Have you ever wanted to break the chains that keep you repeating the same unhappy ending over and over? Have you ever wanted to start all over, get a fresh start and walk away from a totally unworkable situation? Have you ever wondered who was writing the script of your life, and if you might take over from here and mold it much closer to your heart’s desire?
Werner Erhard, a pioneer in personal and social transformation, suggested that people stop looking to their past to create, and start looking to the future. As he put it, “Create the future in the future.” He likened it to looking into the rear view mirror while driving in a futile attempt to find your way in unfamiliar territory. If you frantically insist upon being right about the way it has been, you could easily crash the car… not a great idea!
You might ask yourself, “Where is the past? Where is the future?” If you really look, you will see that they are nowhere but in the eternal present. The past resides only in your mind, in your memories; while the future bubbles up from your imagination. It is the choices you make in the moment that move you forward.
Have you noticed what you focus on the most? Do you give too much attention to your thoughts and experiences from the past? You will create what you give your full attention and energy to. This is the best way to be stuck in a rut.
Alan Watts, an early mentor of Werner Erhard and a leading Anglo-American philosopher, offered the image of an ocean liner where you are looking out onto the horizon past the flag on the prow of the ship. The horizon in front of you is clean, as if you are starting fresh. When you walk all the way back to the stern, you will see the water churning, making great waves behind it. The naïve perspective, which many of us unconsciously adopt, is that the waves set the direction of the ship. No, it is the front that determines its direction and drives it into the future; not its back.
We are consciously creating our experience every moment. Physicists tell us that the entire universe is pulsing on and off a thousand times per second. What happened five minutes ago is gone forever. It is no use except for the lessons it gives us. Learn and move on. Why drag that heavy and useless baggage behind? The past doesn’t have to shape our present action unless we carry it with us.
When we focus exclusively on our past, we let our past actions shape our future. We reinforce this by the very language we use, as possibility lives in language:
"She fired me. I am never going to work for that type of woman again."
"He cheated on me. I am never going to date such a man again."
With such thoughts as these, you lose all your power. They did it to you. They messed up your whole life, and obviously, you had nothing to do with it.
Drop your old luggage! Leave it behind!
How, then, can we create from our future? Tesla Motors offers a powerful contemporary example. It started with Elon Musk’s vision of a powerful, practical car that would not require a drop of gasoline. He wanted Americans to be less dependent on foreign oil, leaving a lower carbon footprint. Elon would not have found any positive examples in the past, as electric cars used to be underpowered with a very short driving range before they had to be recharged. They were ugly and a drag to drive, no zip to them. The idea of making a sexy sports car that wasn’t a gas-guzzler was totally out of the box.
Elon used his imagination (by looking into the future) and realized that, if he could find a truly powerful battery that would last a couple of hundred miles, he could create a dazzling car. He realized that upscale performance drivers were willing to pay six figures for a car that was fast, smooth and luxurious. He found the best designers, built a battery that would do the job and began marketing it, putting his entire fortune into the venture. Eventually he pulled it off, revolutionizing the automotive industry.
When Steve Jobs decided to create the Apple Macintosh, he sold his team (the future) the dream of building a computer that even their mother would love. He set the team apart in their own building, hoisted a pirate’s flag, put a Porsche and Bosendorfer piano in the lobby, gave them all the popcorn and soda they could want, and always flew them first class. His team got so much behind the act that they wore tee shirts with “80 Hours a Week and Loving It!”
Here is a short video of Steve Jobs and his thoughts on creativity and innovation. His ability to create the future from the future was unreal, as if he was seeing life from a different perspective.
Steve, like Elon, put a premium on beauty, and gave meticulous attention to distinctive elegant fonts and the ability to do fancy graphics. He actually required his team to play an hour a day of computer games. Imagine someone who became the greatest CEO in history insisting upon his team playing games!
Because Steve knew that it would translate into passion and an extraordinary degree of creativity. In so doing, Steve transformed, not only the computer industry, but also the entire world along with it.
It is entirely appropriate that Steve Jobs was a vegan and meditated a couple of hours a day. He lived consciously, all out, with no apologies. While the public got all too preoccupied with his personal history, Steve never even once wavered in his commitment to excellence. He insisted on ignoring market research and building products that he would love to use.
When questioned on the wisdom of ignoring the prevailing consensus, Steve disclosed that you can’t create something totally new based on the past. Like giving birth to a baby, you bring something forth from nothing, something that has never been before.
If you doubt your ability to create from the future, consider yourself as a little child playing hide-and-go seek. You were always saying, “Let’s pretend.” You were a soldier, a sailor, a mother or a Spiderman. Since you had no past to drag around, you just said, like God, “Let it be.” And it was.
Will you now consider dropping your baggage and stepping boldly into your future to tell the world that you have finally arrived. And when you catch yourself focusing on the past again – just tune into your inner child and child-like-playfulness … the place with no attachments, but inner power with pure curiosity to create.