The biggest difference between those who live life on their terms and those who pine for the life they want is a willingness to put the past behind and focus on the present and future. We have no control over the past. We do have control and influence over how we act today and what we do to carve out future plans. Intensive, deep thinking and action form the foundation for personal growth.
My three-year old son is one of the most perceptive people I’ve ever met. He’s brilliant, focused and thoughtful. And yet when we walk around, I sometimes have to make sure he doesn’t walk into a wall or pole. His immersion in thought and reflection on what he’s already seen sometimes leads to him turning back and staring at what’s already come, without looking in front of him.
That’s what leads to the trips, falls and bumps on the head! Ouch!
As his parent, I serve as his “tour guide” to ensure he escapes without bodily harm. He’s infatuated with all the stimuli and amazing things going on in this big, bold world around him. He’s using these experiences to fuel his imagination. He has to grow. He has to try and make sense of things he’s already seen and done. And that’s perfectly fine. But he also has to maintain presence and concern for the moment and future.
I use this analogy as a microcosm for what I feel every one of us faces on our quest for personal growth each day. The hungry and hardworking of us mostly know what will help us and lead us to achieving our goals. We’re instinctively drawn to what’s right and beneficial.
It’s what’s wrong and unhelpful that bogs us down, serving as the “turnovers” or mistakes that wipe out the positive advancements we make. When we dwell on the past and continue to reflect on what’s in our rearview mirror, we stop living in the present and we use less of our creative imagination on designing our future plans.
Intense focus and absorption on the moment leads us to a bolder thinking around future planning. In fact, the more we plan for deep-thinking moment-by-moment, the more we pave the path for our future of continuous progression toward our goals. Take this concept of flow from psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which illuminates the need for building for our next step.
“To set the stage for flow, goals need to be clearly defined so that you always know your next step. ‘It could be playing the next bar in a scroll of music, or finding the next foothold if you’re a rock climber, or turning the page if you’re reading a good novel. At the same time, you’re kind of anticipating.’”
When we take this concept and apply it in our own lives, we think about the importance of goal-planning, anticipation and concern for both our present and future. It’s vital to look in front of us and tackle the moment with vigor, enthusiasm and devoted attention. Few people have been as successful at accomplishing this than Lynda Weinman.
It’s in her story that we see a woman who found tremendous value in immersing herself in the moment to build a bright future for aspiring learners.
A Story to Tell
The incredible story of Lynda Weinman should be an inspirational launching point for many who aim to take their skills, experiences and passions and build their dream. She was a graphic arts professor who recognized the potential of an expanding art and decided to get hands-on and build the future. She knew she had to start now. She knew that her path was the future.
Lynda Weinman started out writing columns in a monthly magazine series around web design. Those columns became the foundation of an industry-changing book, Designing Web Graphics, which sold hundreds of thousands of copies. From there, she knew she was on to something. She had recently created Lynda.com in an effort to share her passion and enthusiasm of web design with the world.
That passion developed into a billion-dollar company aimed at improving people’s lives in the Internet-age. Lynda Weinman started with focusing on ways she could help people now, which spawned a brilliant future idea that enabled her to plan and set goals for seeing it into fruition.
You likely have some great ideas yourself. The way to see these come to life is to start planning and doing today, so that your future will open up with greater opportunities. You completely limit your creative energy and thoughts by dwelling too much on the past. Dedicate time each day to thinking about what you want to accomplish. Like Lynda Weinman, start with your passion and enthusiasm.
Keep building skills. Heck, write the book on it, if need be!
The way to get better everyday is to seek continuous improvement by focusing on the present and building upon gains to plan your future. Keep your eyes in front of you, accepting your past experiences, growing from them and moving forward. There’s so much powerful growth and opportunity ahead of you. Too much looking back can harm your future vision. And can lead to some bumps on the head. Just ask my three-year old.
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Keep Moving Forward
Also check out my Amazon Bestselling book, The Value of You. This will give you inspiration to keep moving forward on your journey.
Originally published at medium.com