Quotations reflecting on the future, sometimes in relationship to the present and past.

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The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.

— Abraham Lincoln

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country … corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow.

— Abraham Lincoln

I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.

— Abraham Lincoln

For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, ‘Now, I’ve arrived!’ Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.

— Alan Watts

No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.

— Alan Watts

We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.

— Alan Watts

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live. The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

— Albert Einstein

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

— Albert Einstein

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.

— Albert Einstein

I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.

— Albert Einstein

History teaches everything, even the future.

— Alphonse de Lamartine

Future shock … the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.

— Alvin Toffler

Our ancestors derived less from life than we do, but they also expected much less and were less intent on controlling the future. We are of the arrogant generations who believe a lasting happiness was promised to us at birth. Promised? By whom?

— Amin Maalouf

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

— Anaïs Nin

I have very strong feelings about how you lead your life. You always look ahead, you never look back.

— Ann Richards

To the highest leadership among women it is given to hold steadily in one hand the sacred vessels that hold the ancient sanctities of life, and in the other a flaming torch to light the way for oncoming generations.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

Tomorrow belongs to those of us who conceive of it as belonging to everyone; who lend the best of ourselves to it, and with joy.

— Audre Lorde

I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.

— Beryl Markham

Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.

— Bible, Matthew 6:34

We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs.

— Bill Clinton

I don’t think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They are both just illusions that can manipulate you into thinking there’s some kind of change.

— Bob Dylan

Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.

— Bradley Whitford

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

— Buddha

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

— Buddha

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

— Charles M. Schulz

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You’re free at last.

— Charlie Daniels, written en route to the funeral for his friend, Ronnie Van Zant of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd

Let us revere, let us worship, but erect and open-eyed, the highest, not the lowest; the future, not the past!

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman

For all that has been,
Thank you.
For all that is to come,
Yes!

— Dag Hammarskjöld

Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. It will neither give you back the past, nor satisfy your other daydreams. Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now.

— Dag Hammarskjöld

Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity.

— Daniel Barenboim

If there is to be a human future, we must bring ourselves into balanced relationship with one another and the Earth. This requires building economies with heart.

— David Korten

The voice emerges literally from the body
As a representation of our inner world.
It carries our experience from the past,
Our hopes and fears for the future,
And the emotional resonance of the moment.
If it carries none of these, it must be
A masked voice, and having muted the voice,
Anyone listening knows intuitively
We are not all there.

— David Whyte, The Heart Aroused

Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.

— Dean Acheson

Shake my future push me past my complacency
my taken-for-granted my comfort zone
shake my future let me source the unimagined
be released from the sentence of the inevitable
take control, empower myself
past the dour predictions of the present
and change myself …

— Dorothea Smartt, 2012

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.

— Dorothy Thompson

A university is not about results in the next quarter; it is not even about who a student has become by graduation. It is about learning that molds a lifetime, learning that transmits the heritage of millennia; learning that shapes the future

— Drew Gilpin Faust

We need to understand ourselves in both evolutionary and psychological terms in order to plan a more rational, catastrophe-proof future.

— E. O. Wilson

The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.

— Eckhart Tolle

To look forward and not back,
To look out and not in, and
To lend a hand.

— Edward Everett Hale

Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.

— Edwin H. Friedman

When all is said and done, and statesmen discuss the future of the world, the fact remains that people fight these wars.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.

— Elie Wiesel

For one who is indifferent, life itself is a prison. Any sense of community is external or, even worse, nonexistent. Thus, indifference means solitude. Those who are indifferent do not see others. They feel nothing for others and are unconcerned with what might happen to them. They are surrounded by a great emptiness. Filled by it, in fact. They are devoid of all hope as well as imagination. In other words, devoid of any future.

— Elie Wiesel

In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

— Eric Hoffer

In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

— Eric Hoffer

People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.

— F.M. Alexander

Binding ties are imposed not from above (by fiat of God) but from ahead. The radiant future stretches forth its arms toward us, and binds us to be willing servants to its work, willingly to accept those limitations of the individual will which are indispensable in the service of a far-off cause, a service which at the same time disciplines and ennobles the individual himself. This, to my mind, is the solution of the problem how constraint upon the self is compatible with the affirmation of the self.

— Felix Adler, (1925)

He that hath a wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.

— Francis Bacon

How can we predict what we shall want in the future, since we do not know exactly what we want at the moment?

— François de La Rochefoucauld
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