It is far more important for man to know whom he wants to become than who he is now”

Everyone wants to feel good, everyone wants to thrive, yet many people don’t know how to make this happen. Future Directed Therapy (FDT) is a whole new approach to improving how we function, based on the idea that because we can only move forward in time, we can only fully be understood as beings continuously in the process of becoming. The “future” in Future Directed Therapy is not necessarily far off in time; it can refer to any point in time beyond the present moment, near or far. Rather, FDT is about understanding that because we can only move forward, most of our thinking and behavior is anticipatory or future oriented.
We constantly speculate about what will happen, whether in the very next moment, tomorrow, or five years from now, and that has a huge impact on how we process information, how we feel about different situations, how we interact with our environment, and ultimately how we create our lives.
Although we often think the past dictates our behavior, the future is what really motivates most of our actions. Whether you are motivated to go to the kitchen because you anticipate eating something delicious, or you are motivated to save money because you want to buy a new home, or you are motivated to take any other action you could possibly imagine, you act because you expect a certain desired result.

The past is relevant only to the extent that we use it to predict the future.

A primary premise of Future Directed Therapy is that what people want (any desired future state) is the fundamental motivating force behind their behavior. Often we act to avoid something undesirable, but it is our desire to avoid the unwanted that drives our behavior. For example, if you decide not to go to an anxiety-provoking party, it is because you want to avoid an uncomfortable situation. Because we believe that the things we want will bring about some desired future state,

when we focus our thinking on what we want, we experience positive emotions.

When you think about having a positive experience in the future or getting something you want, you feel great; when you think about taking actions to avoid an uncomfortable situation, you feel relief.
However, when we focus on what we don’t want, we experience emotional distress and suffering. If instead you think about missing out on an opportunity to see your friends or disappointing the person who invited you to the party, you may feel guilt or sadness. We can have thoughts about both the wanted and the unwanted aspects of any situation. If you want to lose weight, you can think about how great it will feel when you do (wanted) or how lousy it is to give up your favorite foods (unwanted). Our minds tend to jump between wanted and unwanted situations all day long without our ever even realizing it is happening.
The key to thriving is learning to harness the mind’s natural tendency to anticipate the future so that you can focus most of your attention on what you would like to achieve. This not only brings you positive emotions, but it also activates a series of mental functions that actually increase your ability to obtain what you desire. Whenever you think about your desired future state, several solution-generating, problem-solving mechanisms in your brain kick into gear. However, when you focus on what you don’t want and you experience the resulting negative emotions, this inhibits the area of your brain responsible for these functions from working properly.
The longer you think about what you want, the harder these mechanisms work, often leading to ideas and solutions that never would have occurred to you if you had not focused on your desired future.
You must learn how to experience more positive emotions and to thrive more by focusing on what you want; it will teach you the skills you need to begin creating your future by choice. While FDT comes from the field of psychology, it is far more than just a form of therapy. It is a way to live that maximizes the full potential of all human beings to create the experiences they want.
I learned that people could make changes by modifying their thoughts and behaviors in the present moment. While I found cognitive therapy to be substantially more practical and tangible for my clients, it still left many unanswered questions about what motivated change, and clients often found that labeling their thinking as irrational, one of the common tools of cognitive therapy, seemed to invalidate their experiences.
A fundamental premise of Future Directed Therapy is that all human beings desire to thrive. In FDT thriving is defined as a dynamic state of growth and of moving forward toward improved life circumstances from wherever one is in the present. Everyone wants to thrive, though everyone has a different idea of what thriving is, based on his or her circumstances. For some people, thriving might be the opportunity to eat regular meals; for some, it might be buying a yacht; for others, it might be attaining spiritual enlightenment. Thriving is about constantly feeling you can grow, move forward, and improve your life circumstances.
It is well documented that no matter what we achieve, we are never satisfied for very long. While many explanations of this phenomenon have been offered, such as the idea that our ability to experience happiness is limited or that discontent is a moral deficiency, in FDT the constant desire to thrive and move forward is viewed as a psychological drive with a biological basis. New technological advances allowing us to study brain functioning have revealed the critical role that the area of the brain responsible for reward processing plays in our daily lives.

Rewards are the things we look forward to in the future; they are essential to our emotional well-being.

