Future Possibilities In My Life Essay

It's so easy today to get dragged down by all the negativity and darkness hanging over us like an ominous cloud. The economy. Unemployment. Terrorism. High gas prices. I could fill up a blog with bad news. But a recent post by ABA Journal blogger Patrick J. Lamb (The New Normal) started me thinking ... 

I could just as easily fill up a blog with good news as I could with bad. Sure, I might have to look a little deeper for it, work a little harder to find it. Good news usually doesn't make the headlines. But it's out there. Even in the midst of all the stress, worry, and negativity, people all around us are pulling themselves up, opening their minds to new ideas and possibilities, taking advantage of the opportunities that are out there, and doing amazing things--and if they can do it, so can you.

Lamb says, "This world's situation is what it is. Each of us has a personal situation that is what it is too. Whining about it will never change it. So for each of us, the question is: What are you going to do about your personal situation? About the world's?"

Lamb's point is that our lives are filled with endless possibilities. We just have to open our minds to see them. This means making smart choices. For example, we can choose to look on the bright side or the dark side. We can choose to act or to react or to sit by and watch life pass us by. And in everything we do every day, we have a choice to make. Are we going to be great? Or are we going to be mediocre? This applies to anything we do--from window washer to sales person to parent to manager to housemaker to CEO. And it's never too early to learn how powerful our ability to make choices is.

A while back, my daughter was disappointed in a part she got in a play. She wasn't the "leaf on the tree at the end of the second act" as my friend and fellow drama mama loves to say, but to my daughter, it was close. It turned into a great teaching moment. We talked about how she had a choice. She could mope around on the stage and be green with envy of the girl that got the part she wanted, or she could dive into the group experience and be the best darn "leaf on the tree in the second act" that ever graced the stage. In the end, she embraced the part, turned it into something she enjoyed, became good friends with the girl who got the part she wanted, and most importantly learned from the experience. It's our own personal "when the world hands you lemons (or what you think to be lemons), make lemonade" story.

And that's the point of Lamb's piece, and the piece by Seth Godin, The Chance of a Lifetime, that inspired it. Why not choose to be great? Why not wake up every morning and ask yourself what you are going to do today that is different and better than yesterday? Why not open your eyes to the endless possibilities that exist when you make a commitment to live the life you dream of living?

Godin notes, "The thing is, we still live in a world that's filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity--we have an obligation. An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration. To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing."

Is this easy? No. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. It takes practice. It takes determination. It takes a different mindset. But living a positive, action-oriented life brings us much more than it takes out of us. So if you decide to go for it, ask yourself, as Lamb suggests, these six questions frequently.

  1. Why am I doing what I'm doing?
  2. How can I do what I do every day even better?
  3. If I was starting out with a perfectly clean computer screen, how would I design what I'm doing?
  4. What are the "endless possibilities" I can envision today about my life, my career, my company?
  5. What can I do to make my clients' lives better? (Or my family's or friends' lives better?)
  6. Why am I not doing it?

Lamb ends his post by saying that he keeps a framed copy of his favorite quote from George Bernard Shaw in his office: Some men see things as they are and say why--I dream things that never were and say why not.

So why not start today and ask yourself, why not? The possibilities really are endless.

© 2012 Sherrie Bourg Carter, All Rights Reserved

Follow Dr. Bourg Carter on Facebook and Twitter.

 Sherrie Bourg Carter is the author of High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout (Prometheus Books, 2011).

As the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said: "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." Truly, life is a creation -- a gift we can build and shape and alter as we please. But as we busily create, do we have a clear vision of the masterpiece we're molding? Can we see the finished product in our mind's eye? Or are we halfheartedly adding pieces to the puzzle day by day, hoping some might be the right fit?

The majority of us take life as it comes. More focused on approaching events and current situations, we often don't think in the long term. And that's understandable, because the present affects us now. But broadening our vision leads to totality of being. Think of cooking a meal. Before you even begin, you have an understanding of your final result. You know what you're making, what ingredients to add, in what order, and the cooking time. If you were to cook without knowing these steps, you would end up with anything but a good meal. Similarly, if you try to create the life you want without knowing what steps to take, you'll live constantly short of your dreams.

