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The Past, The Future, and Reality

I had the pleasure of receiving a shift in prospective this weekend. That sentence may sound boring, but, if you have ever experienced this, you might understand how energizing it is. One of the take-away lessons that came with this shift relates to time and our perception of it.

When you think of the concept of time, what instantly pops in to your mind? If you are like most people, you think about memories from the past and anticipations of the future. What do these two things have in common? (Really contemplate this before reading on)

Neither are actually real. I don’t mean that the thing that occurred in your past didn’t really happen (although it may not have happened the way you remember it), What I mean is that you cannot physically touch, interact, or affect either the past or the future. Therefore, they are not real. Unfortunately, as humans, we allow our perception of the past and the future dictate our thoughts and actions in the present, which is real.

For example, you may recall a time when a friend did not show up to meet you when they said they would. You may have interpreted that as them not respecting you, or lying to you, or thinking someone else is more important than you. This may be true, or it may be untrue. Maybe they got called into an emergency meeting at work and had no ability to call you and by the time the meeting was over they were focused on work and forgot to talk to you about it. For some people, that is enough to avoid that person and harbor a secret grudge about them. Those thoughts may continue to affect the way that person behaves for the entirety of their life and it was founded on something that didn’t actually happen.

Whether this example relates to your life or not is irrelevant. We all have stories we tell ourselves about things that have happened to us that are completely different from what actually happened. The really messy fact about this is that it then manifests in how we anticipate things to happen in the future. The person in the previous example may then avoid trusting other people because they know that it will lead to them being letdown and disrespected.

When you make up stories about how things will occur in the future, it directly affects the way that you act in the present. Taking this back to the example, if someone avoids close relationships with others because of a false prediction of the future which is based on a false interpretation of the past, that person may become increasingly independent and unable to create or maintain a deep relationship with anybody in their life. Can you see how significant this can become?

A key concept to understand that will help one overcome this pattern is to live in the present. Place no value on the past or the future as you have literally zero control over either. The only time you have any say in is the present. If you want to create a deep relationship with someone, do it NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week. Don’t tell yourself a story why now isn’t a good time, because you are letting your perception of either the past or the future influence your present-time actions. When you do that, you fall right back into the pattern of action that you have likely been stuck in for years. Act in a way that is unlike how you would normally act, even if it isn’t comfortable.

This is the only way to get what it is that you actually want. If you are waiting for all other conditions and circumstances in your life to line up in a way that makes what you want a reality, you will likely be waiting a very long time(perhaps forever). After a while you will give up on it ever happening, and you will settle for your current reality, but you will never be truly fulfilled or happy (although you will try to convince yourself that you are).

Take some time to let this sink in, because I believe it is applicable to everyone. Be objective and identify some patterns of behavior that exist in times where you feel things didn’t go the way you wanted them to. Once you can recognize these patterns, you will see them when you start to do them again. At that moment, and only at that moment, you have the ability to choose to act in a way that you normally would not act.

How should you act, you ask? Act in a way that is consistent with the type of person you want to be. Loving, compassionate, assertive, confident, patient, bold? It is different for each of us, but decide how that person would act in that circumstance and do it. In that moment you will create an outcome consistent with that action and it will revolutionize your perception of what is possible. A whole new world will open up to you.


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