There's nothing as
as an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo said that.
There's nothing as attractive, nothing as alluring, nothing as
seductive, nothing as calming, nothing as magnetic, nothing as
inspiring, nothing that drives you out of bed in the
morning as assuredly as a future worth living into.
I said that.
It may seem odd - at first - to speak those two notions in the same
sentence: "future", and "worth living into" ... as if there's a
If we're prepared for the future when it comes, we say we've made
it, the very languaging of which implies a target, a
moving target at that, a place to get to.
Ordinarily, we don't think of choosing the future. We do
our best now, today, in the present, and based on that, we
assume we've done whatever we can do to be prepared as best as it's
possible to be prepared for the future when it comes, whatever it
Here's the problem with the way we have it set up. When it comes,
whenever it comes, the future creeps in this petty
may have said). There's no choice in whenever it comes
either, and there's even less choice in the petty pace in
which it comes. Yet the very idea of "a future worth living into" seems
to imply some kind of choice. Here's another problem with the way we
have it set up. Secondarily, there's no choice in whatever it will
be. And primarily, the focus on making it tomorrow and
powerfullytoday are, for the most part, mutually exclusive.
Can we choose the events of tomorrow? Can we predict the events of
tomorrow? Can we even determine the events of tomorrow?
Maybe not. Maybe so. I assert neither choosing or predicting tomorrow's
events nor determining tomorrow's events necessarily has any bearing on
inventing a future worth living into.
So what exactly is a future worth living into? Whether
we're speaking about the grandiose future of
or whether we're speaking more modestly and only about
your future, a future for your life which you
personally would say is worth living into, or about
my future, whether we're speaking about something
vulnerable and innocent, something like the answer to the age old
question asked of children everywhere "What do you want to be when you
grow up?", what exactly is a future worth living into?
Interestingly enough, no one asked me who I wanted to be
when I grow up. Rather, they asked me "What do you want to
be when you grow up?". In all likelihood, that was all they knew to ask
at the time, and I got it. Only much later did I see the value in
modifying the question to bring forth something to live into like a
A future worth living into is a future invented like a
possibility. It's a possibility invented in response to the
question "Who will you be tomorrow, next week, for the rest of your
life like a possibility?". To bring that forth, you have to
invent yourself not by coping, not by managing, not by doing
well, not by making it, but by bringing forth
who you arelike a possibility, then living into the future which only
becomes possible once you've
who you're going to be. In other words (perhaps stated in a more
concrete analogy) before you get to play in the
poker game, you first have to ante up.
Actually, when you come to think of it, there's no way
around ante-ing up first if you want to play. There's no way
of avoiding it. It's just the nature of the game.
Who I am,
who I'm going to be like a possibility is communication,
and freedom. That's my
That's the chips I'm tossing, for openers, into the pot. That's a
future worth living into. That's a future I'm inspired by. Whatever the
events in that future will be, they'll come
Ordinarily we live in
in which what we do defines what's possible. If you look around, if you
watch the news on TV, if you read the newspaper headlines any day of
the week, if you listen to the popular conversation, it's plain to see
where we've ended up living in
in which what we do defines what's possible. The interesting thing
about inventing a future worth living into is it's
in which what's possible defines what we do. In this
sense, it's like living backwards (as Merlin the wizard
may have said).
Although it's semantically correct and
pleasing to say "a future worth living into", it may be more accurate
to say "a future worth living from".
Try it on for size. Say "a future worth living into". Notice what's
enlivened, notice what's called forth, notice where it lands in the
listening of others. Then say "a future worth living from".
Notice what's enlivened, notice what's called forth, notice where it
lands in the listening of others. Although it may be more accurate to
say "a future worth living from", saying "a future worth living
good enough for
This isn't the "What do you want to be when you grow up?" of childhood.
This is the "Who are you going to be for the rest of your
life?" of adulthood.
That said, there's a key element here which, if not in place, renders
the notion of a future worth living into worthless. If
it's present, the notion of a future worth living into can
breathe - like
If this key element is absent, the notion of a future worth living
into is trapped in the mire of concept and belief, stiff and
intellectual, completely powerless. That key element is
the restoration of
who you really are
of possibility in your life.
the very notion of a future worth living into is
It's diluted down to mere positive thinking. Given a platform of
to stand on, to come from, a future worth living into becomes real.
It's a tangible living possibility, one that's invented all the
time, over and over and over, again and again and again - from a
So how do you turn the notion of a future worth living
into into mere positive thinking? Easy. Just
remove the platform of
forward. That much is observable. There's no choice to stand still -
standing still is tantamount to moving backwards. There's no stopping
and getting off to take a break. You'll get to the future soon enough,
sooner or later, even if you do nothing at all. The question is: will
the future you get to be one you invented for yourself? Or will you
simply get to the default probable almost certain future
may have said)? Will the future you get to be one which is worth living
into? If the future you invent is worth living into, you're present to
your life now as you live into your future.
That's an interesting aspect of inventing a future worth living into.
As you live into and are inspired by a future worth living into, it
brings you present to your life now. In the old model, we
do our best today in the hope of having a great future.
In the old model, we may even defer presencing ourselves fully today
until we've reached the future. That's the
infamous"Someday!" we've all been waiting for. Inventing a future
worth living into brings our
to life now. Suddenly that "Someday!" is
reached, is overtaken, is passed, is in the past, and the future
is wide open (as Tom Petty may have said).
I assert this, for the most part, is what's missing: we're rooted not
by the past we had but by the future we don't have. In other
what keeps you stuck isn't what happened to you in your past. What
keeps you stuck is avoiding inventing a
future you love to live into which inspires you.