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Future Tense

Rajgopal Nidamboor

All of us know its essence, if not its subtle nuance — yet we are, for the most part, too tense about what the future would hold for us. As Albert Einstein said, “I never think of the future; it comes soon enough.” For most people though, the future is always near and yet so far. It may, likewise, have different connotations, also meanings, depending on one’s perspective. For some folks, the future may relate to a goal, dream, hope, vision, happening, or a purpose-come-true. It could, for others, be a big ‘leap’ on the job, closing a deal, or project, acquiring a new car, gadget, or taking a vacation in idyllic settings.

Any which way you look at it, the future is more than a peek into possibility — perhaps, a jubilant realisation, or winning a coveted award. It also, in more ways than one, corresponds to getting things done at the right time, or being at the right place at the right time. It is about managing things with vision, values and courage, along with a focused intent too.

Most of us visualise, or ‘capture,’ the future as a lasting assignment — one that helps us to hold on to, or sustain success. Or, understanding complexities, or being prepared today for tomorrow. This is, in most instances, easier said than done, or achieved — because, navigating through the ups and downs and the downs and ups of life is not as simple as it appears to be on the surface, or deep within.

We all have something in common — ascending emotional and physical peaks, every day, or crossing a ‘tricky’ river, climbing the ‘mountain,’ and connecting with oneself and others at a deeper plane. It is this attribute that holds the key to our future, or purpose in life, including our aspirations — not to speak of our true capacity and guts to working hard and realising our inherent potential, even when one is not endowed with a natural ability for the intellect, or excellence. Everything is possible for the average, just as much as it is for the gifted. All of us know of such exemplars — in our vicinity, the workplace, elsewhere, or the sports arena.

Studies have revealed that an existing connection to a possible future occurrence can offset ‘delay discounting.’ In a study in the UK, participants were told either to vibrantly picturise spending £35 at a pub six months from now, or just assess what they thought could be bought for £35. Participants in the former group showed an amplified disposition to wait for a larger future recompense than participants in the latter. The inference — imagining a specific possible future offsets the effects of ‘delay discounting.’ You’d think about prospection as a key application too. It prompts us to achieve our goals. Yet, the idea is not straightforward, because reaching, or not achieving, our goals is subject to how we think about the future.

For anyone that works endlessly with a committed sense of doggedness and devotion, there is always more than a modicum of incredible optimism. This is a thin dividing line, all right, but a pivot of extraordinary hope, not mere expectation. It holds the ‘connect’ to the future — by way of a game-changing event, right from your home, or workplace. Yet another common example is a patient who, from the depths of despair and hopelessness, emerges exultant through sheer will power — with qualified help from top-class medical, or surgical, care.

Mind researchers evidence that our areas of interest, or taste, are pre-set in our genes — but, nobody can ever stall the process we seek to follow, or enhance it in our lives, provided one is realistic. You’d move mountains when you have the right bearings and aim at the next level provided you grasp the quintessence of the next level, its varied subtleties and refined gradations. Sounds difficult? Not really, because when you learn to drive the process, you will sure expand on your thinking graph — and, not resort to a relaxed, lethargic existence in the cocoon of your comfort zone.

The best thing to do to surmounting every day life’s challenges and conquering your fears to reach the next level, or the future, is to watch, learn, explore, observe and question the refined, not the mundane. Not micro-manage, but macro-manage, with an attached sense of detachment and vice versa, while discarding your extra emotional baggage, or troubled past. This is, perhaps, the finest prescription you’d use to determine your ‘best’ future — in the present moment.

(The writer is a wellness physician, independent researcher, columnist and author.)

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