The future is something which everyone reaches

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

—C.S. Lewis, 20th Century British author

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Today’s quote has a bit of a passive quality for me. In a recent article, Michael Simmons points out the considerable downside of a passive approach by describing a term he coined “The Five Hour Rule” a few years ago. Through his research of the most successful people in the world he discovered a pattern: They all devoted at least five hours a week to deliberate learning, to ensure long-term success.

His work demonstrates that in maintaining only our current knowledge, about 50% will become outdated within a decade. He points out that each of us will need to learn five hours a week just to stay up-to-date in our current fields, and more if we want to get ahead.

Most of us know that we all forget a significant portion of what we learn, but did you know that facts in many fields of study have a half-life where previous knowledge can no longer be found in scientific citations?

Consider where the fields of artificial intelligence, app development, social media management, driverless cars and cloud computing will be even a few years from now. None of these fields existed 15 years ago.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can and will you invest at least five hours each week on intentional learning?

Consider checking out Michael Simmons article by reading “The Math Behind the Five Hour Rule.”

Even though the future seems far away it is actually beginning right now

“Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.”

—Mattie J.T. Stepanek, late American child poet & agent of peace

image of Mattie Stepanek with Oprah Winfrey

Image of Mattie Stepanek from oprah.com

What is the best time to plant a tree? If you’ve heard this question before, you know the answer is something on the order of, “25 years ago.”

The typical follow-up question to this riddle is, “What is the next best time to plant a tree?” The answer is, of course, “Today!”

Those of us who desire a more fruitful future continually look for and take the next step that will begin or continue the journey. In this way, we can realize the future that may initially seem far away.

EXERCISE:

What specific seeds will you plant within your community efforts today? Better yet, what will you do right now to make this possible future a reality?

Build a Future

“Build a future – don’t just polish the past.”

—Author Unknown

New or Improved? Which of these words conveys the most energy for you?

Both words are often used in advertising and marketing to declare some advantage in a product or service category.

Where are you currently creating something new? In my observations, I see most people (including myself) maintaining the stats quo, simply polishing those things we have already done to brighten our lives a bit.

Creating something entirely new is often a messy process and can look like it is more trouble than it is worth due to the frustration and discouragement that can accompany the effort.

EXERCISE:

Where can and will you build a better future by creating something entirely new in either your personal or professional life, and not just polish your past?

#93: “The ultimate test of a man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today…”

“…for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

– Gaylord Nelson, co-founder of Earth Day

I once saw a behavioral experiment, conducted with small children around the age of three or four years old. The experiment involved marshmallows. The child could have a single marshmallow immediately, or they could wait five minutes longer and be rewarded with two marshmallows.

Some of the children simply gobbled the one immediately. However, the children who were able to delay their gratification seemed far happier with their accomplishment.

Exercise:

What sacrifices are you willing to make today to help yourself and others have a far better future (even if you may never receive thanks or the rewards directly)?

What would you like your legacy to be?

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