Something about the past seems much more romantic than the future so Are you more attracted to the PAST or the FUTURE?. Maybe it’s because the past is a time we can look back on with nostalgia, or perhaps it’s because the future is an unknown quantity. Whatever the reason, it seems like many people are more interested in living in the past than they are in living in the future.

In an article for the New York Times, editorial assistant Cornelia Channing writes, “Recently, I was at dinner with some friends and the conversation turned to time travel. It was pretty standard fare: If you could transport yourself to any period in history — past or future — where and when would you go? The answers included Paris in the 1920s, Ancient Egypt, Mozart’s Vienna, Mesopotamia.”

However, Channing continues, she observed something remarkable. “None of us, I noticed, wanted to visit the future. This is an admittedly pessimistic view — typical, perhaps, of my generation — but not an unreasonable one. We’re living at an extraordinarily precarious moment in human history, one that will be defined by how we respond — or fail to respond — to some rather urgent existential threats.”

But what if we could time travel? Would you still be more attracted to the past, or would you be more interested in living in the future?

Think about it this way: if you could time travel in your own life, would you rather go back and experience wonderful moments again — perhaps altering some of the choices you’ve made?

Or would you instead go forward and see the outcomes of actions you have yet to undertake?

PAST or the FUTURE

Under the direction of my friend Dr. Nido Qubein, President of High Point University, I participated in a “time travel” experience this past weekend. He implored each member of our group to seriously consider our current positioning in the marketplace. Next, he vividly focused on what our desired positioning would be in the future. He directed us to “time travel,” if you will, into a time where we were observing the results of actions not yet taken.

The results of Dr. Qubein’s exercise were both inspirational and motivational. They also created ideas for implementation I had not previously developed.

PAST or the FUTURE

I worry a bit about the “self-fulfilling prophecy” aspect that goes unmentioned in Ms. Channing’s article. If we are projecting a future that is “doomed,” so to speak, do we then go about creating it to adhere to our expectations because we see no other way? Could the same be true of your life and career?

Instead, I’d suggest we should all do a little time traveling. As trivial as it might sound, we should schedule some time travel with ourselves to precisely envision how our best future would look. We should write down the positioning we desire to achieve. Then we must analyze what action steps we must take to reach that destination.

Rather than try to fix the past, why not design a distinctive future?

Who do you know needing assistance in designing that distinctive future for their organization or career? We all know businesses that are so similar to their competition that they’re trapped in low margins and high turnover of employees and customers. This means that they have little chance for extraordinary success unless they chart a different path. We specialize in helping organizations and professionals create distinction. (In fact, I wrote the book on it!) Contact me here for more information. Let’s get started designing YOUR distinctive future!

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY SCOTT MCKAIN (originally published on LinkedIn): 

Expert/Researcher on creating organizational distinction and the Ultimate Customer Experience.