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Archive for 2019

The Five-Year Letter and the World of Possibilities

When our eldest daughter, Rachel, was seven, we bought her a guinea pig for her birthday.

Wendy, the guinea pig, enjoyed an idyllic life of pellets and lettuce and was healthy from day one. She was so healthy that when she reached eight years of age I became curious.

Wendy had never been to the doctor, and though I had no idea how old she was in “guinea pig years,” I assumed she must be getting old.

I called the vet to see if there was anything we should be doing differently.

“How old is the guinea pig?” he asked.

“Eight” was my reply.

“Mr. Bryant, guinea pigs are not supposed to live past five. I have no idea what you’re doing, but I suggest you keep doing it.”

Though Wendy was with us for only a few more months, she obviously never received the memo to know she was not supposed to have lived those three extra years.

What if we were all like Wendy and didn’t know what we couldn’t do?

Why Our Thinking is So Limited

Ah, that we could be more like Wendy!

Knowing no limitations.

Simply living our lives while making the improbable possible.

It rarely seems to be that way.

The older we get the more practical we become.

The more we become set in our ways.

The more we are afraid of risking and thinking differently.

Forget “thinking out of the box.”

We’re afraid of the box.

We want to know everything and risk nothing.

We are creatures of habit and prisoners of fear.

We want to do things “after” or “later.”

It’s not safety.

It’s a slow death.

And it’s time we stopped thinking that way.

A New Way to Think

Thinking differently doesn’t just happen.

We have to resolve to think differently.

We have to resolve to do things differently.

Now by “resolve” I don’t mean New Year’s resolutions.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions.

Never have.

It’s not that I don’t like having goals and directions.

I love goals.

I love setting them and I love reaching them and setting new ones.

The reason I don’t like New Year’s resolutions is that they rarely work.

Setting a goal simply because it’s January 1 is not sufficient.

A particular date on a calendar is not a strong enough reason for deciding to do something.

Besides, I think New Year’s resolutions don’t go far enough.

I don’t think they look at the big picture.

Instead of resolutions I like the Five-Year Letter.

Write Your Way to New Possibilities

Want to try an activity that will really encourage change?

Try the Five-Year Letter.

I’ve been using it with clients for years.

It’s one of my favorite exercises.

Here’s how it works:

Write a letter to someone you know. Begin the letter: “These have been the happiest five years of my life.” Date the letter five years into the future from the day you are writing it.

Talk about any part of your life: working, learning, playing, relationships, etc. Write or type quickly. DO NOT spend time thinking about what you are writing or the feasibility of actually doing it.

Essentially, you are writing in the future about things you “did” over the last five years. This is an excellent goal-setting tool. It is effective because it allows you to talk about what you would like to do without feeling like you must first know how you’re going to do it.

Write the letter.

Do it today.

Email a copy to friend or family member and ask them to email it back to you in five years so you can see how well it worked!

Who knows?

Maybe the Five- Year Letter could be the very tool you need to begin living a life where the improbable becomes possible, a life that surprises you and those around you, a world of possibilities.

Had she been able to write, I think Wendy would have strongly recommended it.

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CTS Consulting, Inc

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Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

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