Shaping the Future

108531091From our own individual perspectives, there are only three categories of time. There is the past, the present, and the future.

The past has conspired to make us who we are, but it cannot affect us going forward except to the extent that we allow it to do so. The past is a great learning tool, but it is only an indicator of the future if we allow it to be.

If you have ever invested any money, you have undoubtedly received a prospectus. Since no one ever reads a prospectus, I will give you the one key point that seems to appear in every one of these legal and financial documents. At one point or another, every prospectus says, “Past performance is not an indicator of future results.” This is easy to understand as it relates to finance, but harder to grasp as it relates to our lives.

The present moment is a nebulous point in time. It is the product of the past and the gateway to the future, but seems to be a mere blip on the radar. If your entire past were climbing a huge mountain and your entire future was the descent down the other side, the present moment would consist of that brief point at which you stand on the summit. The future is a clean canvas where we can create our own art or allow others and circumstance to randomly direct our destiny.

John Schaar, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said it like this. “The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created – created first in mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”

Unfortunately, the more we grow and learn, the more we seem to limit our futures. As small children, everything seems possible, but as we pursue our education and our career, we seem to narrow instead of broadening the future outcomes we are willing to consider. If anything is possible, we must realize that everything is possible. Both the limitations and the pathways to success exist in our mind and imagination.

As you go through your day today, own the past, manage the present, and imagine the future.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books, including “The Ultimate Gift.” He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by e-mail at; or on Facebook at

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