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Out of Our Minds
Tuesday, June 13, 2006 9:17 PM
Enabling the future
Curt Rosengren on Passionate Work

"As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I love the idea of enabling the future, not foreseeing it. I see so many people get themselves wrapped around the axle and stuck because they can't say with certainty what the future will bring. They want guaranteed direct cause and effect..."If I do this, then X will happen."

Comfortable as that would be, the world doesn't work that way.

Enabling the future though? That we can do.

Think of enabling the future as taking steps to open doors. If you don't open the door, the potential future beyond it is closed off to you. You don't necessarily know what's behind the door you open - it could be another step to take or it could be the grand prize - but if you don't open it, that potential future is closed to you.

A first step in enabling that future might be as simple as committing to it. For example, take somebody who feels stuck in a career that drains their energy. Maybe their first step is simply looking up from the rut and saying, "I want something new for my life. I want work that is vibrant, and meaningful, and fun...and I intend to make that change."

Saying, "This is what I want, and this is what I'm aiming for," opens a door, setting the wheels in motion.

Maybe another step is doing the internal work they need to do to be able to recognize the right path for them to begin with (see my article from the premiere issue of Worthwhile for some ideas on how to approach this).

Another way they might start enabling the future is to enlist the support of their family, friends, and colleagues. They can share the dream, and bring it out into the light. Nobody does it alone. Everybody needs support of some kind along the way (emotional support, knowledge, connections, etc.).

I could come up with a nearly endless litany of ways to enable the future, but ultimately it all boils down to this...start taking steps. It's the steps you take today that enable tomorrow.


Whitney - 6/14/2006 6:03:32 PM
Monica makes a good point about eliminating deadwood (or deadweight) from your life. Perhaps the most overlooked deadweight is our relationships -- particularly those that have lasted a decade or more.

If you have friendships that have lasted a long time, but don't seem to have the spark they once did, ask yourself why you still hang out with someone. Are you actively interested in their life and vice versa? Do you motivate and support each other? Or are you hanging out because of habit? Because you can't bring yourself to say "hey, this isn't working for me anymore"? Or simply (but slowly) stop returning messages for fear of having to explain yourself when you run into each other at the video store?

Trying to take a leap of faith into your bold new adventure while hanging on to old friendships that don't do the job anymore is a little like trying to send the space shuttle into space with all its boosters (or are those things thrusters?) still attached. It creates a drag that, at least, will slow you down and that, at worst, will kill you.

Granted, the metaphor is a little over the top. But I tend to think that being in a life where you feel stuck and stifled qualifies as a living death. You're conscious, you're breathing, you're moving through the motions...but you ain't living.

Christina Zila - 6/14/2006 11:57:38 AM
What a timely topic! I just started taking lessons to become a dance instructor (dance is my passion), and although the school isn't guaranteeing employment to anyone, it's a step in the right direction. And it happens to help me be active and lose weight at the same time. Some may say that the risk of putting in so many hours (2 a day for a month) but walking away without an offer would be too great. They haven't understood. It's not a risk, and it's not always about the money. It's about doing something that makes you happy.
Monica Ricci - 6/14/2006 6:55:55 AM
Sometimes enabling the future involves making space for it by culling out the dead wood in your life. Anything that's not serving you anymore is an opportunity for making room in your life and it lets the universe know you're ready for the something new. Ditch an old relationship that's long since stopped working, a job you despise, the years of junk built up in your basement or garage, the clothes that no longer represent who you are, or even old negative habits and thought patterns. Once those are out, there's room for something better and isn't that exciting?? ~Monica
Nick - 6/13/2006 10:25:42 PM
This isn't a bad strategy when thinking about business either -- you either have to try something and see where the door leads or you sit still and paralysis brings you to a halt. Apple is a company that is constantly trying to open new doors. Sometimes they lead to little, other times they lead to iPods. By contrast, the entire American auto industry seems to be unwilling to take a significant step. Need I tell you where that has taken them?
Janet Auty-Carlisle - 6/13/2006 10:16:29 PM
Curt, I am enjoying the online course. Thanks for the offer to participate. The saying goes "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."
One of my friends, Grace Cirocco, wrote a great book called Take the Step, The Bridge Will Be There....It's all about trusting that the universe is unfolding for you just as it should. I like the concept of enabling your future...it's all about choice isn't it?
I choose to live la vida fearless each and every moment.
Living la vida fearless, Jan


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