Depression is the inability to construct a future.

~ Rollo May, humanistic psychologist (photo, cc use/Wikipedia)

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In his book, The Courage to Create (Bantam Books, 1975) Rollo May talks of the 1970’s as a time “when one age is dying and the new age is not yet born.”  This observation can be attributed to our times, as well. As May asserts, there are “radical changes in sexual mores, in marriage styles, in family structures, in education, in religion, technology, and almost every other aspect of modern life.” This is as true now as it was in the 70’s, right?

May concludes, saying, “To live with sensitivity in the age of limbo indeed requires courage.” How can we protect ourselves, and stay engaged? We have no choice. If we withdraw in despair and apathy, then we choose not to participate in the forming of the new future. The future needs to be created, and we need to be the ones who are actively creating it. We are the writers and the weirdos. We have empathy for others. We can reach and persuade with our words. We can express and define the problems of our era – even as it all shifts under our feet. It takes courage to create. It also takes vision.

To participate in the creation of the future we must first visualize it. There is no checklist or to-do list that will walk us reliably to a new age.

What I see myself doing

How to construct a future? Engage your vision and develop the path. What I’m sharing today is a tool that helps you turn a list of ideas or tasks into a tangible path.

Take your list of tasks or ideas and write them into a paragraph, starting with: “What I see myself doing…”

This is one of those tips that is so simple that you find yourself thinking – is that all there is to it? And yet, it’s powerful how it amps up the clarity of your path.  It relies on two simple mental shifts that are empowering, and very easy to assimilate into your daily work habits.

  1. Positive Statement Starter: Simply using the statement starter – What I See Myself Doing – asks your brain to visualize. Instead of sitting at a desk, looking at a list, you unwittingly enter the world you are creating, because of this simple statement starter.
  2. Paragraph/story form:  A narrative enlists your brain into fleshing out the story, filling in gaps, and seeing a fully-formed path from where you are now to where you hope to be soon, physically or metaphorically.

Lists are great. They help us get organized. They give us things to cross off, but they leave big gaps in our thinking.

Start your paragraph with the sentence: “What I see myself doing is…”

WISMD is                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

I see myself …                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


Try doing this to your list of tasks or ideas today. See what a difference it makes to your vision for what you intend, and your courage to take the project on. Share on FB – Write Without The Fight . Tell us if this tool shifted your clarity and vision about what you need to do to create your future. If you’re not already a member, ask to join, and jump in the conversation. I’m there every day, and we’ll be talking about the courage to create.