Adapted from “Sustaining Hope in Uncertain Times,” by Dane Jensen, this wonderful piece was delivered via today’s Harvard Business Review‘s Management Tip of the Day. It’s a beautiful reminder of the power of your thought. I was so joyfully surprised to how closely this relates to Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Changing Your Life. Enjoy!
When things are uncertain, it’s easy to lose hope. But allowing yourself to sink into a funk can affect you professionally and personally. To build and sustain optimism, envision a plausible, positive future.
First, write out what you are currently imagining about the future and the emotions these images provoke. Describe exactly what you are anticipating (for example, “still working from my bedroom next year”) instead of generalities (like “working from home”). Specific images, not general ideas, have the greatest impact on our internal state.
Second, imagine things have gone well for you over the next two years and write a letter to yourself from that future. Describe your life. What is going on in your work world? Personal life? The key question is: “Where will I be if (when!) things have gone well for me?” Crucially, it needs to feel optimistic but realistic.
Third, stand in that future. Vividly imagine yourself in the future you’ve described. Imagine the conversations you’re having with people around you. Imagine your sensory experiences. This thought exercise will help you clarify what exactly to hope for — the first step toward actually realizing that life for yourself.
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