Posts Tagged ‘past’

Flexible Focus #41: Your 100 year life span

by William Reed on February 17, 2011

The timeline of life

You periodically encounter popular sayings that life ends or begins at 30, or at 50, depending on the attitude and experience of the person saying it. It is a poor and arbitrary perspective really, and let’s face it, sour grapes living produces sour grapes sayings. Yet there are many people who lose the plot of their life somewhere along the way.

If you look closely there is a plot, and although life’s drama unfolds differently for each person, there are underlying themes that are remarkably consistent in a meaningful life.

This has been summarized by various philosophers in the past. Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living, suggesting that the way to find worth or value is through deep reflection. Confucius described the timeline of life as embarking on studies at the age of 15, gaining knowledge and skills by the age of 30, removing all doubts by the age of 40, knowing your Mission or Heaven’s voice by the age of 50, following your intuition by the age of 60, and gaining full mental freedom by the age of 70. He died at the age of 72, so presumably there may have been more to the story.

Many cultures establish rites of passage at different ages and stages. Let’s look at the full picture using the Mandala Chart.

Your entire life in Mandala perspective

The originator of the MandalaChart system Matsumura Yasuo created a framework using the 8×8 B-style Mandala Chart, called the 100 Year Life Span. He said that, “The past can be changed, and the future is fixed.” How can this be? Commonsense tells us that you cannot change what has already happened, and that no one can say for sure what is coming. However, using the Mandala Chart you can reframe what has happened, and you can pre-frame what is coming.

Starting wherever you are, you can place your life in the perspective of a hundred years. It is certainly possible to live to be 100. There are estimated to be around 450,000 centenarians living in the world today, and a UN Demographic survey predicts that by the year 2050, the world will have over 2.2 million centenarians.

Of course the value of a life is not measured merely in its length between birth and death, but rather in the quality of the dash in between, an idea immortalized by Linda Ellis in her now world famous poem, The Dash.

However, despite your best efforts to make the most of each moment, until you take the 100 year perspective, there are some things that you simply cannot see clearly. The 100 Year Life Span Mandala Chart can help you gain clarity from that perspective.

It takes a good 90 minutes to several hours to thoughtfully fill it out, but that is a small investment of time compared to the perspective it gives you. Think of it as climbing a mountain to the summit of your life, and getting the view of everything below. You owe it to yourself to go there at least once, and if possible at least once a year.

Approaching the 100 Year Life Span Mandala Chart

There is a method for approaching the mountain of your life. We begin by defining 8 periods of life, the DREAM Years (0~19), TRAINING Years (20~29), CREATIVE Years (30~39), REFLECTIVE Years (40~49), MISSION Years (50~59), DEDICATION Years (60~69), REALIZATION Years (70~up), and FULFILLMENT Years (100). These can be interpreted as you like, but largely correspond to the stages of how we find and follow our path.

You do not gain perspective by filling it out like a linear timeline. Instead you start where you are now in your life, making notes in key words and phrases for the 8 fields of life (Health, Business, Finance, Home, Society, Personal, Study, and Leisure), for your current age and stage of life.

In other words, you start in the middle, not at the beginning. Next you go back to the beginning DREAM Years (0~19) and do the same from memory for the 8 fields of life in each stage up to your current age and stage. Then you fast forward to the FULFILLMENT Years (100), and fill out the key words and phrases from the 100 year perspective. Lastly you work back by filling in the stages in between, which will take you from your present stage to the stage of FULFILLMENT. In this sense, you begin with the end in mind, and pull yourself toward it, based on a full appreciation of where you are now, and where you have come from.

Whether you start this process young and unsure of your future, or mature and with greater perspective, pursue this process with hope and enthusiasm. It will help you navigate and appreciate your life in full flexible focus.

The purpose of this process is not just to record the biographical details and make commonsense projections. Instead, it is to radically review and comprehensively revive your life in 8 fields and 8 phases. If that seems overwhelming, it will be less so once you have taken the first step, and done it for the 8 fields of life in your current 10 year phase.

Help yourself then help others

The world is full of people trying to save others, when they cannot even save themselves. Physician, heal thyself. If you want to help others with this process, first learn to help yourself. You will understand the process better, and be better able to give others appropriate and useful advice.

If you know someone who has lost the plot of their life, or has ended up in deep trouble in one or more of the 8 fields of life, then chances are it is partly because they have never taken the time to gain a balanced perspective, or really consider the consequences with flexible focus. It may not be easy to sort things out, but improvement in one area will have a significant and positive effect on the other areas of their life as well.

