Visioning Your Future

Do you strive to vision your future? What are your goals in life? Have you thought about them lately? When your life is over, will they be fulfilled or not?

These can be tough questions. They require an honest look at your successes, failures, opportunities taken and opportunities lost.

A useful method to do this is to use self-reflection. Self-reflection is taking an honest look at your strengths, weaknesses and what you want out of life. Your future may depends on it.

A good way to minimize the sting of self-reflection is to be as unemotional and as objective about yourself as possible.

Imagine you are looking at a close friend’s life (it helps to be a close friend to yourself anyway) and making recommendations for a happier life.

This requires you to not judge yourself of past failures, opportunities missed or shortcomings. Focus objectively on what you can do to improve your life and your future. Consider making yourself a bucket list.

If you are uncomfortable with a written list, make a mental list. However, a written list of what you want to do during your lifetime has a sobering effect.

It forces you to look deep inside and decide what you really want. Your list can be a few items, or many. And, it can be changed throughout time as needed.

This list can be one of your inflection points if you choose it to be.

It will help you crystallize the decision to pursue those things in your life that are important to you.

To discover what you want to do with your future, define some life goals by working backwards to determine what you want to do in the future. This is done by doing some blue sky thinking using the rocking chair test.

Blue sky thinking is sitting in a comfortable chair, getting a cup of coffee or warm tea, kicking back your feet and contemplating a deep subject.

The rocking chair test is a simple mental exercise imagining that you are in a rocking chair in the final years of your life.

These questions use your personal history as a guide to help you decide on potential improvements for your future. To perform the rocking chair test, ask yourself the following questions:

• Did I choose the career (or careers) that I enjoyed?
o If so, why?
o If not, why not?
• What accomplishments did I achieve?
• What accomplishments that I wanted did I not achieve?
o What held me back?
• Which activities did I do that I wanted to?
o What encouraged me to do them?
• Which activities didn’t I do that I would have liked to?
o What held me back?
• If I had my life to do over again what would I do differently?
• What would I have kept the same?
• What things did I choose to do in my life that made me happy?
o Why?
• Could I have done more of them?
o Why didn’t I?

Thinking through the answers to the rocking chair test questions will form the basis of a more successful, happy and useful life. That’s an easy statement to make, but has significant challenges.

Most people would like to cherry pick their lives. Cherry picking is to only doing things that interest us the most.

Responsibilities, obligations, challenges, fear of failure and being afraid to step out of comfort zones hold people back from doing many of the things they want to do in life.

Although no one can do everything, most lives are long enough to do much of what is desired. However, it does take focus and determination.


What are you willing to do for your future?

Grandma Moses a famous artist who enjoyed drawing as a child didn’t start painting as a career until she was in her seventies.

She had spent most of her adult life as a farmer's wife and the mother of five children.


“Life is what you make it, always has been, always will be.”
~Grandma Moses


Once in a great while an individual needs a radical change in his or her life.

Here is an example of a person who felt that need and changed his reputation.

Alfred Noble is best known for creating the Noble Peace Prizes. He was also an inventor who had hundreds of patents including the invention of dynamite.

Noble had invented dynamite to improve mining activities. He was distraught when it was used for killing and destruction in war.

Alfred Noble’s was inspired to create the Noble Peace Prizes when he read a premature obituary of himself, published in error by a French newspaper that mistook Alfred for Ludvig his brother who had just died.

The article condemned Alfred as The merchant of death!

The article disturbed Noble a great deal. It was this inflection point that motivated him to critically think of a way to be more positively remembered.

Alfred Noble was able to change how he would be remembered. He decided to leave most of his worth, after dying, to the establishment of six prizes. These were for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace and economics. They were for:

“Those who, during the previous year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.”

These awards are known today as the highly sought after Noble Peace Prizes.


“Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”~Thomas Paine

Return from Your Future to Preparing for the Future

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