Monday, January 24, 2011

Future Casting

Many times in your life you may feel stuck in your situation, whether in the area of relationships, your employment or some other aspect of living.  This simple exercise is a great way to help define or clarify a positive vision of the future.

Timeline.  On a blank sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line.  This line represents your life.  On the left write your date of birth.  Since you don't know when you will leave this life, write question marks on the right edge of the line.  Place an arrow where you believe that you are now on this time line (it's permissible to be optimistic).

From this point backwards, towards your birth, represents time that has passed - whatever events, actions, and mishaps have occurred cannot be relived or undone.  All we can do is learn from mistakes and enjoy the memories from happy times. Draw an arrow towards the left and label it "past."

From your current position on the time line forward towards the questions marks, you have an unbounded opportunity for your future.  Draw an arrow pointing to the right and label it "future opportunity."

Your Past Self.  Underneath the timeline, write an introduction for yourself as you were ten years ago.  Write your introduction in the present tense.  My introduction might look like, "My name is Doug Pratt and I am a psychological examiner working for a large medical center.  I play the piano and volunteer at church."

Your Future Self.  Now, write the same type of introduction from the standpoint of ten years in the future.  This doesn't have to be a realistic description of the result of your current path (career, personal, etc.) but should be the dream of what you want to be doing in ten years.  My future self introduction might be, "My name is Doug Pratt and I enjoy traveling around the USA and world sharing information on personal change.  My daughter is in college and my wife travels with me whenever she can."

You have now created a written document that describes your ideal future - a future you created.  You can utilize this information to help guide your life decisions towards your future.

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