What if there was a device that would allow us to see the future? Something like the mirror from “Snow White,” where we could peer through it to see where our path was going to take us? It would be like plotting a course for an airplane and setting the auto pilot to hold a vector. We know where the plane will eventually get based on the information we have at the time of departure. Applied to our life, we could look through it and see the result of our current life choices after five years, ten years, or however long we cared to see. How amazing would that be? All of those “what if’s” in our lives would turn from worrisome variables into sure things. How different would your life be and how would it affect the world?
For many, the only factor retarding progression to self actualization is a lack of faith; we simply don’t believe we can. If we had this visual time machine, all the fear preventing us from reaching for what we truly desire in life would simply fall away, leaving only time and effort as obstacles. Everything would appear to be in reach, from picking up that instrument to creating that business you are hesitating about. You would simply prepare yourself for the task by adjusting certain behaviors, look through the portal, and see what would happen if you persistently made those choices. The over bearing fear of doubt, wondering, “will this work,” or “did I make the right choice,” would just simply not exist.
For so many, this would be liberating. This ability to see the future would provide the same courage and instill the same confidence we feel when we are truly inspired. When entrepreneurs and network marketers realize the possibilities and potential of their ideas and business models, they set out to make them realities. Their peers look at them with a sense of pity, patting them on the back and wishing them luck, but secretly chuckling to themselves about how lost they are, “oh, that poor fool.” In spite of this sentiment and horribly discouraging odds, they charge forward with an unyielding confidence and belief in themselves and their ideas. Their faith in their plan and their ability to complete it is so solidified by effort, so cemented by passion, that it borders on insanity to the extent that the whole world could tell them they were wrong and they would say, “just wait and see.” These men and women have to ignore the huge possibility that their path and their plan is faulty, thus giving root to doubt and fear. This uncertainty is what stops everyone, except about 2% of the population, from pursuing the things they really want.
Many more than 2% think about their goals, their alternate lives, even just improvements to the lives they already lead. A smaller group even attempts to make these changes. They take risks, invest money, change habits, and spend time working towards a goal they can barely see. They push and reach, but eventually, they lose steam and the fear of making a mistake overpowers their desire for change. The doubt eclipses their fantasies of what could be and just as quickly as it started, they return to their old ways in an attempt to save face and fit back into the crowd. This “time machine” would eliminate this entirely. So many more of us would be able to struggle through the years of desire and effort, if we were only certain that it would pay off. The looks of disbelief and the whispers of condescension would fall on deaf ears and be answered with a smile, “just wait and see.”
Even those of us struggling with health problems would benefit. I come into contact with so many that want to change, lose weight and get healthier, but always quit after they get started because nothing seems to work. They take two steps up the fitness mountain, experience the demanding effort and the pain of change and decide they cannot do it. What if they could just look one year ahead and see themselves after a year of effort? I don’t think any of them would quit if they knew what amazing changes were in store for them, no matter how difficult it was. You could immediately check to see if a diet or a workout program would be effective and thus, find the confidence and conviction to see it through. Some would still never make the change, because some of us just simply don’t want to work for anything, but for so many others, this portal would be a game changer.
Think about all of the different ideas, skills and endeavors that you have passed over, or simply quit on, because you didn’t think it would pay off? How many times have you avoided an opportunity just to see some other individual succeed doing the same thing? What do you tell yourself when this happens? How do you rationalize their success and your failure? We often tell ourselves that they were born gifted, or lucky to have those skills. We look for any advantage, or foothold that they possessed over us, so that we can say, “see, its not my fault, they are lucky.” This thinking keeps our ego intact and allows us to accept the choices we make everyday resulting in a life that has us peering over the fence. The hard truth of this situation is that the other person found success when you did not because that individual WAS better than you. I think we all know this, but it stings just a bit to acknowledge. What I think most don’t know, however, is that this person we are looking at isn’t better because they were granted special gifts, they are better because they decided to be.
It doesn’t matter how talented someone is, when it comes to achieving anything extraordinary, if you do not put in the work, if you do not struggle against failure and setbacks, you cannot make it happen. I promise you, that person started at the same place, if not farther behind than you did, but through sheer determination and bitter work ethic, they were able to improve themselves. They set out to achieve a goal and hit a road block in the form of a deficiency. Instead of throwing their hands up and turning around, they decided to work on that weakness until they were able to overcome whatever obstacle was halting their progress. They did this over and over again until their weaknesses became proficiencies and their talents developed beyond valid reproach. It is then that you happened to witness their success, but you missed the struggle that created the individual standing before you.
