One Additional Important Chapter – Character Creates Opportunity®: Thursday, February 21, 2019

During last few blogs we shared some steps to address the important chapters in our life like how we effectively handle our past and what we can do to maximize our impact in the present. As we look to be our best for those we care about most, there is one additional chapter we need to mention; The additional chapter is our Future.

As was famously described by the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.” In a more direct fashion, the Book of Proverbs describes, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we need to be intentional about describing a clear view of our desired future in order to channel our efforts in a most purposeful and effective manner.  

Developing a long-term view of our lives is not a five-minute exercise on a Monday morning or a minor commitment after hearing some motivational pump-up speech. When we think about reflecting on the impact we desire in the home, workplace, and community, it takes some time to fully develop a clear picture of our future and the legacy we wish to leave this world. There are plenty of tools and techniques to do this type of reflective work and the important thing is to find a process that works for us as individuals and then get after pulling it together.   

There are some major benefits to thinking through the long-term goals of our life and the legacy we are working to establish. Here are just a view:

  1. We begin to crystalize a sense of purpose for our life. There is a great deal of evidence to support the fact that when we can define a clear purpose, we have a greater chance of overcoming obstacles, dealing with the inevitable setbacks in life, and we build the resilience necessary to see our plans through to completion.
  2. We channel our energy more efficiently in the near-term. Nothing can burn more energy than wandering aimlessly searching for direction. With a clear view of our desired future, we march forward in an efficient fashion to achieve the future we desire. We need all the energy we can muster to reach our full potential in this world, so avoiding an inefficient drain on energy is critical.
  3. We set a strong example for those around us. The people we care about most will get a solid sense of what we stand for and where we are headed by the consistent behavior we exhibit as we work towards the future we desire. Our example can be the spark to ignite the fire within someone else to reach their full potential.  

Given the typical transitions in life we all encounter, a helpful discipline is to periodically revisit our view of the future to ensure the practical, near-term side of our life experience has not driven a potential change in the long-term goals for our life.  

As we embrace the freedom of determining our view of the future we desire, we build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to be our best for those we care about most at home, work, and in the community.

2 thoughts on “One Additional Important Chapter – Character Creates Opportunity®: Thursday, February 21, 2019

  1. Last night, as we ate dinner, my wife and I took that familiar stroll down “memory lane” and contemplated how we arrived at our present destination. Ours has been a long (47 years) journey together with many, many twists and turns. I remarked that it was “good to be lucky.” I have always felt that meeting my wife (and convincing her to marry me) was the luckiest break I ever got. Her view was that while we all have luck, we also make choices — and that it is choice, not luck, that makes the difference. She said she fell in love with me, partially, because she recognized that I was a decisive person, not a lucky person. I do not disagree with her.

    Clearly it is both.

    When good fortune arrives, we need to have a plan and a purpose. By definition, a plan is a blueprint for the future. I realized this for the first time when as a young man and one of my teachers asked me, “Woody, where do you see yourself in five years?” I COULD NOT ANSWER! I had no response because I had never thought about projecting my life that far ahead. I vowed that day to develop a 5-year plan and to “never leave home without one.” This was by far one of the best vows (after my wedding vows) I ever made. This added so much direction to my life because with that 1, 2, 5, or 10-year plan, I always had a sense of where I was headed and simultaneously, (while living in the present), where I was — and most important, whether I was “off track.”

    If there is anyone out there who may feel that they are not sure where their life is going, I think you should try closing your eyes and see what future picture of yourself emerges as you contemplate your PURPOSE. Then open your eyes and work that plan.

    Woody

    1. Woody – Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. After 47 years, there is a lot of wisdom to share. Thanks so much for being generous and sharing some insight from your journey. David

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