When you woke up today, you may or may not have had a plan. Perhaps you have a daily routine that you will be following, and the expected outcome of that is fairly constant.
You know who you are, you know what you will be doing…and then something happens. Your car breaks down. Someone you know has gotten sick or died. The water in your home isn’t running. You woke up with a tweaked back and can barely move.
There was no way to predict any of that. Despite your plans and expectations for how the day would go — now it will be different. You didn’t see any of that coming.
The truth is that nobody can predict the future. That applies to the immediate, day-to-day future, as well as the distant future.
For a lot of people, this is infuriating. The lack of control that this represents is unacceptable, so they either become anxious about prospects, depressed at the expectation of loss or suffering, or angry that something might not go as planned.
The uncertainty inherent in the future can be extremely harmful mentally, emotionally, and physically. To make matters worse, whole industries make money on predicting the future. This includes psychics, stock market traders, media pundits, so-called experts, and more.
Unfortunately, more often than not, the focus is on the lack, scarcity, fear, and uncertainty of the future.
The simple truth is that the future is yours to make.
Your approach is unique to you
I am finding that during my self-quarantine and social distancing I am having issues with anger. That comes largely from reading about the people who, out of fear and uncertainty about the future, are doing incredibly stupid things. This includes not practicing social distancing, holding protests for “lost liberties,” and ignoring the advice of science in favor of demagogues.
It is impossible without going on a total media blackout to avoid this. Because I want to do good in this world, that I can do nothing about this is infuriating. What’s more, nothing I can write will have the necessary impact on such people.
So, what can I do? First, I need to accept that I can’t help anyone other than myself. Even if someone asks for my assistance their reaction to it and how they take my help is outside of my control.
Second, I can focus on doing all that I can to be a good example. Practice social distancing, share ideas to take advantage of the potential positives of this situation and be true to me.
I can’t predict the future — but I can choose how I will approach it.
Three approaches to the future
There are three distinct options here available to us.
- Just let it happen. Give it no thought, ride it out. This is what most people will do. They will experience all the highs and lows and let their subconscious do most of the driving. I can’t deny this is easy — but it leaves you utterly at the whims of fate. It opens you to unnecessarily riding on an insane emotional roller coaster.
- See terrible consequences. There is a lot of doom and gloom right now. It’s easy to see how a crashed economy, closed businesses, and ruined lives is a potential outcome. But predicting a future of awfulness, pain, suffering, lack, and scarcity is disheartening. No, you cannot deny that there will be negative consequences resulting from this. But if that’s all you can see then that’s likely all you will get.
- See potential. Everyone has been forced to slow down. The pace of the world at large has been tremendously reduced. Pollution is dropping, families are spending more time together, and humanity can see how working together can have a positive impact. Rushing back to jobs that support the wealthy and don’t satisfy us may seem necessary — but at the same time ridiculous.
I can’t predict the future any more than you can. But I know that I would prefer to see hope, potential, and possibility ahead. Yeah, this sucks on lots of different levels. However, it also is showing us that much of what we have clung to when this all began is extremely artificial.
Nobody can predict the future — but everybody can choose their approach to it
Because times are even more uncertain than normal in the here-and-now, the future is extremely contentious. Tomorrow in-and-of-itself is unpredictable, let alone next week, next month, or the rest of the year.
This is why being in the now and practicing mindfulness — being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions — is empowering. Right now, in the present, this moment — you are in control.
No, you can’t impact what other people do, nor control your environment. You CAN make your own choices and decisions for how to be in this moment. That can color, influence, impact, and change the direction you are taking to the unpredictable future.
Stressing about what could be does nothing but stress you out. Instead, you can choose to be present in the moment, see what good you can do for you and others, and in that way be an example that could positively change the world for the better.
You have more power than you know. Use it well, use it in the now, and use it wisely. Don’t try to predict the unpredictable future.
Finding and/or creating non-toxic positivity isn’t hard, but it does require action
Knowing that nobody can accurately predict the future, you get to choose how you will approach it in the here-and-now. When you spend more time in the present, you can make more of what you currently have, be more mindful in this moment, and that ultimately empowers you.
When you feel empowered, your mindfulness increases, you become more aware overall, and that can spread to people around you. It can create a feedback loop of awareness and positivity.
As such, you can build more positive feelings and discover more reasons to feel positivity and gratitude. That can be the impetus to improve numerous aspects of your life for the better, generating yet more positivity and gratitude.
An attitude of gratitude is an attitude of immense positivity that can generate even more good energies — and that, like you, is always worthwhile.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, as does how we live in the now and approach the future.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on April 20, 2020.