What is your response when you realize life isn’t everything you hoped it would be? The answer to that question speaks volumes about your orientation to life. For much of history, people have very little control over how their lives turned out. In many cultures the circumstances of birth determined almost everything about what was likely to happen for the duration of a person’s life. A reading of history seems to confirm that most people simply accepted their lot in life and did the best they could to just get along.
The birth of the United States was a major factor in changing the dynamic of life’s outcome being inevitable. The founding of the country, coupled with rapid expansion, among other factors, led to a culture where people could easily anticipate that their actions could lead to dramatic, positive improvements in life circumstances. Phrases like the land of opportunity and the American dream made this a place where people from all over the world came to seek a better life. People were sometimes surprised by what was possible simply by developing and following a dream.
People would take their present circumstances as a starting point from which the possibilities for the future seemed bound only by imagination and the willingness to do the work necessary to achieve the goals. Each generation desired a better future for their children. It was a time of optimism and hope. Somewhere along the way, a different system of beliefs about the future began to develop.
Evidence suggests that many people today do not have a sense of anticipation about the future and what is possible for those with a dream and willingness to work. It appears many people have replaced anticipation with envy over what they perceive as not available to them. This seems to lead to alienation and discouragement.
Where do you see yourself in terms of your view of the future and what is available to you? The answer to that question has a lot to do with where we place our efforts and expend our energy. Anticipation tends to lead to hope and optimism. Envy can lead to anger and frustration. Do you spend more time looking toward a hopeful future or resenting others for what you believe is rightfully yours?
As we move forward, we should seek to remember the hope that has led so many to overcome obstacles and accomplish great things. Any time envy, anger and other negative emotions threaten to shape our thinking and our resolve, we should remember that these are not the stuff of which dreams have led to great accomplishments.
We can also encourage others to move past these emotional responses and focus our efforts on the positive things and ideas that can form the basis of future success. May we embrace these positive dreams and desires as we move to the best future possible.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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