Lesson 96: Always look ahead

Published 2:20 pm Thursday, October 21, 2010

The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.

Herbert Spencer

You may have heard the philosophy, Live for the moment. The thinking goes something like this: yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not guaranteed, so live for today.

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Although it sounds good, its not a very practical way to live your life. I think the logic breaks down in the notion that tomorrow is not guaranteed to us. That may be true as far as it goes, but it is a very short-sighted philosophy.

Sure, there are no guarantees in life, but there is a very high likelihood that you will live to see tomorrow, and the day after that, and many, many more days after that.

In other words, theres a good chance youll live a long, long time, so youd better be doing everything you can now to improve the quality of your future life.

Life is a continuous series of here-and-now moments. This current moment, during which youre reading this page, is one. All those moments that led up until now were, in their time, here-and-now moments. And each of the remaining moments in your life will be its own here-and-now moment.

Many of your here-and-now moments are spontaneous, seemingly unrelated to anything that has gone before. But how you think and act now can have a profound impact on the quality of many of those future moments.

Many older people have learned this concept, because they have lived a long time. They could tell you that if you want to retire comfortably, you need to save now. If you want to be healthy and active twenty years from now, you need to eat healthy and exercise now. If you want to be able to look back on a life that was worth living, you need to live in a way that enriches the lives of others.

But even more important, you must have some unachieved goal or dream to reach for in order to give meaning to your present as well as your future. Keep pushing. Keep reaching. Keep looking ahead and moving ahead. It will give meaning to your life, and your here-and-now moments will be all the sweeter for it.

Excerpted from The Graduates Book of Practical Wisdom: 99 Lessons They Cant Teach in School by C. Andrew Millard, published by Morgan James Publishing, available in bookstores and online. &opy; 2008 by C. Andrew Millard; all rights reserved. For more information visit www.wisegraduate.com.