Exploring Human Potential

7 & 7: Future vs. Past


To be committed to the future means to be committed to a world you cannot see. To make the chore more challenging, it is difficult to see where the growth will come, both good and bad. If we could see it would be a simple chore to squish the bad seed and nurture the good. But absent the ability to predict we are left to live our lives in one-day increments, knowing that this afternoon we will know more than we did this morning. The future will arrive without our prodding, without our overplanning for a rainy day. And to dwell on an imagined tomorrow almost always compromises our handling of today. The best we can do is consider the lessons of the past and see if they apply to present circumstances. We live forward, but understand backward, turning to the older, the wiser, to stories and tales, taking only what will help, not dwelling on the grief of past losses and mistakes, not passively supplanting our own opinions with those of a vanishing generation. The present is not still. It has a forward motion that you must adjust for. Otherwise you will be chronically behind. For in the instant between assessment, decision, and action, the world has not stood still but hurtled forward. Tomorrow is in our hands, quite different than today. The time between is filled with advice for us to critically assess, both old and new. Neither old nor new deserves a free ride.


One must care about a world one will not see.
Bertrand Russell

If you can look into the seeds of time and say, which grain will grow, and which will not, speak then to me.
Shakespeare ‘Macbeth’

The future comes one day at a time.
Dean Acheson

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.
Swedish proverb

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
Albert Einstein

Predominant opinions are generally the opinions of the generation that is vanishing.
Benjamin Disraeli

It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
Winston Churchill

Don’t brood on what’s past, but never forget it either.
Thomas H. Raddall

Life can only be understood backward. It must be lived forward.
Soren Kierkegaard

What’s gone and what’s past help
should be past grief.
Shakespeare, ‘The Winter’s Tale’

Some people are making such thorough preparation for rainy days that they aren’t enjoying today’s sunshine.
William Feather

Skate to where the puck is going and not where it’s been.
Wayne Gretzky

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes in to us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands and hopes we’ve learnt something from yesterday.
John Wayne

Time gives good advice.
Maltese proverb

There are two kinds of fools: one says, ‘This is old, therefore it is good’; the other says ‘This is new, therefore it is better.’
Dean William R. Inge

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