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Life Lessons

Charles Dickens and Your Future

Charles Dickens, author of several literary classics, was born 200 years ago today.

But it’s not his classics that should concern us, especially since Mark Twain once defined a classic as “something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”

Instead, Dickens influenced us not  just in the books that he wrote, but the way in which he wrote them. In essence, Dickens invented the soap opera, the work that leaves us hanging until the next installment.

He had to write that way to make money. He got paid for each of his articles that the magazines published,  but there was never any guarantee that the magazine would buy his next piece. Dickens solved that by forcing the magazines to come back for more. He wrote his stories with cliff-hanger endings that left his readers in suspense. They wondered, “What’s next?”

“What’s next” is a key question in life. Everyone would love to know what is around the bend. What will tomorrow bring? No one can be sure, of course, but you can do something way beyond trying to predict your future. You can actually create it.

Here are four key indicators of what your tomorrows will be like.

First, what you are doing today is a strong hint of what you will be doing tomorrow. So if you want to know your future, just look at what you are doing today.

Second, if you want to do more to shape your future, then form some goals. If your target is nothing, you will certainly hit it. Forming goals can tell you where to place your focus and your energy.

Third, to reach a higher degree of shaping your future, write down your goals. The minute you write them down, they stop being daydreams.

Fourth and finally, review your goals every day. Put them in three places that you will see daily: your computer, your mirror, the refrigerator, your locker, etc.

Dickens always left his audiences wondering “What’s next?” He used this mystery to make money. By forming goals, writing them down and reviewing them daily, you can take a lot of mystery out of your future.

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