Going Forward By Going Backward

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“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” — Winston Churchill

There are many books on the market that teach us how to “be in the present moment.” Yet first we must learn to visit the future. How might our present lives take on new meaning if we think backward from what we envision for the future?

The best way to plan ahead and reduce stress is to go backward.

When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” — John M. Richardson Jr.

That’s right. I said, “Go forward by going backward.” You see, to create a powerful life or supercharge your business, you have to experience your future right now. See it; feel it; be in it. Then go backward to the present.

I’m not proposing that we all pretend we’re psychics or enlist their help to foretell our future. We don’t need others to tell us our future.

By faith we can take hold of the future God has for us. We can take stock in His plans for us, plans “of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). By trusting God for these plans right now, you can make an action plan for how to get there!

When I was a young child growing up in a very small town in rural Pennsylvania, I worked on the family farm as well as other farms and went to school in a one-room schoolhouse (believe it or not, one-room schoolhouses still existed when I was a kid). I walked to school each day, no matter what the weather, and when I got there, I had the opportunity to learn at my own pace. This open-classroom style allowed this young first grader to hear the teacher teaching second-grade and third-grade lessons as well. This environment helped me to develop a thirst for learning.

Although my family had very limited means and my mom sewed all of my clothes, I sat in that simple one-room schoolhouse and dreamed of a future in which I was a successful businessman, reading and learning from as many books as I ever wanted, and leading and motivating others.

Thanks to wonderful teachers and that one-room schoolhouse’s open-learning environment, I went on to graduate from college. My career path took me to various positions within the petroleum, marine, and outdoor recreational vehicle industries and later to become president of a major U.S. division of a multi-national outdoor power equipment company.

Wherever you are in your life and career, you can take hold of God’s promises, dream big, and take action in the present to make your dream happen.

The young boy named David who sat in that one-room schoolhouse in homemade clothes is living proof that if you set your mind to your goals, you can acomplish them.

Go forward by going backward.

Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. —Charles Spurgeon

We must trust God today, and leave the morrow entirely with Him. The present is ours; The future belongs to God. — E. M. Bounds

Life must be understood backwards. But… it must be lived forwards. — Søren Kierkegaard

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Your Turn

What future did you once dream for your life? Where are you now? If nothing can separate you from God’s love and His plan for your life (Romans 8:38–39), then what are you afraid of? How can you trust God with your future more completely today? We would love to hear from you! Please, come join the conversation on our blog! ~ Devotionals Daily

David Zerfoss

A leader with an innate talent to touch, move, and inspire others, David Zerfoss lives his purpose of "empowering others to create powerful futures." He leads the Zerfoss Group, which consults with think tanks, major corporations, and entrepreneurs. As an executive-in-residence at Queens University McColl School of Business in Charlotte, North Carolina, he enjoys sharing transformational thinking and leadership insights with aspiring MBA and executive MBA students.

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