Future Factors

Posted: February 24, 2011 in Deeper Things
Tags: ,

You probably think about the future a lot. Anybody would. It’s the picture you’re looking forward to, and the hope you put your desire and faith into. Without a future, the relevance of today becomes so minimal, that it wouldn’t matter what you did, felt, thought, or said. Your future needs today, and today needs your future. Both are necessary to ensure progression in your life.

Some would argue it doesn’t matter what happens today, the future is ‘set’, you can’t change it, you have no power over it.  That’s one way to look at it. It’s an unfortunate way to look at it. Well, at least that’s MY point of view. To have no part in the creation of the future, renders all you do today completely void. I know it to be true that there’s no greater influence on your tomorrow than you. This is why I say:

The story of tomorrow is just the dried canvas of what you painted today.

Action determines the outcome. The statement above is just an illustration of this. What you paint now, will eventually dry, and become a defined entity that will be seen by all, good or bad. As the artist, you must have the vision! Yes, there are surprises, exceptions to the rule…but it’s important you go through life knowing that you can and are already paving the way to your future.

Are there other factors? Is it you alone that decides where you end up? Of course not! I recently read a book called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. He argued (quite convincingly) that there are stories behind the stories of success, that revolve around the environment, the history, even the year – and in some cases the month – of birth, as influences on a person’s success. It details how being intelligent is not all there is, that events surrounding your current era can help or even direct where you go, that awareness of your surroundings can sometimes play a much bigger role than what you actually do!

Some of my acquaintances (God bless them) felt the book was quite problematic, in that it seemed to be “telling me that I can’t be a success unless these things happen to me”. I could see their point. All the talk of dates and influences and social structures would definitely leave you feeling like “that will never happen to me”. It’s the same with some successful people we know (you know, the one you’re secretly jealous of! Come on don’t lie to us!!), we look at them and think, “Man if only that happened to me… That door would never open for me… Why isn’t it me up there?”

But something hit me. Apart from starting a sentences with the word “but”, there’s a MASSIVE problem in the way we think when it comes to a fruitful life. We look at the successful and how their lives are going. I don’t know many people who are aware of their OWN lives! You see, it is true that the factors surrounding your life are many, but they are also UNIQUE TO YOU!! What am I saying? It’s easy to look at the story of Bill Gates, and recognise the elements of his life that cannot be duplicated, then come to the conclusion that you can never be the “next Bill Gates” (which is true). Very easy. However, do you realise that there are things happening within and around you that cannot be duplicated by anyone else? Your very own life is full of events that cannot be imitated. People you’ve met, experiences you’ve had, the decisions you’ve made… All of them adding up to the path you’re taking right now! Think about it.

I started asking, whats unique about my life? What are the elements within and around me that set me apart? I call these elements the future factors, because they may not seem to add up now, or make sense yet, but they are absolutely vital to your future and how it turns out. Just like the statement earlier statement, “.The story of tomorrow is just the dried canvas of what you painted today”, this next statement is also true:

The atmosphere determines the way in which your paint will dry.

If you put a painting in the sunlight just after you’re finished, the drying process goes smoothly. If you put it in the rain, well it will take a little longer, you might need to do a few touch-ups, and maybe there’s a chance of the paint running and blurring your borders a little bit. Right? OF COURSE NOT! In the rain, your painting is ruined!! There is no repairing it, only picking up a new canvas and starting again! All the ‘atmospheric influences’ you experience today, in conjunction with your decisions, choice of responses and attitudes…all of these mould into one massive work of art called your future!

What kind of atmosphere do you live in? Is it helping your paint dry, or is it ruining your work, your dreams? You can’t decide the weather unfortunately, all you can decide is how you position yourself. Some people get rained on, but find cover quickly. Others get rained on, and surrender to the elements, saying to themselves “Oh well, I’ll dry up eventually.” That’s true, but your painting is ruined! There are those who stay in the sun long enough to dry, and move on. Others stay in the sun too long, till the paint starts to crack. The effects may be minimal at first glance, but cracks always grow, they evolve into chips of paint falling off, and there’s no remedy for that.