The absence of rewards leads to negative emotions, which is why the onset of many psychiatric conditions is often linked to the loss of the things people find rewarding, such as relationships or jobs. Unfortunately, people with a wide variety of emotional problems experience impairments in their brains’ ability to identify or process rewards. This may explain why, even when someone has many positive things in his life, when he is feeling down he finds it much easier to focus on the negative. Someone with an impaired reward system might have a great job but only focus on the long commute there, or easily recall a critical comment about a work project, but seem unable to hear the twenty compliments that were also given.
When the brain’s reward-processing system doesn’t operate properly, not only do people become depressed, but they also lose the desire to pursue what they want.
Even activities that may have felt exciting and rewarding before, such as going to a concert or a movie, seem like too much effort. This is because when certain neurotransmitters in the brain’s reward-processing center, particularly dopamine, are low, this condition can lead us to overestimate the costs associated with pursuing things that would be rewarding, making the depressed person feel as if it isn’t worth exerting the effort to obtain something wanted.Not surprisingly, when the reward center in a person’s brain is underactive, he ends up participating in fewer activities that would provide stimulation to this brain region.

Going to the concert or the movie, whether or not he felt like it, would activate this part of the brain, and he would feel better.One hypothesis in FDT is that the desire to pursue rewards and to thrive promotes the evolutionary progression of humankind.

Every human invention, from the first stone tool to the supercomputers we use today, has been driven by the desire to improve our circumstances.

In order for forward movement and thriving to continue, there must always be a difference between where we are in life and where we want to be. In FDT we believe that our desire to close this gap creates what is referred to as the need to want. Humans need to want things in order to keep moving forward. And what we want is always in the future.
We cannot move forward without exerting a want, intent, or desire. If you finish reading this page, it is because you want to do so. Each time we realize a future-oriented desire, a new desire emerges.

Every action is a choice that requires intent or desire in order for it to manifest as a physical experience.

In FDT we believe that when people feel they have the power to obtain what they want, they experience well-being.

However, when they feel they are unable to move into their desired future state, they experience distress. If you decided you wanted to go for a walk and buy ice cream, and someone told you that you had no choice but to sit in a chair and read this book until the very end, whether or not you wanted to, you would probably find this upsetting
We use a creative thought process to generate ideas about what we want, develop plans to obtain what we want, and initiate the actions needed to make our plans become reality. If you decide you want ice cream, for example, your brain immediately starts to think of ways to make this occur — you think about where to buy the ice cream, what kind you want to buy, and so forth. This process leads to planning and problem solving that increase your likelihood of realizing your desire.
In FDT we believe that people experience emotional suffering when they spend too much time thinking about what they do not want. Pretty much anything you can think of that makes you feel bad is something you don’t want. I don’t want my car to break down, I don’t want my husband to leave me, I don’t want to lose my job, I don’t want my parents to die.
It gets a bit more complex when at first you start to think about what you do want, but then you shift your focus to something you don’t want on the same subject. If you decide you want ice cream because it is hot outside and it sounds like a refreshing treat but then start thinking about the ice cream making you fat, which is an outcome you don’t want, instead of feeling good about the ice cream, you will start to feel anxious.
It is important to recognize that when you have a desire but don’t yet have what you want, this is an unwanted state. For example, if you want a relationship but don’t have one, not having one is something unwanted. Often people think they are focusing on what they want, but if they are not feeling good about it, what they are likely focusing on is the fact that they do not yet have what they want. I really want to be more organized but my house is such a mess; I get overwhelmed thinking about it. They may draw conclusions that what they want makes them anxious so they try not to think about it. But this is never the case. Negative emotions are always the result of giving attention to some unwanted aspect of a situation.

FDT teaches people to recognize that their emotions are indicators of what they’ve been thinking about.

In other words, if you are experiencing a positive emotion such as gratitude or contentment, you are focused on the wanted aspect of a subject, but if you are feeling a negative emotion such as anger or fear, it is because you are thinking about something in your life that you do not want. It is specifically this focus on the unwanted thing or situation that moves you away from a state of thriving and leads to emotional distress. If you think long enough about what you do not want in your life, you may become depressed or anxious.

In FDT people are taught to observe their feelings and to shift the focus of their thinking toward more of what they want in life.

To put it simply, FDT is about helping people to identify the process by which they create their future and to direct the process in a way that generates a greater sense of thriving and well-being. In this book you will learn how your thoughts about the future are often based on existing limiting belief systems and how to create new, more positive expectations about what the future holds. You will also learn how to better allocate your valuable resources, such as thought, behavior, and time, toward obtaining more of what you desire, by clarifying and prioritizing your wants based on what you value.

Another important skill you will learn is to define realistic goals and also to deal more effectively with the aspects of a situation that are beyond your control.

An important concept in FDT is the idea that humans grow and expand through experience, and you will learn to use those times when you do not get what you want as opportunities for growth and self-awareness.
Many of the techniques outlined here are based on what psychologists refer to as a “neurobehavioral approach,” which looks at how your brain and your behavior work together.

A good deal of research has shown that you can activate parts of your brain at will, with your attention and behavior.

