What Are We Building? The Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Positive Future (Part 2)

By Steven A. Hitz, Founding Director
Author of Launching Leaders

June 29, 2017

In part 1 of this blog post I discussed the importance of transmitting learning from one generation to the next. I cited some statistics that are concerning to many regarding the Millennial generation and college drop out rates, the use of video games, and young adult children still living with their parents. But rather than dwell on the difficulties they face in achieving “adulting” (remembering other generations had their own unique difficulties), I invited all generations to consider how each of our paths intertwine as we create a future together.

So now, let’s consider some Do’s and Don’ts of building a positive future together as generations:


  1. Take the time to review history and learn the lessons of past and present generations.   Lessons of ethics and culture are sometimes glazed over in a quest tobe independent and establish individuality.  I once spend some time surrounding an outdoor pizza oven with a wise priest who was pontificating upon the past.  He said his sister accused him of living in the past, to which Father William replied “I do not live in the past, the past lives in me.”  How profound; living only in the present isn’t independence.
  2. Learn how to learn. In a world where success (however you define it) includes such characteristics as perseverance, nimbleness and creativity, the sources of such traits are discovered in learning HOW to learn.  While Google provides access to instant information, planting roots a little deeper than a quick answer will allow the mind to expand and ponder and create; to amalgamate ideas, processes and solutions. Consider keeping the mind in good books, (not just articles or Google searches) to deepen the roots of understanding.  The time spent in great books might replace some of the time spent on social media and help create a better balance and understanding of what matters most in life.  English author Dorothy Sayers, in her 1948 commentary on education and learning, perhaps said it best when she penned “For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”


  1. Don’t believe a path without resistance is any path at all. The sculptured masterpiece from clay or silver for example, require molding (and to be moldable) and there is significant resistance in the process.  In metallurgy, a silversmith doesn’t just light the fire and walk away; he has to watch the process the entire time to assure the silver refining process isn’t exceeded in the slightest degree.  A silversmith will tell you that he knows when the process is completed well when he can see his image on the creation.  Life is good, but it is also hard.  The resistance we face, if we attend to it carefully, will help shape us.  It is the process of transformation and becoming.
  2. Don’t disregard timeless values.  Entering the exciting freedom of adulthood, it is natural to push against the status quo,  discover independence at nearly any cost, and live out of the box with gusto.  While “adulting” be very careful to not allow this new found freedom to create passive idleness—waiting for life to happen.  What many entering adulthood find is that without timeless values inculcated in this change of life, confusion, anxiety, frustration and grief occur.  I won’t iterate what those timeless values ought to look like, but you will know them if you consider number one of the “Do’s” carefully.  Life with direction and timeless values can still bring with it independence along with a life of meaning and congruence.  In fact, without the timeless values, the chances of living a life of wandering without peace and accomplishment are indeed high.

There is much more to say about the type of lives we are building.  Making something significant out of the rubble in our lives is highly likely IF we can apply the suggestions herein and consider how important it is to spend time wisely, allow space for creativity, and center our lives with timeless principles.  Add journaling and meditation to this process and you’ve got a formula for success.

It’s time for all of us to build a more positive future—-a holistic future—-a life of joy and meaning.

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