2022 December 27 Envision your future (starting with success)

Dec 27, 2022

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website by, for, and about Baby Boomers. Thanks for joining me tonight to take the next step in envisioning our future. So let's get going. Remember as always, if you like what you're hearing, please hit that Like button, tell your friends, and if not, tell me what interests you. 


Last week we talked about how growth usually happens outside of our comfort zones. We want to grow our lives and we most likely have to make some changes in them. We also talked about how change is always a little scary to our brain, and how to get our brain to become more comfortable with the new future that we're envisioning.


The core of this technique is to use our imagination and our senses to envision the future that we want, to treat it as a kind of memory which already happened, and then work backwards to the present, the actual present, and envision the steps and situations that allowed that new future to happen. So instead of imagining a future goal that requires us to solve many unknown problems, we imagined a present goal attained. We're already there. We've already succeeded at what we do. Imagine the whole thing in great detail. We've succeeded, and then we work backward to the real present time and think about how we worked through and solved all the problems on that journey.


Recall that our brain is very good at working backwards from a goal. Even as a child, like we were talking about last week, when we could more easily solve a puzzle maze by starting at the end and working back towards the beginning. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think one of the big reasons is once you're at the end, you know you can get there, so now your brain says Oh yeah, we can just solve this. When you're at the beginning, it seems everything leads to a dead end and it's very discouraging. 


I have a little picture to share. It's a Creative Commons image. Imagine there's something blocking that tunnel - like a big tree fell down, or there's a truck parked there. It doesn't have to be huge, but we can't see the tunnel at all. We come up to this situation, and in reality it's probably more likely a concerned friend or parent telling us we should just be satisfied with what we have. Don't take a risk for the unknown. Here we are. I'm not really happy where I am. I mean, it's kind of an okay view, but I have a feeling if I go around the corner, it's going to be a lot nicer view, a lot better things


But a lot of people in society will say you have a good job and your house is okay. They're telling you to be satisfied. Don't take the risk. Be satisfied with what you have. But you have this fire inside. I know there's better stuff that I can do. There's more things I can do. So you get to the situation. 


You can see there's a wall. If there's a wall, what's on the other side of the wall? Who really knows? So the whole thing's kind of scary. We often imagine all the things that go wrong. We have the winding turns, and so we think of all the problems that might come up, the things we have to overcome, and the chances we might have to take if we take the obvious path.


What's around the corner? Maybe it's a dead end. Maybe there's a monster waiting. Maybe it's a cliff. Maybe that's where all the robbers are hiding. Our mind and society will tell us all the reasons why trying to reach our big goals is too risky to take the chance. But if we go all the way to the other end and let our brain work on the problem a bit, maybe overnight, maybe with some envisionment prompting over the course of many days or weeks, suddenly it all changes.


Our mind doesn't have to solve all the problems all at once, and it gets the chance to picture itself on the other side of that mountain, to get comfortable with the idea that it was even possible. Then when we turn around in our imaginary journey, we can suddenly see that tunnel leading all around the obstacles and connecting our desired future to our current.


We went from something that was completely undoable, or at least very scary, to something possible. There might have been things in the way, maybe there was a tree falling down. I'm not saying that it's not going to be any effort, but now our mind believes that it can happen, so it changed the dynamic considerably. There may be just as many problems to solve, but now that our mind believes the problems are indeed solvable, it will do its best to come up with attainable solutions. 


So you might be saying, Jim, neat party trick for little things butI really want to do something bigger. I'll just pick something that appeals to me. I want to start teaching underserved people in my community skills they need to succeed, but I have no idea where to start. Right. Very valid problem. You have something you want to do, you kind of have it in your mind, but it might be something outside of your normal comfort zone that you don't actively do regularly.


How do you even get started? Now, I can assure you, because I have observed it both with people that I've worked with as well as in my own life. Once you get your brain into problem solving mode instead of the take no chances mode, you'll be shocked at what you can do. 


This is not about overcoming things. It's quite the contrary. It's often about realizing that the obstacles you were prepared to face didn't really even exist. Your brain created them in an effort to keep you from failing. That isn't to say they might not have happened, but often you'll find that they weren't as big and scary as you first made them out to be. And chances are, you won't run into each and every one of them. 


Back to our example. You might say, I don't even know how to teach. But if you envision yourself at that point, for example the first graduation ceremony with people thanking you for helping them and changing their lives to get a better job. In your imagination, you look around and you see an old friend who retired from teaching last year and was looking for a way to do something else that had personal meaning to themselves. Your conscious mind had forgotten all about them, but given some time and space, your subconscious mind remembered them as a resource and solved that first overwhelming obstacle that had you stopped with a simple phone call, maybe getting together for lunch.


So don't underestimate your problem solving mind. It can do amazing things when you give it some time, and start from the end where you believe that it's possible. Once your brain believes it's possible, it will make it happen. The other huge benefit of this exercise of envisioning how things are once you succeed is that once your brain is on board and excited because it realizes that what you want to do is attainable, then it will support your emotional passions towards your own goal.


