Vision of the Future

When the news fills our hearts with a sense of despair for humanity, I find the best response is to actively envision a positive future to believe in.

We can’t know the future, but we can – and do – believe in it. And if we don’t actively design the one we believe in, the world will design one for us, with all of its personal agendas and bad news and ominous portends and fears.

The way we operate today is very much a product of what we believe about the future. If we believe the end is nigh, then it doesn’t matter what we do today. But if we believe in a future that is better than today, we act to make it happen.

So I say the future is going to be better than today. I believe humanity is going to get to a place where we talk through our difficulties; where we are all meaningfully, emotionally connected enough to recognize when one of us is out of balance; where we recognize that the thought of intentionally hurting another human being is cause for getting serious help.

Maybe most fundamentally, I believe in a future where humanity recognizes that all human beings are indeed human beings, and are to be treated as such, regardless of the circumstances. With respect and care and compassion.

And all it’s going to take to get there is a little skill-building.

We need to learn how to reach out to people we disagree with, with honest curiosity and empathy. We need to learn how to ask good questions and listen to the answers. We need to learn how to set the tone for meaningful communication, and how to reduce the tension of conflict.

Just as importantly, we need to get better at understanding ourselves. Recognizing our own emotions and knowing how to use them. Knowing how to organize our thoughts and how to communicate what we believe.

And crucially, before any of this skill-building can begin, we just need to decide to do it.

And this is something we all can do. Today.

What do you think? What is your vision of hope for the future? Share your thoughts below, and help add to the mix of positivity.


  1. Bethany on October 3, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Lovely. Thank you for encouraging the hopeful outlook.

    • Pete Machalek on October 3, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Absolutely, Bethany. Thank you for your adding to it!

  2. Lori on October 4, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Great message! We need to be the change we want to see in the world.

    • Pete Machalek on October 4, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Well put, Lori! Plus, we get to be the change we want to make.

  3. Dean Hyers on October 4, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I’d like to add to this, this post that I agree with. There’s another side to this, called acceptance. In my view, we’re not yet an accepting culture. We lean toward fear and loathing of that which is different. When tragedies happen, the hypothetical offender may not have seen a way to be accepted for what he was going through, which was real to him. And he might not feel that he could reach out for the help he might need – for fear of being cast out – a conviction that he would not be accepted.

    We need to pursue ways to communicate acceptance and make room for what we want to work with.

    I was just told the story by a woman of a man who shared a deep dark secret with her, that would surely have banished him from whatever tribe he perceived himself belonging to. She accepted him WITH his darkness, and did not shun him for his truth, and this man has since voiced “feeling healed” and is deeply indebted to this woman for accepting him as he was.

    If we are to pursue the better place, as the post describes, we must also embrace the dark truths that one would need to “work with in advance” in order to get the help and curb the tragedies yet to come. My challenge to any who read this: What can you accept?

    Given my guess at which tragedy inspired this post, had this man had a place to go, where he could be accepted for the dark motivation he must have had, acceptance may have allowed someone to work with him and find another way. In SagePresence terms, embrace the not-so-happy beginning if you want to do the work of climbing to a higher, better place.

    Writers say, “We all love the heroes we write, but to write a good script you have to love your villain even more.” I think there’s room for that in these stories of life that could be written and lived into.

    • Pete Machalek on October 4, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Wise words, Dean. Sounds like grist for a whole new post!

  4. Julie Woodbury, PhD on October 6, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you, Pete, for your touching and perceptive post. As one who firmly believes that we, as peoples, are only as strong as our weakest link (of which there are currently many), I would also like to call out the importance of the willingness to do the hard work of reaching out, building coalition, and acting. Acting is paramount here. We may be reluctant to do that which needs to be done, but we have to get past that reluctance. If we don’t act — who will?

    • Pete Machalek on October 6, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Julie. I think this is true both from a socially health viewpoint and a personally healthy viewpoint. Each one of us is so much better off it we are acting to improve our situation instead of sitting back, hoping someone else will do the difficult work of reaching out across the divide looking to connect and understand.

  5. Larry Collette on October 6, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    great thoughts the big word for future relationships is RESPECT!
    Thank you for your posts.

    • Pete Machalek on October 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Agreed, Larry. And by the way, respect can be a one-way road. Too many of us don’t consider reaching out unilaterally unless they feel confident it will be returned in kind.

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