to be doomed by the past.  Humans have an Imagination, a Conscience and a Will.

Imagination

We have the ability to create something out of nothing in our minds.  We can create, innovate, and improve.  We can be in the current reality and see something beyond where we are.

This may sound too simplistic but you will not go if you don’t think there is something beyond where you are.  Imagination provides the capability to take us to beyond what we think exists.

I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.

- Miles Davis

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Conscience

We not only can see what is not yet created; we also have an innate sense of right and wrong.  This is the quality that elevates mankind beyond themselves to the good of the whole.

Will

This is ability to choose; to choose your response to any given set of circumstances.  Animals are locked by instinct or conditioning.  Animals react, we as humans can decide to act.

Stephen Covey when talking about these qualities states that “will” is the greatest point of freedom.  The freedom to choose.  We are not doomed by our past, our family history or our conditioning.

I have asked this question before in an earlier blog but it is worth asking again.  What would you attempt if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

Our future depends on how we look at it and what actions we take.

I don’t know about you but I plan on making the most of it.

See you Monday


6
Sep 10

Future Tense or Tense Future

Yep, me again, good to see you.

I must be in an ornery mood because I will probably tick some people off today.

Side Note: If I were really in a testy mood I would have probably said “pissed off” some people today.  Humm… maybe I should rethink my wording. Ticked off doesn’t have quite the panache as “pissed off” does it?

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Seriously, I may offend some folks today.  I don’t particularly enjoy making people angry but the future is too important not to address some of the hard issues.

Today I felt the need to tackle the prickly negative problem of prickly negative people.  Just so you know, if you were bothered by the term “prickly negative people” then today’s blog may be for you.

NOTE:  The Clue Phone rang and you answered.

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Here’s the piercing point of today’s blog.

Some people corrupt the future before it even happens because of their attitude.  They don’t even give it a chance to be crappy before they make it crappy because of the way they think.

I see this happening with two types of people.

The first group is made up of people who are good happy individuals but their perspective of the world is from a negative standpoint.  They would call it realistic, but in reality NEGATIVE.

These are people who naturally default to the negative vs. the positive.  They do eventually get to the positive but unfortunately the luster has been rubbed off due to their “realistic” observations.

If not careful they can corrupt the future but can easily avoid it if they are aware of their tendencies.

Now the second group of people are a different matter.  They can be the most disturbing and challenging.  There are a few people in the world who are just plain sour.  Nothing is good or can be good.  They are sour, their life is sour and they inadvertently make their future sour.

There may be some very legitimate reasons for their state.  Bad things happen to no fault of their own and it taints every aspect of their life.   The saddest part is that they allow it to taint the future.

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.

– Sydney J. Harris

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There is no rationalizing with a sour person.  They have no desire or ability to consume encouragement or embrace positive statements.  Death comes quickly to such things because they are overwhelmed and cannibalized by the sour nature.  Then it burps with satisfaction having thwarted another attempt to be sweetened.

I know this is heavy and seems pretty hopeless… but it’s not.  Sour people who reject sweetness tend to respond best to a knock across the forehead (gotta get their attention).  It is best done by a stranger because there is no baggage.  So, if you are sour… lean forward… a little closer… WHACK!!!

Side Note: The whack has to be out of genuine Love not frustration or anger.  The future is too sacred to destroy it before it starts.

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Now that I have your attention, sour people tend to see nothing better in their future.  I have no sweet words just one assignment.

I posted a short video in an earlier blog that is perfect for you.  On the right side of the page are the archives for previous blogs.  Go to the March blogs and find the one titled A Sack of Rocks.

Take a look and let me know how you’re doing on Thursday.

Later.


30
Aug 10

Looking Ahead

Hi, it’s a great day for a journey.

I was listening to a very interesting interview on the radio this morning.  The person interviewed was talking about his life now compared to where he thought he would be while in high school.

He believes that we tend to see our life as a story that unfolds as we go.  Because we see it as such we routinely project the next chapters and even the ending of the story of our lives.

This came to vivid realization when a teacher in his freshman year had his class write a letter to themselves about their future.  His letter to himself outlined the events of his life.  He was going to fall in love, have kids, get a good job at one of the regional paper mills and live a good life… a life much like his father’s.

Four years later, upon graduation, the teacher sent the letters to the students.  He had noticed that his view of life had broadened and the projected events of four years earlier were forced to the edges of reality.  He had changed and had rewritten his future.

He indicated that we can rewrite what we perceive that will happen if we are willing to allow new learnings and current events to become part of the formula for our future.