When that happens, everything changes. When you talk to someone, that excitement and that passion naturally comes out, and gets the people you're talking to excited and passionate about your goals as well. Remember we talked about this, when José Andrés of the World Central Kitchen first showed up in Ukraine to help them start feeding the people in the destroyed cities. The people he met wanted to help, and they might have been doing something, but they wanted to do more. They just didn't believe they could.  Jose's own passion rekindled their passion and belief in themselves, and they made huge progress in their capabilities to the point of serving tens of millions of meals now. Did they still have issues like an ongoing war? Obviously, of course. But now they realized and believed they could overcome anything because they believed in the outcome. They believed in themselves. 


We'll be talking about this more in our upcoming course, See Your Future Transformed. But for now, remember those first steps to attaining your goal . Once you envision the goal is done and your mind believes that it's possible to do,  it will start working backwards and do things.


So start by imagining that goal completed in amazing detail. Think of the sights, the sounds, the smells, the food, the languages, the people you've helped, other people congratulating you. Every single thing that you can imagine about what you want to attain. Now your brain can safely work through all the logistics from a safe distance and find solutions that you are comfortable with.


We talked about this before. Just another little nugget tonight, but I would encourage you to take something you have wanted to do that seemed impossible and overwhelming. A vacation trip, paying off a debt, anything you wanted to do but didn't know where to start. Then turn it around and start at the end. Imagine getting off the plane in some new country, getting a credit card statement with a zero balance, whatever it is that you didn't think could happen. Then really imagine it in every detail. What it feels like to have accomplished something you already wanted. What people are saying, the sounds, the smells, the sights, holding something, talking to people in the shops. Whatever it is that makes that real to you. 


Then make a vision board to help keep your vision in your head. Look at it at least every day, probably more often. Just something you walk by and you look at, and you stop for a second and think about it. A vision board can be just pictures of what you want to do, or what you want to attain, the lifestyle that you wish to have, the people you wish to help, whatever it is that helps you envision that goal.


If your goal is, for example, helping people to read, then you can have some books. Before there's a question mark and somebody couldn't understand it, and afterwards there's a smile because it helped me get something done. Whatever it is that helps your mind envision success, that's what goes on the vision board. Then, once you have that vision board and you're really looking at it and you can really immerse yourself in that future success, then start brainstorming about how you just completed that previous step.


So, if you think about your graduation (back to our little example), and then you imagine people coming in and you remember the people saying, Wow, I remember a couple months ago I didn't think we would ever be able to get that space rented. You remember, There was a space I saw for rent, and your mind will work backwards and help you step through every single piece.


It's amazing how that will work.  You have to have faith in the process because the process really truly works. Your brain wants you to succeed, and it also wants you to be safe. That safety part is what keeps you stuck where you are because it doesn't want you to fail. It wants you to succeed. Once you get your brain on board thinking, Oh yes, I can really do this, and here's what the end will look like, your brain will solve all the.issues, don't worry about it. Have faith in it. 


So we'll talk about this after Christmas, but start now with picking some SMART goals. Remember SMART goals back a couple episodes. Specific goal with the timeline and an outcome you can measure. It's really important. Don't imagine working towards your SMART goal working. Imagine being at your goal and working backwards. So you want to set a SMART goal, but then you don't want to imagine this trudgery journey to get to that point.


You want to imagine your SMART goal, then imagine yourself there. Do the vision board and work backwards. It's really, really critical, and we'll work on it together. We'll be talking more about this in our course, See Your Future Transformed, coming up, probably in January. 


I saw a really interesting post. Somebody said, Why is everybody all wrapped around New Year's? If you're not working on your life every day, just working on your life one day of the year is not it. I would rather start in February. We're aiming for January, but to me, it's more important that we work consistently towards our goals rather than a particular date.


I know January 1st, everybody makes resolutions. We already talked about that. Resolutions aren't good. Dreams aren't good. Goals are good. So we'll get the course done as soon as we can get it done. We'll start it as soon as we can start it, and I'll let you know more details as they arrive. 


So that's it for the evening. Please remember the war in Ukraine. It is definitely going on in the worst ways right now. Russia is just trying to lay waste to basically everything, because that's the way they run wars. They just try to make everybody's life miserable, and they're doing a very good job of it.


If you go to UKR7.com, there are links to places where you can donate. Many different types of aid agencies. World Central Kitchen is there, WCK.org, and doing amazing work. A lot of people do amazing work there right now. Remember, the best way to care for yourself is to care for others.


I would encourage you to go there, make a donation. If you're looking for donations for the new year, that's one way of doing it. A lot of companies now at the end of the year have matching grants on things and some of the matches, even with the down economy, are still pretty good. 

Two-to-one matches are pretty common. Sometimes you see three-to-one. I saw one that was a four-to-one match. Take advantage of them. If you're thinking of donating, think about it. You give $10. They give $40. It's a good time to think about other people. Good time to remember the Ukraine 


That's it. Thanks for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along, and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a wonderful holiday season, whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, any of the many other festivities going on this year.


Remember to live the life that you dreamed of because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


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