Why You Should Be Living for the Future Now

I am mostly offline, attending a business conference. I have asked several bloggers to post in my absence. This is a guest post by Mary DeMuth. She is an author, speaker and book mentor. You can read Mary’s blog or visit her on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I love it when I get to spend time with my friend Randy Ingermanson who runs AdvancedFictionWriting.com. I always come away from our conversations challenged and changed.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/kryczka

Our recent conversation happened in a hotel lobby in Dallas where he shared about something he learned about goal setting.

“When we make decisions based on fear,” Randy said, “we eventually won’t progress.” He likened it to making a decision to follow Jesus based on fear of hell. The farther away we move from the fear, the less sway the threat holds in our decisions to grow.

The result? We stagnate because we’re farther away from what initially motivated us.

However, if we live in light of what we will gain in heaven by leading a faithful life, that looming goal woos us onward. It compels us to change in light of the future—a far more proactive way to live.

It made me think of my own life, how I’ve made so many business decisions based on fear. Because I was being reactionary, I didn’t grow.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “We mistake panic for inspiration.” But if I make goals based on who I want to become, those goals will entice me forward.

How can we apply this to our own entrepreneurial endeavors? Here are two ways:

  1. Evaluate those times is your life when you reacted out of fear. What happened? What was your response? How did you fare in the aftermath? Do you regret what you did? What did you learn from your response in the long run? In what ways did you stagnate?
  2. Envision what you want your professional (and personal) life to look like. Then work your way toward that goal.

    For instance, a looking-back goal based on fear would be something like, “I need to do anything I can to make money so I won’t be poor like I was as a child.” The farther away you move from that goal, the less you will grow, because you have nothing pulling you forward.

    But if your goal is, “I want to come to the place where I can donate as much money as I can to charity,” you will be moving in forward momentum toward that goal.

So what about you?

Picture your life five years in the future. See yourself as less harried, more intentional, and fully purposeful. You are living in the midst of your dream. What is that dream? Write it down.

Paint the picture of you joyfully pursuing what brings you deep satisfaction. Then place that dream in God’s hands, asking Him to woo you forward.

The past is gone. It cannot hold you. Present worries are poor motivators and eventually will fizzle in their ability to shape you for the long term.

But living your life in light of the future will change your perspective. It will move you from fear-based decision making to a joyfully proactive life where you anticipate the next step with joy.

Question: What decisions do you regret based on fear? What future goal would be powerful enough to move you forward? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.justcris.com/ Cris Ferreira

    I think one of the worst decisions we can make out of fear is giving up. Sometimes we have to let go because it is the right thing to do, but we must not do it just because we are afraid to keep going, keep pushing forward, or because we are afraid of what people might say.
    Envisioning the future is an excellent way to get past our fears and keep going after the ultimate goal.
    Thank you for this inspired advice, Mary.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Cris. I also think your implication is that tenacity is very important.

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  • http://HappinessInternational.org/ Kenneth Benjamin

    Hi Mary,

    Great article. I’d like to add a little that I think might be helpful.

    Fear comes with two friends, uncertainty and doubt.

    One of the best ways to reduce fear and move forward is by having a clear vision of both where you are going and, even more importantly, why.

    Self-awareness is the first step, knowing who you are and what matters to you. 

    Then you can move to understanding why what you want aligns with your values.

    Together this trio of Who, What, and Why gives you a way to know that how you will move forward, your plan, will align with your purpose in life.

    That gives you the certainty you need and removes the doubt. All that is left is the fear – fear of the unknown – and anticipation of fulfilling your dreams.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Self awareness is so key.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for the different perspective this morning Mary! I have a dream of becoming a writer (but alas it’s in a dormant state for sometime now.) I wish to re-kindle it this morning. I have evaded this with lame excuses due to fear and unbelief.  I have just read the book ” The war of art ” by Steven Pressfield. It provided the right tonic to aspiring creatives like me. 

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Good book. Another great one to get you inspired is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks for the suggestion Mary! I will be llloking for it.

        Subject: [mhyatt] Re: Why You Should Be Living for the Future Now

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           If you write novels, try Stephen King’s On Writing.

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            Thanks Mary! I am more interested in writing non-fiction. I feel that’s where my strength. However, thanks so much for information. I am passing to one of my friends Visvanathan who is obsessed with writing fiction. Thanks for responding with individual care.

            Subject: [mhyatt] Re: Why You Should Be Living for the Future Now

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

             I write both, so I have favorite writing books on both sides.

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  • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

    Randy, this was so good I had to tweet it… “When we make decisions out of fear, we eventually won’t progress.” Excellent! Thanks for sharing, Mike!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Shannon. Glad it’s share-able. :)

      • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

        Girl, everything you write is so fabulous. Sometimes when I’m writing I hear your voice in my head encouraging me with various advice I’ve heard from you over the years so I’m not surprised you came up with a great quote!

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           You are my new best friend. Thanks. :)

  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    Mary, I’ve been thinking about this post all week. I walked away from it wondering how much I could give to missions. After a lot of thought and prayer, I have decided to write an e-book explaining the importance of missions. I want to charge $2 for the book and I’ll donate all of the revenues to some missions organizations that are doing great work around the world.

    This is all in my head right now, but I’m working hard on getting it onto paper. I don’t know what a reasonable timeline is for something like this, but I hope to get it done sometime this year.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Rob, what a great idea. Here’s a tutorial I wrote on my website about how to download an ebook in 7 steps. Might be helpful. http://www.marydemuth.com/2011/06/publish-your-e-book-in-seven-simple-steps/

      And since I’m passionate about missions (and used to be a missionary), let me know when the book is live and I’ll be happy to feature it on my blog.

      • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

        That’s awesome! My parents are missionaries, so I spent my growing-up years in Indonesia. 

        Thanks for the resource about making an e-book. I was a little overwhelmed about how to get started.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

          I’m glad to be of help. I haven’t been to Indonesia (yet), but I loved Singapore and Malaysia. Great food. Amazing people.

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