Use future-gifting to transform the link between your future and the present

It’s easy to overlook this simple reality: what you do today will shape and set up your day tomorrow and the many days after that.

Here we’ll draw together what we’ve covered in the field guide to the future. Then you’ll be introduced where in your life you can start practicing what you’ve learnt.

(If you’d like to read the field guide from the beginning, click here.)

Let’s quickly review what we’ve covered so far.

We’ve discussed some basics to get your future-thinking up and running:

  1. Change your relationship with time: shift away from short-term to longer-term thinking.
  2. Transform your relationship with your future-self.
  3. Transform your mindset.

The fourth and final part, discussed here, is a critical component: it links our thinking to action, something that is essential if we actually wish to shape and create our imagined future. 

Let’s talk now about transforming this link between your future and your present.

Hitch your future to your present

On any given day, you’ll think about the future a lot. One study estimates that for every seven hours you spend thinking, you’ll spend a full hour pondering, predicting and planning your future.

Now, this figure may come as a surprise to you – it may not. But ask yourself this: how effective is your future thinking? 

Is it trained on what’s important, rather than on what’s urgent? Does it grapple with questions that are in your gift to influence, or ruminate on forces outside your control?  Does it encourage and inspire you do things in the present to better serve yourself – and others – in the future?

Your future-thinking is something your future depends on

It’s easy to overlook this simple reality: what you do today will shape and set up your day tomorrow and the many days after that.

Your future-self is entirely dependent on you.

Now, depending on your perspective, you might interpret this as a thinly veiled threat to start doing all those things you should be doing – eating right, exercising more, buying less stuff, thinking more of those around you, putting money aside, recycling, saving the planet and so on.

It might sound as if, ultimately, you’ve only got yourself to blame if things don’t work out the way you’d like.

While, this is not entirely untrue, there is another more positive way to think about it.

Namely this: the way you think about the future should gently remind you how what you do today contributes to all the great things you’ll experience tomorrow.

The way you think about the future should remind you that your future is in your gift to shape. It should remind you that in the present, you get to help out your future-self.

And this is what lies at the heart of future-gifting.

Ok. You might be saying, where should I begin with future-gifting?

Let’s take a look at some of the areas in your personal and professional life that you might wish to explore further…

Where to apply future-gifting in your life, today

Future-gifting is an approach to the future that you can apply to almost any setting in your life – personal or professional.

From the micro of your everyday routine (that could benefit from a little fine tuning), to those career or life-defining macro-events, such as laying the foundations for your next job or choosing to move to another city or country.

Your personal and professional lives

You can apply future-gifting to any of the following personal or professional settings:

  • your immediate environment – think about improving your environment to best suit how you use you space at home and the kind of atmosphere that makes you feel most at ease.
  • your personal or professional development – think about learning a new skill such as a language or musical instrument; deepening your existing knowledge through formal or personal study, or try something new.
  • your connections to others – think about relationships with friends, family, professional connections, in your community and so forth.
  • your health – think about anything from diet to exercise to meditation.
  • your finances – money is no end in itself. Think about how money acts as an enabling resource for the things that are important to you

Apply to others

You can apply it to others to help them shape better futures:

  • your partner, children, family and friends
  • your work colleagues – those you lead, manage or as part of a project team
  • your neighbours and members of your local community

(To apply future-gifting to others is where you shift your focus onto them, rather than your relationship with them.)

Apply to the wider world

You can apply it to wider societal and global issues that you care about:

  • future-gifting the world – looking outwards to consider our contribution to and impact in the wider world
  • environmental future-gifting – apply future-gifting as a powerful lens to how you think and act on climate change

Choose your time horizon

You can apply it over a whole range of time periods:

  • to your immediate needs and wishes that might arise later today, tomorrow or this week (known as micro-gifting)
  • to your longer term-projects that could stretch out over a couple of months, years or even decades
  • to your ambitions beyond your lifetime – here, we’re talking about your legacy-gifting projects for the next generation and the generations after that

Just the beginning of your journey

We hope that you’ve enjoyed the field guide to the future. But this isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning.

This gives you just a glimpse of future-gifting’s possibilities.

5 fresh takes on your future

We are here to support you in your journey into the future. And this is why we’ve put together a free guided micro-gifting challenge. This challenge will guide you through 5 fresh takes on your future. It will help you to put these ideas in practice in an easy and fun way, right away…