Welcome to 2020, a new year and the start of a new decade, what will it bring you?
In common parlance 2020 is regarded as a measure of perfect visual acuity. Meaning that you can see ahead with perfect clarity. But it is also used in a similar way about looking back into the past with perfect clarity, which is 2020 hindsight. So as a metaphor, this year of 2020 offers us the ability to lucidly look both ways at once. It is a fulcrum, a pivot point.
Our past is a contextual frame that we carry around with us. It filters our current experiences. Everything that happens to us in the present is unconsciously assessed through the filter of our past experiences. This contextual frame tells us who we think we are, and how we have arrived at where we are in our lives right now. That means that it may well carry with it negative emotions from past events, limiting beliefs that we have about ourselves, and patterns of repeated behaviour. One of the things that I task coaching clients to do is to write out their life history. The purpose of this is to understand how the client got to where they are in their lives now. It might also highlight negative patterns of behaviour which can be released. Maybe you could use your 2020 hindsight to review your past. Do you understand how you have arrived at where you are today? Are there things that you could let go of, or patterns you could change.
Another activity that I like to invite clients to do is to describe what their life would be like in the future. What will they be doing for work, what will their family and partner relationships be like, what will their financial situation be, and how will their health and fitness be. So use your 2020 vision to imagine your perfect life situation at the end of this decade. How does it look, sound and feel to be you at the end of 2029. Use what you have learned from exploring your past to inform your future. Also do this free of the limitations of the past. Really push your imagination and fully immerse yourself in this future version of you. Imagine being this future you now, and notice how good it feels.
We can do this individually. And equally we can run this process for ourselves collectively. If you stand back and review human history what does it tell you about humanity? We have made huge progress, particularly over the last 500 years, but this has come at a cost to our sense of collective humanity, and to the ecology of the planet. As the fires now raging in Australia bear witness. But what this sense of progress also tells me is that we are good at solving problems. If you see manmade problems in the world around you, then know that we can solve them, because we created them. Our ingenuity and creativity has brought us to the verge of a whole new scientific revolution in genetics, computing, robotics, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. Now, I am not in a position to predict what the next 10 years could bring for us, because to quote physicist Niels Bohr, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it is about the future.” Nevertheless it seems to me that the next decade is going to bring change at an unprecedented speed.
If we want this change to be positive then we need to focus on what we want for ourselves individually, and the kind of world that we want to live in collectively. We then need to take action in the direction of what we prefer. Visualisation is great, it can help to motivate you and help to make your plans and ideas seem more concrete, but you also need to ground your desires in the real world. We do this by taking action. Use the metaphor that the year 2020 provides to look back and forward at the same time, then take action in the direction you prefer so that your 2020s will make you roar with delight.
“When I look into the future, it’s so bright it burns my eyes.” Oprah Winfrey