June 21, 2010

Focus Future

I was on vacation in Miami last week and had the opportunity to spend some time (when not on the beach and in the pool) in one of my favorite off the beaten path bookstores, where I spend some time perusing “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.

Some fascinating points that stuck with me:

- Focus on the now—to achieve peace and happiness—and not on the past or the future, because the past carries with it all sorts of baggage and the future weighs on us with anxieties.

- The focus on now can be viewed as more important than the past or the future, even though the past provides us our identity and the future with the hope of salvation.

The emphasis on now is an intriguing viewpoint for me, because by nature and profession, I am a strategist, architect and planner—I look always to the future to make things better than they are today. I routinely ask how can we use technology or reengineer our business processes to surpass the now.

I also do this based on my religious upbringing that taught me that our actions—good and bad—affect our merit for the future—in this world and “the next.”

In both cases, “the now” is but a steppingstone to the future. So while, I think living in the now can certainly help us wall off the mistakes of the past and worries about the future, I do not really see it as fulfilling our mission of learning from the past and growing into our futures.

While it may be simpler, more enjoyable or just more comfortable to focus on the present, it seems a little naïve to me to ignore where you come from and where you are going.

Maybe Eckhart Tolle doesn’t care what is in the future and he is blissfully happy in his ignorance, but I for one am more comfortable focusing on the future (except when I’m on vacation in Miami Beach).

I guess what I’m saying is, I love the now in that it refreshes and rejuvenates me. But I also think of it as ultimately leading toward a desired future state, and I think it’s more productive to focus on what can and must be done to make the world a better place tomorrow.


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