Looking to the future.

Future

What does the future hold for you?

What is around the next corner?

Do you feel like your life is predetermined and you’re trapped on a path from which there is no escape, or do you feel as free as a bird to go where life takes you?

Are responsibilities, expectations, and commitments limiting what you do, or is your life your own to do with as you wish?

For most people, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

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Listen. Friends having a conversation.

Listen

On its surface, listening is not that hard. Someone is speaking, we hear and comprehend the words, and we gain an understanding of what he or she is conveying.

It’s that third bit where people often falter.

To really understand what a person is saying, we need to consider the context, the person’s background or history, and any emotional subtext. Also, we have to observe. Is the person’s speech rushed? Are they animated? Are they louder or higher-pitched that usual? For some, all of these things come naturally, but others barely hear the words, never mind consider the subtleties.

In interacting with other people, it can often be difficult to ascertain their points of view, their motives, or their agenda (if they have one). However, with an awareness of certain aspects of that person’s physical and emotional responses, it is much easier to know where they’re coming from. When speaking with someone, it can be revealing to pay close attention to what they’re doing with their arms or hands, the way they’re breathing, and any changes in the color of their face or the intensity of their eyes. It is often the case that these attributes can communicate more than words.

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Rotating clock, close-up

Time

What is the most valuable commodity?

Plutonium? Diamonds? Platinum?

I bet many people would say that it’s time.

Yes, I know—time is not technically a commodity, but we often treat it like one—we save it, trade it, and consume it.

How do we respond to all the demands on our time?

Some people treat it as a public good, or as something that is available on a first-come, first-served basis, to anyone. They give of their time freely, to whomever asks for it. Although that approach can produce some interesting results, most of us have too many responsibilities to be able to give away our time so generously.

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Participate - View through the windscreen of a woman sitting waiting in her car with hands and chin resting on the steering wheel

Participate

How much of our lives is spent waiting for something to end?

The car ride while commuting to work, a boring meeting, waiting for a doctor or a flight—how many things fall into the category of waiting for time to go by?

At other times in our lives, we feel like we don’t have enough time; we have to prioritize and squeeze things in. Sometimes, we feel like we never have a moment to ourselves to decompress and regroup.

This dichotomy in our perception of the passing of time is not necessary. To address it, we have to pay attention to our wandering brains and direct them where to go.

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