The only difference between that person and yourself is that they started before you and still haven’t stopped. We all reach similar stages of life at different times. To look at someone at a more advanced stage than yourself and quit because they are more adept, would be like making a lion cub and a fully mature, “king of the jungle,” go at it, in paw to paw combat. Is the lion cub not a lion because the adult is stronger? “Give up, little guy, you will never be a lion.” That is insane, right? This is the comparison we make. We see this lion of a person and decide that we can never be. WE ARE ALL LIONS! We all have the potential to be and do anything we want. What we lack, is the conviction and determination to make it so. This is why this “looking glass” would be so valuable. Being the cub that we are, we could decide on a path and look through the portal to the lion we wish to become and then the rest would be history. No more doubt, no more fear, just a plan and execution.
Unfortunately, we live in a time where temporal relocation is not possible, as far as we are aware. We cannot actually see into the future, yet there are those among us that have the vision to see where their life is headed if they adhere to a specific path. Against heavy odds, fear and uncertainty they charge forward everyday to chase a goal they cannot possibly see. They are not special and they are not privy to secret information. So how do they find the courage to put one foot after another in the direction they choose, instead of the direction life takes them? I believe it comes down to two things. Faith and belief. Faith in the possibility as well as in their ability to accomplish whatever it is that they seek. They have faith that if they never stop trying to improve, eventually they will grow into the person capable of making their “what if,” a sure thing. They have no misconceptions that the process will be easy, but they are driven by desire, passion and the BELIEF that the reality of not attempting the change would be more of a hell than any failure ever could. They understand that failure is part of the process. No major success or transformation can occur without some stumbling first, so they welcome it with expectant arms and unyielding determination.
Their conviction, although strong, is not unwavering, though, so don’t think you have to be. Everyone that sets out on such a journey, no matter if its starting a business, transforming their body, or any number of other possibilities will eventually doubt their cause and their ability to see it through. They draw on many sources of courage, examples in history of when it was done before, their friends and family who believe in them, books, movies, music and so many others to keep going. Ultimately, when they are faced with the choice to continue and the choice to turn around, they always decide to keep moving forward for one simple reason. It is the same reason they began and it will be one of the strongest reasons they always continue fighting. The whole reason to start this journey in the first place is because something wasn’t right in their life and they were not totally happy. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, this life is far too short to be miserable. Without noble cause, suffering has no purpose, and without purpose we are lost. These people were missing a part of their purpose and so they sought to find it. In one hand, they have their old life filled with habits and routines that formed this hole in their being. With absolute certainty, they know that this option holds no salvation, only constant compromise. In the other hand, beautiful possibility! Dominated by fear and uncertainty, most overlook that this hand also holds the possibility of the life they truly want.
For the two percent of the population that never give up, they look at the options in their hands and see one with absolute failure. Immediately, they look to the other and see possibility. No matter how small this chance, they know its infinitely higher than the first choice and so there isn’t really much of a choice after all. With all of the motivations prompting them to make a change, choosing the first hand would mean that they would simply have to decide, right then and there, that those motivations would become constants in their life. They could cover them up with inconsequential distractions, but this is a quick road to rock bottom as the drive for change grows louder and the tolerance for their chosen distractions strengthen. There is no satisfaction for the thirst for purpose or fulfillment, except to indulge its calling. Live the rest of their days with that nagging urge hanging on their being like fifty pounds of regret, or do something about it. Now that they know the only option is change, they choose to focus on all of the reasons it is possible, instead of all the reasons it will be difficult.
A new life, an improved life, is accomplished through consistency. Our future is determined by the choices we make everyday. If we always make the same choices, nothing will ever change. It is possible to wait and see what happens, but the years of your life are too valuable to be left to chance; take control. Improvement isn’t an accident and excellence doesn’t just happen. If this “looking glass” existed, it may give you the conviction to stick to your desired path, but it would rob you of the joy when you got to your destination. Part of the beauty of life is that we don’t know what will happen. We can only do our honest and absolute best and hope that we remember to laugh along the way. Without risk, there is no excitement. Without excitement, whats the point? You must take risks and seize chances that come your way. You know what the alternative is, you lived it yesterday. Don’t kid yourself and think that things will get better just because you get older, because they don’t. Im not saying they get worse, but they get complicated and overburdened. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to move your life from one set of tracks to another. What do you gain from delaying what you truly want, a closer deadline, an aging body, hardened habits? Its never too late, but you shouldn’t need a magic mirror to realize that your life is worth improving. Do you really want to wait for reality to slap you out of complacency? Eventually, “good enough” won’t cut it and the minor concessions we offer our passions to stay quiet wont mean a thing, so start now. Get excited for the journey and welcome the process, failures and triumphs alike and remember, “great change comes when we make small adjustments with great conviction.”