Side Note: Yep, the blog entry is a bit philosophical today.  As you know, philosophical stuff can be a bit boring and tedious, but stick with me.

I can assure you that you will either read something that stretches and stirs your thinking or you will be sufficiently prepared for a quick afternoon nap by getting you all bored and relaxed.  Either way you can’t lose.

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The interview went on to explore on a deeper level this amazing ability to rewrite our future.  Humans have the unique ability to grasp the context of their life.  What I mean is that we understand that we were born and some day we die… that there is a start and a finish to our lives.  No other animal has that ability.

This knowledge makes all the difference.  Animals just live from day to day as instinct and circumstances dictate.  But because we possess this understanding, our view of life has fuller dimension and we are pulled beyond a haphazard nature of existence.

We are naturally led to the notion and question of purpose.  It forces us to ask, what am I to do with this fixed period of time that I call my life?  The grasp of this finite reality ignites the flame of infinite possibilities.

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

- Yogi Berra

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As all of us know, we can’t predict the future.  But there are things that increase the odds of what we want out of life.  Unfortunately far too many of us allow the unpredictability of the future to dictate our present.  If not careful, we live in our safe little world letting life just happen.

Sure, we are not guaranteed of the outcome of any positive efforts we make to impact the future.  But I can assure you of this, the future is impacted by what we don’t do.

The absence of positive action eliminates the risk of failure but assures the absence of reward.

- Me

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The future is far too important to coast.  So I think I will camp out on this topic for a while and poke at it from several angles to see what we might learn.

See you Thursday.


16
Aug 10

Reunion Tale – Retold

Howdy, good to see you again.

I was reluctant to refer to the reunion again because I didn’t want to ride a good horse into the ground.  But as I reflected on the last two blogs and the reunion I needed to put a serious capstone on the event.

As you know I have had some fun with my wife’s reunion and of course embellished it to my amusement and liking.  But there were several important life insights and learnings that I don’t want to get lost in all the fun.  I believe they are worth sharing and hopefully you find them challenging to you as they were to me.

Typically I am pretty much a free spirit when it comes to the written page.  I just write what pops in my head and sometimes it flows nicely and other times it is a shotgun of ideas fired in hopes that some of the mental buckshot hits a target.

This blog is going to be actually somewhat organized.  There were three things that impacted me during the reunion – thus three points.  (Wow, three points, I know… scary).

I have an insight, a reflection and a question.

An Insight

At the reunion I wanted to get the class in the front of the room and cluster them into three groups based on their high school experience.  I wanted to group them into the “IN” crowd, the “EDGE” crowd, and the “OUT” crowd.

Then I wanted to compare the groups by finding out things like:

  • Who ended up the most successful in business? Marriage? Etc?
  • Who’s most fulfilled?
  • Has your life turned out like you imagined at this point?  Is it better or worse?
  • What would you have done differently, if anything?

True Confessions: Here we go again.  I hate true confessions because it may make me look bad.

The insight was not about my wife’s class but about me.  My mental scenario of grouping the people was not from the standpoint of an academic sociological study of a group of people (which would be interesting) but probably a morbid curiosity to see where people ended up.

In high school I was definitely one who would be grouped in the “OUT” crowd.  In my mind, if my high school classmates were asked where they thought Jerry Rushing would end up in life they would say, “Who?”  The few who did know me would probably say that I would have an ok vanilla life but nothing remarkable.

I think it would surprise most of my classmates that I have had a great life thus far.  It has been anything but vanilla and by the standards of some people… somewhat successful.

Before I get to the insight that impacts us all I feel compelled to make an important clarification.  I am not sharing this grouping scenario and my life as it is today out of arrogance or a “in your face” chide at anyone.  I share it out of thankfulness.

The insight for us all is this.  It doesn’t matter which group you were in at your high school.  It’s irrelevant.  The point I want to make is that at every point in our life we have expectations of the future.  Rarely does reality match our expectations – good or bad.

And the important thing is that…

Where we are doesn’t dictate where we will be.

If things are not going well for you now it doesn’t mean that you are doomed to be there in the future.  You do not have to be trapped by the present.

Conversely, if things are going well it means that we cannot casually expect the good things to be entitled forward.  Good things must be continually cultivated and earned. And even with that… there are no guarantees.

My, my, I had more to write on this topic than expected.  I will need to hit the other two points in the next blog.   No, this was not a ploy to get you to visit again on Thursday.  I don’t play those games.

Just so you know, the reflection and question points are powerful insights to how we best navigate the future.

See you Thursday.