I think the two are related, but at opposite ends of the spectrum.
For me, in very simple terms, creating the future is something we unconsciously do every single day by our actions without necessarily being aware of it.
This is not the same unconscious activity, such as our heart beating, that is controlled by our autonomic nervous system,
Instead we choose to ignore these “future making” actions, possibly because they are mundane.
A very good example of this is walking down the stairs. When we walk down the stairs we don’t normally have to think about where to place our feet. We don’t even need to look at them. This is because our brain has already calculated where each foot needs to be placed in the future, in turn, to negotiate the stairs.
The fact that your brain does this, without you thinking about it, is demonstrated when your brain gets it wrong and you miss a step, or throw an extra step in where there isn’t one.
Where the penny dropped for me – namely the application of this innate ability to favourably determine the outcome of future possibilities – is learning how to ride my mountain bike down steep slippery enduro trails.
I am of course referring to the use of visualisation to determine the course of the future.
Another simple example of this is the ritual that some rugby penalty kickers put themselves through before they convert a penalty, They are effectively playing the successful future passage of the ball that they are about to kick through the posts through their heads before they do so.
In my example it is calculating where my front tyre needs to be in relation to a root that I am about to hit and placing it precisely where I was supposed to.
It doesn’t always work, But it works more often than not.
It is also the opposite of object fixation where for example, in paragliding, you become fixated on the one tree in an otherwise empty field that you wish to avoid, and end up coming close to hitting!
So far so good.
The bigger picture
I can introduce the bigger picture by referring to this tweet I made in March 2023.
In hindsight, my life has been a series of decisions that I have made that have got me exactly to where I want to be.
Generally they have required the application of hard work and a consideration of the ramifications, both positive and negative, that may occur by taking them. But nevertheless they are taken to swing it – the future – in the direction that I wish it to go.
For example, I remember a conversation with my wife, Karen, when I was in my early thirties and we were planning our fourth child. I had just resigned as a very well paid (at the time) finance director to become self employed, and Karen was suggesting that we sell the very lovely family house that we had only just moved into, if we were to have a fourth child, because of the ensuing financial uncertainty.
My assessment was that we should stay put and have another baby on the basis that in 15 years or so it wouldn’t matter; we would either be living on a housing estate or would still have our new home, but that either way we would also be the parents of another teenager.
We still live in that same house with that teenager who is now 25!
The Great Awakening
What prompted me to write this post – as I sit here in the Northern French Alps on the evening before my last day of paragliding in Annecy; a future that I create most years in order to avoid the hussle and bustle of the Isle of Man TT bike races – was the tweet below.
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to watch the video – or if it is deleted for some reason in the future – the gist of what Rickie Lambert is saying is that we all have within us the ability to change the world into a place that is safer, cleaner, happier, fairer or whatever our collective consensus wants it to be and that the first step to realise this is to recognise that we all share the ability to create the future we want to have.
All we have to do is to look up, decide what we want and make the decisions in our lives that are going to move the future needle in the direction that we wish it to go.