By Chris Chittenden
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
… Steve Jobs (1955-2011) US Computer Entrepreneur and Businessman
Once again this month, I will continue our journey to establish some foundational values based on the four questions I posed in the August e-zine:
- What is at the heart of how you want to experience life?
- What is most important to you about what you want to create in life?
- What is central to how you want to approach life given an uncertain future?
- What is the basis of how you want to relate to others?
My responses to the first two questions has been "Gratitude" and "Balance". What have you come up with?
This month we will explore the question, "What is central to how you want to approach life given an uncertain future?"
The first aspect to be addressed in answering this question, is whether you believe the future is uncertain. Over the millennia, human beings have spent a lot of energy seeking to predict the future. Once we looked to the skies and saw foretelling in the arrival of a comet. Today we are much more sophisticated and look to the scientific method as a predictive approach. As a result, we have become much better at predicting some aspects of the future. For example, we now believe that Halley's Comet will come around every 76 years or so with the next arrival due in 2061.
Many people do not want to believe the future is uncertain and act as though it will come to pass as they wish. These people tend to seek control and structure in their lives. Although a certain amount of planning and structure can be valuable, too much can create a great deal of stress. For those of you who watch, 'The Big Bang Theory', Sheldon Cooper is a great example of such extremes.
Much as we might not like to admit or think about it, the future is inherently uncertain. Halley's Comet might be hit by another object and may spin off into the universe never to return. Sure, we would like to think that we control our destiny, and to some degree we do, however none us knows what tomorrow or even the next few minutes might bring. The only thing we know for certain about our future is that it will at some point involve our own demise.
Life is full of what we term 'breakdowns' in the ontological world. A 'breakdown' is any circumstance we assess requires addressing in life. Some of these situations will be good for us and some not so good. However, as we go through life we will have to deal with foreseen and unforeseen breakdowns that may be very new for us. How we deal with these breakdowns will ultimately dictate how we experience life. As Julio Olalla has said, "Mastery in life is mastery in breakdowns".
Dealing more effectively with breakdowns always involves learning in some form or other, so when I considered the question of how I want to approach life given an uncertain future my thoughts revolved around what learning means to me. Over the years, I have always been curious in nature. I was around when personal computers became available and spent a lot of time learning in that domain. In 1994, my life took another tangent when I was exposed to the ontological work and I dived into that. As I reflected on how I went about learning, in those and other domains, there was a theme that kept coming up for me. I have long thought that one of my gifts has been that of seeing patterns. Indeed the body of work I have created in the ontological domain is heavily based on certain patterns appearing to me. My own story about this is that they are born of my intuition. Some patterns just appear to me. Sure they have been based in a lot of reading and listening to others, but I have not worked them out as a result of a rigid logical process. They have come to me in a flash of inspiration and insight.
These flashes of insight come from my 'Intuition' and so this is my answer to the question of dealing with an uncertain future. I will always seek to learn and look to my 'Intuition' to do so.
How about you? What is important to you in dealing with an uncertain future? Is it learning like me? Does it relate to the support or growth of others? Maybe it is a positive approach to life?
As with the first two questions, there is no right or wrong answer, just your answer. Indeed it is the process that you go through to come to your answer that is most important for it is how you start to give meaning to your answer and therein lays the key.
Next month, I will focus on the last question, "What is the basis of how you want to relate to others?"
© 2015 Chris Chittenden