While this can be challenging at first, over time you can learn to change your brain’s structures and the way it functions.10 The brain is a lot like a sophisticated computer — it can do wonderful things if you know how to use it, but if you don’t, you both miss out on its benefits and become quite frustrated. Once you know how your brain works, you can make it work for you. Many of the practice exercises in this book will help you learn the skills to purposefully generate the mental activity, and eventually the behaviors, that can turn what you want into an experience you actually live.
— Thanks to ” Think forward to thrive”

Thinking Forward is the mental process of creating a new mindset. This requires the individual to establish a starting point and then travel on a cognitive journey moving forward in a positive direction. The process is based upon constructing new mental models based on a paradox for the possibility of improvement, balanced with the understandig of what is already known. – Dr Dale deardorff




The image of the lion gives us insight into two other ways the mind might function.
The lion mind is concentrated and focused. It is calm and dispassionate, king of the jungle, lord of its domain. It ignores the bones that were so compelling to the doggy mind. Being a big cat, it demurs and stays solidly put. Having lion mind can be a helpful outcome of mindfulness meditation practice — but I do not encourage seeking this as a goal, but instead allowing it to emerge naturally and over time from practicing mindfulness.
The goal of practice is not to sit still, impervious like the lion, but to practice coming back to the present over and over again. Paradoxically, when you are least lion-like you have the most opportunities to come back to the present. This returning to the present, again and again, is the key value of mindfulness training.
Whereas if lion mind — in the form of peace and disengagement — is aimed for too early and aggressively in practice, it can be detrimental to future learning.

The instructions for mindfulness are very precise, if deceptively straightforward. Pay attention to what is happening now and, when attention has wandered from now, bring it back (and do so without rancor, regret, or recrimination).

Notice there is nothing about peacefulness, nothing even about relaxation, in these instructions. Relaxation can be a reliable by-product of practice, but it is not the goal of practice.
Becoming intimate with your mind is the goal of practice. If your mind is in fury, is agitated, is lost — that is the mind that you work with. Again, I see this as the real payoff to practice because it most resembles the mind off the cushion in day-to-day situations.
The lion mind may require conditions to support it such as a quiet place to practice, a break from urgent responsibilities, and so forth. This type of environment can be provided at a meditation retreat — a protected place to practice can be valuable. However, the drawback and limitation to this is that you, like most people, probably cannot live in a retreat environment. You probably live in a busy, chaotic world, filled with children and parents, deadlines, and responsibilities. This is the environment where you want mindfulness practice to pay dividends. Therefore, in something of a paradox, it is your familiarity and ease with the doggy mind that will help you to integrate mindfulness into the fabric of everyday life.
It is precisely by knowing doggy mind that lion mind is cultivated. This is not to diminish the value of the lion mind. The lion mind will come with continued practice and it establishes the foundation for later insights.
– Thanks to ” 80 metaphors of mindfulness ”




If you want something to be small, let it grow big first.
If you want something to be weak, let it grow strong first.
If you want something to disappear, let it expand first.
If you want to truly possess something, give up your attachment to it.
Learn to bend and you won’t break. Soft and pliable overcomes hard and inflexible.

A fish is safest hidden deep in a dark pool. Weapons are most effective if they’re never shown.

— From the book ” Everyday Tao”



Beginning anew is a very serious practice in our Sangha. We are always practicing this. “Beginning anew” means being determined not to repeat the negative things we have done in the past. A new era begins when we commit ourselves to living in mindfulness.

When we vow to ourselves, “I am determined not to behave as I did in the past,” transformation occurs immediately.

To make a fresh start like this, we need to study the Five Mindfulness Trainings, a set of real and concrete methods for living our daily life in mindfulness.

For instance, in the past we have eaten and drunk toxins unmindfully, bringing poisons into our bodies and our consciousness. Now we want to eat and drink with mindfulness. Practicing according to the Fifth Mindfulness Training is a highly effective method for cutting out food and drink that have bad effects on us and have caused us a lot of suffering.

Enlightenment, awakening, is possible for all of us. The Buddha was an enlightened person, and we all have this seed of enlightenment in us. When we get in touch with the Dharma, when we meet a Dharma brother or sister, enlightenment is happening already. Enlightenment is possible, maybe even today.

When we are enlightened, we know where to go and when to go there. If we see our path and know what direction to take, peace appears in us immediately. “I know where I am going”: this is a very important realization. Then there is no more confusion.

A participant at one of our meditation retreats was an American who had fought in the Vietnam War. This former soldier had suffered a lot. One day during the war, he found out that many of his friends had been killed by guerillas. He was overcome by tremendous anger and wanted to avenge his friends, so he put explosives in some sandwiches and left them at the entrance to a village. Some children found these tasty-looking sandwiches, and they ate them. These children writhed and screamed in pain, and finally died, right before their parents’ eyes. The young man went back to America, but that day continued to haunt him. He was unable to find peace, and he could not even stand being in a room with children. This went on for years.