The word vision comes from the Latin visionem, meaning wisdom. Having a vision is having the wisdom to see past certain events in expectation of a greater outcome. Growing up in Communist Romania, I dreamed of coming to America with a tenacity and fervor which might scare most people. My personal ambition had been conceived from a very young age. And I remained loyal to my aim through the years, allowing it to guide me through the necessary steps to help it come true. I sewed my vision to the very fibers of my being, so that it became inseparable from who I was. On my own journey, I realized that all visions become reality as a result of three factors: creativity, perseverance, and actions.

Our personal vision begins to manifest once we learn how to use our three eyes: the two eyes with which we see the physical world, and our mind's eye which allows us to project far beyond now. Our mind's eye is an omnipotent and omniscient tool. Our two eyes may see the new house we're thinking of buying, for example, but our mind's eye sees a home for many years, a growing family, and the chance for a great investment. We must fashion our visions from the threadwork of our own needs, abilities, and expanding opportunities -- from the reality we see blended with the reality we wish to see.

Creating a broader vision is the first step to manifesting your ideal life. Put into action these steps to help pave the road for tomorrow and further beyond:

Create a bigger version of yourself. We have the tendency to place ourselves within boundaries that define who we can and cannot be. This mindset causes us to settle for the lowest level of our potential. Form a clear, detailed picture of what the bigger version of your life looks like, one in which you've already attained your greatest goals and fulfilled your deepest desires. Painting a mental image helps you understand what it is you really want.

Write down your objectives. We all have ambitions, and some are more significant than others. Make a list of your ten most important aspirations, and circle at least one you plan to achieve within the next year.

Plan a strategy and timeline. A strategy specifies the actions you will take in order to advance towards a goal. If your vision is to own your own home, your strategy should include how to earn or save the money to buy one. Be realistic about timing and consider all factors that could work for or against you. Keeping a timeline also keeps you on track with your intentions.

Check your emotions. Our vision fogs up when emotions are involved. We simply can't visualize the outcome of something to which we've become attached. When you hit a wall of traffic, you become stuck and can't see up the road to detect what's causing the jam. Your vision is blocked. This is what happens when your own emotions create a wall before your mind's eye, keeping you from anticipating what's to come in any given situation. By learning to control your emotions you can detach long enough to see the truth of what awaits.

Take the first step. Putting your intentions to use initiates action. Your first step may be a leap of faith, but it is with this first step that you prove to yourself your own abilities.

Envision your outcome along the way. Keep your eye on the prize. Don't allow yourself to become distracted or deterred from your goals. Continue to practice the same vision you've always dreamed to be your reality, the one you know you deserve.

See the bigger reason behind setbacks. As we said, wisdom means having an higher understanding of why certain things are happening. Always remind yourself that there is a greater purpose to all events.

Ask for help. The universe wants you to succeed and will guide you if you just ask. Help may not come immediately but when it does, you will receive more than you imagined.

Pay attention to the people you meet along the way. Everyone who comes into your life serves a role and a purpose. Encountering negativity should only reassure you of your own strengths.

Never, ever give up Simply having a vision does not fulfill it; you must work to materialize your dream. You will experience bumps along the road and people who will try to keep you from succeeding, but mustn't allow yourself to be intimidated. Remember that you are on a mission to achieve something incredible, and it'll take a lot to stop you.

Celebrate your achievements. Your journey must include time of reflection. Compare where you were five years ago with where you are now and congratulate yourself for your achievements both big and small. Don't forget to reward yourself for your hard work, careful planning, and strong character.

Never repeat old mistakes. Learning entails personal evolution -- evolving to take new actions and to stay away from past actions. Learn from your mistakes and don't put yourself through situations which you know will attract a similar outcome.

Like laying out an open map of your life, expanding your vision means seeing the full spectrum beyond the present in anticipation of greater prospects. Take into account my 12 steps to envision the limitless possibilities before you and step into your future.

To your future,
Dr. Carmen Harra

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