How does the future happen?
Well, maybe it doesn’t. That is, maybe the future doesn’t just “happen.” Let’s look at some future events. Take tomorrow’s sunrise. Get up early and go watch it if you like. You have nothing to do with it. Every day, it just happens. It’s the future, and it just happens. So far, so good.
How does the future happen? It just does.
How about something else that might happen tomorrow? Not a sunrise but a sunburn. Now for that future to happen, you have to show up–unlike the sunrise, which is going to happen either way. You have to get out there and expose yourself to the sun. Even though you’re going to just lie there and do nothing, the sunburn won’t just “happen.” Your behavior will contribute to it. You will create the sunburn future.
How does the future happen? Sometimes, you allow it to happen by creating the circumstances that lead to a particular outcome.
Now let’s take a really different future. Say tomorrow you decide you want to make some sun tea. In some ways, making sun tea is a lot like getting a sunburn. You set everything up just right and let the sun do its thing. But now you have to do more than just take your clothes off and lie in the sun. You have to get get a jar. You have to get some tea. You have to get some water. You mix everything up right and then, at the critical moment, you put the sun to work.
How does the future happen? Sometimes you create it. It doesn’t just “happen,” but you got there in part by leveraging something that did just “happen.”
Look at the world around you and you will see that the present moment — yesterday’s future — is complex mess of sunrises, sunburns, and sun tea. There is the future you have no control over, the future that you allow to happen, and the future you make happen.
Recognizing this reality is the first step in recognizing what the future really is, and the role you can play in its coming about.