The best thing about the future is that it is yet to happen. This means it is something to look forward to…
While that may seem pretty obvious it is something that a lot of people forget, the reason being that they are instead far too hung up on the past. I was listening to a song called ‘Time Will not Let Me Go’ the other day which was about a guy lamenting how in the movies there are all these classic moments – where the guy gets the girl, where they dance at the prom, where he gets involved in a love triangle, where he saves the village, where he makes it big in a small start-up business – and that none of those happened to him. Sure we have all got regrets and sadly there is nothing we can do about the past. However the good news is that there is an awful lot that we can do about the future.
So you have not lived the life you wanted to? Or you have lived it bar a few important details. Do not sadly look back on it felling sorry for yourself – go out there and do something to change your circumstances. The power is still yours for you to live the life you have always wanted, and this way in another ten years you will not regret your life. Literally then your future starts today.
That might not seem as easily said as done if you are currently pushing 60, or if you have a host of commitments that lead you to feel ‘trapped’, or if your circumstances or your self esteem let you down. However we are never really trapped – we are completely free and at this moment you could choose to catch a plane to Russia. Yes you could. At the same time you are never too old to start something new. Check out Rocky Balboa where he starts boxing and does not win but vindicated himself seeing a tremendous rise in popularity – and how that story mirrored Stallone’s own. Here is someone who was completely washed up at 60 now making hit movies again.
And the third excuse does not hold water either, as it is up to you what your circumstances are or how confident you are. If you are unhappy with yourself you can change that too – you can go to the gym and lose weight, you can force yourself into becoming more confident in a social situation, you can learn a new hobby or skill… all of these things are again in your control.
But it does not take gigantic changes to make you happier with your life or to get more from it. All it really takes is a paradigm shift. Once you start living as though you have a choice again, once you realise that you certainly are the director of the movie that is your life, then you will immediately have the ability to choose what you do with it. When making decisions just think of whether it will take your life closer to what you want, and whether it will give you better memories.
It is easy to look at celebrities and pop stars and fictional characters even and think ‘I wish I had their life’. The thing is though, they too were where you are now at some point in their lives, and they probably wanted to change lives with someone else too. Going back to the example of Stallone he once lived on the street he was so poor when struggling as an aspiring actor – at that point it is easy to imagine that he looked at people he admired and wished he could exchange lives with them. The difference is with successful people that they make things happen for themselves.
If you see someone who has the ‘perfect life’ then do not envy them – just set about making your life as good. This will work out much better for you than simply ‘swapping’ lives would anyway as this way you can be anything you want to be and make things exactly how you like them.
So start being proactive. Do not like your house? Sell it. Do not like your job? Do something different or start your own business from home (and quit once that gets going). Learn a new skill. Wish you were a famous actor? Then take up acting classes and start going to auditions. Unhappy in love? Then go and find yourself someone new and improve your act. At the same time start changing your behaviour to act more like the person you want to be. Start reinventing yourself and exercising your freedom.
And at the end of it you will find that you have no regrets – because it will all have lead you to your current life. You will appreciate your position more too because you will have tasted the alternative. So your future starts today – start making the most of it before you run out.