Selling Our Present For An Illusory Future
...trust no Future, howeer
pleasant! Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How much is man encouraged today to spend his
valuable energy thinking about and saving for
future needs which may never arise? How much do we
as a society allow each other to live in the
present and enjoy all that it entails? How much do
we as a society encourage hard work and long hours
now so that we may have enough to fall back upon in
the future? How much do we encourage the pursuit of
happiness now as opposed to it being something that
we might attain at some future point?
Many of us work on the understanding that we are
building up a future. And yet all
around us there are men who demonstrate how frail
that understanding may be.
Caste Study - Colin
Colin is a professional man in his fifties who
had worked tirelessly all his life in order to
provide his family with the funds necessary for
private education, upkeep of a beautiful house and
income which will enable him and his wife to start
enjoying themselves in his retirement.
At least that was the plan. A couple of years
ago, almost in sight of the winning post, Colin was
diagnosed with cancer. All his planning crumbled
around him as he absorbed the truth that he had
spent his life in a career that he had stumbled
into rather than chosen, in order to earn a reward
he may never totally receive.
One of the reasons primitive man may have paid
so much attention to the present, and so little to
the future, may have been that he understood at
some level he could not possibly anticipate what
his future needs would be. As such he worked to
achieve what was necessary, rather than what might
prove to be necessary. It is only recently in terms
of world history that so many of us have been in a
position to accumulate countless material
possessions. Stuff which, so often,
ends up being a burden and a liability.
Of course there is a balance to strike between
the needs of the moment and our future
requirements. We must, for instance, in the
interests of future generations continue to invest
in the safeguarding of our planet when making
important global decisions. I am not suggesting
that we act only with present moment needs in mind.
We could self-destruct very quickly. But I am
suggesting that at an individual level many men
focus too much of their energy worrying about the
future and therefore sometimes miss an opportunity
in the present.
How many of us today could honestly say that we
are not increasingly governed by fears of future
deprivation and hardship?
Many of us put off doing something that would
make us happy today because we may need the money
tomorrow. We often delay saying something positive
to someone today on the basis that there may be a
better time. Many of us even suffer financial
hardships and bills in the present whilst
contributing much needed finances to a financial
scheme that may provide us with some income in
thirty years time if we are still alive.
The truth is, we have no knowledge as to what
may be our needs at any time in the future. We work
hard all our lives, putting our own real happiness
on hold until retirement, based on the knowledge
that then we will be able to relax and enjoy the
fruits of our labour. And what happens? Some of us
never even make retirement age; others are too
incapacitated physically to be able to enjoy
retirement; others find the family has long since
split up into fragmented, unhappy units; others
have put off fun for so long that real enjoyment
becomes a mystery.
What does this tell us about putting off
happiness and enjoyment until some future date? It
tells us that this perception may be misguided.
If we could encourage each other to change our
individual and collective view of success and
money, we might halt the disintegration of a
society that is so in need of change. If we could
again realise the value of the extended family and
community support network, the value of everyone
from our elders to our children, we could once more
achieve personal and collective growth and
understanding through sharing. If we could redress
the balance between our needs in the moment and our
needs in the future, maybe we would find ourselves
creating a now that contained many more
satisfactory and rewarding experiences. A
now that could lead to an even better
future than the one we are so busy planning.
As an individual you can start this change from
future projection to present moment awareness by
asking yourself this question: In what way am
I every day meeting my own desires and needs?
If enough individuals start asking the question,
society itself stands a chance of positive
1) Start to think about all those things that
youve been putting off but that youd
really like to do (whether its telling your
dad you forgive him, climbing Everest or clearing
2) If it feels comfortable, try taking small
steps towards doing one or two of these things.
Whether its making a phone call or taking a
holiday, if the thought of it makes you feel good,
dont underestimate what good may come from
the event itself.
3) Look at how you can redress the balance in
your life between living in the future and living
in the present moment. Start to address your needs
of today as much as your anticipated needs of
©2010, Barry Durdant-Hollamby
Durdant-Hollamby is the founder of The
a UK based organisation specialising in helping
individuals and corporations to effect sustainable,
holistic, positive change. He works intuitively on
a 1-1 or group basis and also conducts many talks
and seminars - all without notes or preparation!
Barry is also the author of three books the latest
of which is The
Male Agenda - a book
which seeks to inspire men to create greater life
balance and happiness. He is the father of two
daughters and lives in the South East of England.
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