Affecting The Future

Seth Godin made excellent points on the 16th of April. They relate to the future and your place within.

What does the loss of Notre Dame mean to us?

Setting aside the tourism and history, he draws our attention to several facts:

“Our experience with time keeps changing. The concept of the time machine was only invented in the 1800s, and people who lived when they were building Notre Dame had little concept of what the world was like a thousand years before them, and no imagination at all of what the world might be like today.” Time is a backdrop to our lives. How we relate to it profoundly affects how we make decisions.

“We didn’t have time zones until we had clocks, and we didn’t have clocks until we invented cities” Precise time means little in an agrarian society. Spring, morning, night, and winter matter. A watch that displays half-past winter is not useful today, although maybe it should be.

“As we’ve learned about history (not the details, simply the concept of it, that someone came before), we’ve also spent time thinking about the future. About our role in it and whether or not it will turn out the way we hope it will.” Not everyone has developed time competence. Many of us are too past oriented. Others ignore the needs of the present because they “know” the future will be wonderful. Gambling addiction could just be a form of time incompetence.

Seth sets out two near certainties and a conclusion:

  • We have much less direct control over the future than we hope, and it will always surprise us.
  • We have far more ability to make an impact than we expect. The only people who can change our culture (and thus our future) are us.
  • We can’t control the future, but we can bend it. And we can’t freeze the world as it is, but we can figure out how to be a part of it.

Rather like Steve Jobs image of making a dent in the universe.

The key for each of us

Recognize that we cannot “control” the future the way we can control a tool. It is that we can control the future by our choices today and every day after. The control will be more like creating a bonzai tree. Not command and control. More like evolution.

Managing our impatience would be a good place to start.

I help business owners, and professionals understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages to acquire more efficient income and larger, more liquid estates.

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