When I met this man during the retreat, I told him that transformation was possible. “You killed five children, that’s a reality,” I said to him. “Each of these children is crying right now in every cell of your body. I know that. That’s why you have had no peace. So you must continue to look more deeply. Children are dying right now, as we speak, because of war. They are dying for lack of food and medicine at this very moment, and you can do something to help those children. Why do you remain immobilized, dwelling on your guilt and pain? You are intelligent. You know that every day forty thousand children die of malnutrition. You can do something. You can save a child, two children, five children, every day. You must find the will to live a new way. You have to make a fresh start.”

He made the decision to devote his life to helping children, and the moment he decided to live a new way, the wound in him began to heal.

Beginning anew is a wonderful practice. We can all practice beginning anew. We can always start over. With the help of deep looking, we can illuminate the present and gain a better understanding of the past. The past is within our reach, and we can transform it through meditation.

It is also possible for us to touch the future in the present moment. The future is being made out of the present, so the best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment. This is logical and clear. Spending a lot of time speculating and worrying about the future is totally useless. We can only take care of our future by taking care of the present moment, because the future is made out of only one substance: the present. Only if you are anchored in the present can you prepare well for the future.

Although we should not lose ourselves in fear of the future, we can make plans for the future if we enter into the present moment to do it. This is what the Buddha recommends. Building a Sangha, reorganizing our family, reorganizing society—these are things we need to do.

If we establish ourselves in the present moment, we understand that the past and the future are here, accessible in the present moment, and we can do these things. This is because time has the nature of interbeing.

— From the book ” YOU ARE HERE”



“What’s left to be prized?
This, I think—to limit our action or inaction to only what’s in keeping with the needs of our own preparation . . .
it’s what the exertions of education and teaching are all about,here is the thing to be prized!
If you hold this firmly, you’ll stop trying to get yourself all the other things. . . . If you don’t, you won’t be free, self-sufficient, or liberated from passion, but necessarily full of envy, jealousy, and suspicion for any who have the power to take them, and you’ll plot against those who do have what you prize. . . .
But by having some self-respect for your own mind and prizing it, you will please yourself and be in better harmony with your fellow human beings, and more in tune with the gods
praising everything they have set in order and allotted you.”

Warren Buffett, whose net worth is approximately $65 billion, lives in the same house he bought in 1958 for $31,500.

John Urschel, a lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, makes millions but manages to live on $25,000 a year.

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard gets around in the 1997 Chevy Tahoe he’s had since he was a teenager, even with a contract worth some $94 million.

Why? It’s not because these men are cheap. It’s because the things that matter to them are cheap.

Neither Buffett nor Urschel nor Leonard ended up this way by accident. Their lifestyle is the result of prioritizing.

They cultivate interests that are decidedly below their financial means, and as a result, any income would allow them freedom to pursue the things they most care about. It just happens that they became wealthy beyond any expectation.

This kind of clarity—about what they love most in the world—means they can enjoy their lives.

It means they’d still be happy even if the markets were to turn or their careers were cut short by injury.

The more things we desire and the more we have to do to earn or attain those achievements, the less we actually enjoy our lives—and the less free we are.
– From the book ” Daily Stoic”



“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”
— Mark Twain

Another great advantage of honesty is that it’s uncomplicated. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember your stories. You don’t have to keep track of the lies that you told people. Telling the truth is simple.

Johnny just didn’t feel like going to work. There was new-fallen snow up in the mountains, and he was yearning to take a day off and hit the ski slopes. The problem was that he didn’t want to use any more vacation days that month. He had a bank of sick days but only two vacation days left. So Johnny made up a little lie. He left a message for his boss early in the morning, before he would be in the office.

He plugged his nose and made his voice sound scratchy. “I’m sorry, sir. I have a terrible cold. I won’t be coming in to work today.”

Johnny grinned at his ingenuity as he piled his gear into the SUV and took off for the mountains. It was a great day of skiing. The lines weren’t long, because it was a weekday, and the sun shined brilliantly on the sparkling new powder.

Johnny stopped in at the ski lodge for a quick lunch, and his heart sank when saw a familiar face. It was his boss’s teenage son, who was on a high school skiing trip. As the young man walked toward him, smiling, Johnny’s mind raced for a plausible story to coincide with the lie he told the boy’s father that morning.

Have you been in a similar situation? Your assignment today is to journal about a time when you were caught in a lie. How did you feel?

— From the book “Achieve anything in just one year”