Your future is waiting for you to make the right choices, and where choice is superseded, the right responses. Your current life has had many events that are unique to you. Your story of success will one day be told, and those factors will be spoken of as your advantage: the time in which you were born, the people you’ve met, the determination you had, the events around you, the social structures… etc. They are all adding up to your story, as they have for all before and after you.

Let your future play out the way you desire it. The path may not be so clear, the events leading up to it may be painful sometimes, but one thing is certain: it’s up to you!

The picture above, is a painting done on the actual ruins of a building. It’s not a ruined painting. This is someone who saw destruction, but made art out of it! Not everyone gets the perfect canvas to paint on. But we all share one thing, one choice: to paint or not to paint!

I hope you can appreciate your own future factors a little bit more, because they belong only to you!


  1. Azureceleste says:

    So many think it. Our environment makes us who we were. Operant conditioning drives us. Our histories date far beyond our birth and in turn will shape our future. We just need to look at ourselves and not everyone else. Nice post.

  2. The Maze says:

    Thank you very much Azure. Easy to be distracted by everyone els’s story instead of building our own. Whatever attitude you have, is never a problem. Only when you apply it to a goal, or a desire… Only then can you know whether you have the right attitude or not. Hope you find your way through your Maze.

  3. Rendani says:

    I like the statement:”The story of tomorrow is just the dried canvas of what you painted today.” Its so true hw our actions today determine our tomorrow, but I never thought of it the way you put it here…we spend so much time focused on otha people, trying to be like them so much so we loose track of who we are,we forget,we are unique!

    • The Maze says:

      We are unique! Each maze has a different pattern. A different route. If it didn’t, I could just copy someone else and be fulfilled…but you can’t superimpose their route onto your unique maze! Sometimes where they have have straight line, you have a wall!
      We can learn, however, principles from other people. Like, how to survive the dry seasons, what kind of thoughts to maintain…but in the end, the use of those lessons is totally at your discretion.

      You are unique Rendani, Hope The Maze can help you on your unique journey!

  4. Tshepiso says:

    The metaphor of the painting and the surrounding environment within which the canvas dries, neatly summarized the thoughts explained in this note, bringing understanding. I really liked the word-picture.

    This is an excellent piece.

    A renewed perspective to painting and the canvas of life 🙂 has been gained!

    Well done & thanks for sharing!

    • The Maze says:

      The painting and canvas metaphor almost didn’t make it onto the page, believe it or not. Yet, it was what started the post, the phrase: The story of tomorrow is just the dried canvas of what you painted today. I’m glad that it proved to be a worthy unifying agent to the whole picture (no pun intended…though it’s cool it was there!)

      The Maze is excited to have people find meaning in these words.
      More Mazings to come!

  5. Tawanda says:

    Thanks for this one …you have just used nice paint to paint a picture of my tomorrow…thank you.
    Now when is it too much control…because there are some people who really try and organise their lives and control things in their lives to such an extent that even wen they are dead they are still in control of things…sounds weird but true story. Because wen u listen to many people’s success stories it sounds so perfect as if they are so good at manipulating and navigating through lives you know…wen do we say this is enough and where is the place of GOD …am sorry for making this sound a little religious but thats my query!..thank you

    • The Maze says:

      Hey Tawanda!
      What a lot of people don’t realise, is that the success story you SEE is not where the success HAPPENED! The success came in situations and opportunities that occured, and the individual’s responses to those situations. What you are seeing is just the natural consequences of those decisions and opportunities. The “fruits” if you like…
      Nobody can determine what opportunity comes their way. That job would be left to GOD! How else would doors open? Or how did you happen to be in the same room with the person that would open doors for you later in life? None of that is in your power, all YOU have is the power to RESPOND…

      At least that’s how The Maze sees it.

      And also, The Maze does not mind you ‘sounding religious’…

  6. […] much more plays out in aid or detriment to your future. (You might want to check out my post “Future Factors” for more on this) There are always more and more ‘players’ to consider in today […]

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