And if you want a boost in gaining the energy and attitude to live your 100 Year Life Span in a healthy, passionate, and prosperous way, read Dr. Eric Plasker’s The 100 Year Lifestyle, and The 100 Year Lifestyle Workout. Ultimately it is our lifestyle, the choices we make and the processes that we pursue every day which makes everything come out in the end. If you think, choose, and act wisely, then you will not only lead a higher quality life, but the legacy you leave may well last beyond a hundred years.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you are an iPad User, the current version of the MandalaChart for iPad App is now available for free in the App Store under Apple iTunes, and I have created a 100 Year Life Span B-Chart for this App in English, for which you can e-mail me to request a copy with the words [100 Year Life Span Mandala Chart for the iPad App] in the subject line. Otherwise you can download it here as an Excel Chart

Past is NO way to the Future

by Guy Ralfe on March 24, 2010

In many aspects of life we look to the past performance to gauge the expected future performance. Not to be confused with the warning label on all financial institution advertisements “”Past performance is no indication of future returns”. Ironically though, every financial product sold is positioned based on its past performance. We see this reference to the past particularly in sports, where carefully compiled statistics are processed and constantly fed back during commentaries. In hiring interviews people are often asked how they handled a past situation to get an indication of what could be expected in the future.

Of particular memory was the New England Patriots winning streak in the 2007 NFL season where they won 18 straight games leading up to the Super Bowl. Their past record had been perfect up to that point and it was hard to believe that it wouldn’t continue through the Super Bowl game. I can remember the optimism and near certainty going into the game (even though I knew nothing about the sport of Football having been brought up on Rugby) just based on the historical performance. Unfortunately that Super Bowl was not to be for the Patriots.  Up to the point of losing the Super Bowl game, the historical statistics had been brandished around with such hype in the media, news and commentary, then suddenly they became obsolete and no longer relevant and the world immediately moved on. At times the statistics seem to appear as certainties/facts and you see the future as such.

What we tend to forget is that even though it is the Patriots playing there are some fundamental changes taking place between the games that from an objective point of view would not have us so focused on these statistics of the past to predict the future. The patriots only made up half the game, the New York Giants had also fought their way through to the Super Bowl and rightfully had their statistics to call upon.

This applies directly to business also, just because a situation turned out one way has little to no bearing on the next situation unless it is identical – has all the same players, having the same concerns and ambitions. What we can do however is learn from the experience and keep it in our background as we navigate our way through similar situations. The distinction is that the statistics/ past experiences/ history are kept in our background and should not become the lens through which we navigate our future situations.

This leads me to share an experience just recently where Himanshu Jhamb and I were collaborating on one of our upcoming Active Garage projects. A clear request had been made of me via email to perform some functional testing. Himanshu inquired on my progress to which I replied something like “ Previously when I have offered my help or provided feedback I had been passed over  so I did not feel it was urgent to partake in this request or that any input would be considered so I haven’t done any testing”.  Thankfully Himanshu set me straight by saying “ Guy! you are speaking a number of things not mentioned in the email but clearly they are in your head…” It was only at that point that I suddenly realized that I was looking through the lens of the past in approaching the future and this severely hampered my ability to make an objective assessment and my actions were not appropriate for the situation – the stats suddenly became useless!

Keep the past as knowledge to reference, then deal with the situation at hand working with the future in mind. This way you can build respect, trust and opportunities.

Why just TGIF? Why not TGIM?

by Himanshu Jhamb on July 20, 2009

tgimEver wonder why you feel all peppy and refreshed to ‘live and let go’ on Friday evenings and tired and weary on Sunday nights?

How come you never see a facebook status that says “Oh god! Not a Friday again!” or why we don’t have an acronym or a food chain called TGIM?

Here’s a hint: Its got something to do with your thoughts about your immediate future. We, as humans, do not live in our past (though our thinking is surely shaped by our past), neither do we live in the present (which we ought to!); instead, we live in our immediate future… and that’s what shapes our thoughts and feelings.

I’d like to share a story of my childhood, to put things in perspective. I grew up in India and consider myself very fortunate to have lived with my grandparents through my childhood. At that time (this is about 3 decades ago), there used to be many electricity cuts during the hot Delhi summer nights (read 90+ degrees Fahrenheit) and we used to come outside on the front yard with folding beds (something like folding chairs – only, they are beds, instead) hoping for some refreshing breeze. My grandmother, seeing the suffering me and my younger sister were going through, invented a game which she claimed would bring the breeze! Here’s how:

In her own words:

If you keep on naming cities in India that end with the name “pur” – like Jaipur and Udaipur, and keep going, you’ll feel the breeze blow.

I bet you’re thinking: How could this work? Well… it did! Or it least we felt it did! So, what really happened? My grandmother somehow knew that our suffering would be taken care of if we are engaged in a story that helps us think that we can create a better immediate future (the breeze blowing), for us.

Now, apply this to whatever it is you do for a living… you might be an entrepreneur, a business owner or an employee… ask yourself, what story are you in about the future possibilities you see for yourself? Do you see how you can get that ‘cool breeze’ to blow or do you just see it as a mundane task and wait for TGIF!

If you answer this questions honestly, you just might invent 6 more acronyms other than TGIF… or at least take action to move towards creating them!