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To explain this better, let me introduce you to a friend and collaborator who knows a lot about the ways the future gets imagined. The Lab Where Worlds Collide The campus of the University of Southern California is in downtown Los Angeles. The school is known for many things, but its film program is probably its biggest claim to fame. George Lucas, Ron Howard, and a long roster of A-list filmmakers plied their craft there, making the school a draw for young filmmakers and storytellers. My car dropped me off in front of Shrine Auditorium, with its delicately colored windows and Moorish-revival spire. I talked with Michelle repeatedly regarding her mother's real intentions, but she always changed the topic. Michelle's mother's health was being worse with each passing day. One day Michelle's mother called her and invited Michelle to visit her. Michelle continued to tell her mother I will come next week, and she continued to do that for two months. After two months, Michelle received a call from her mother's number. Michelle answered the call, thinking that it was her mother, but the call was from her mother's neighbor. The neighbor was her mother's best friend, and her mother used to spend a good deal of time with her neighbor. The neighbor told Michelle that her mother is not more, and she is dead. Upon hearing this news, Michelle started to cry, and she headed towards her mother's home. Once her mother's burial ceremony was completed, the neighbor handed a letter to Michelle. When you stop thinking from your habitual IC mind, you interrupt what you have taken for granted for your whole life as normal. As the old thinking gets dismantled, the memories to which your IC assigned her automatic meaning will also be dismantled. Your memories will now not hold the same emotional charge as they once did. You will be able to look back on these memories, and recognize the life lessons that these memories provided, and the wisdom you gained in having those experiences.

When you practice Dethroning Your Inner Critic on a daily basis, you will be able to look back on who you were when your IC was in charge of your mind, and it will seem like another lifetime ago. When you access a new part of your mind, you have the power to reinvent and design a new life. The unknown and unpredictability of life is what drives your IC mind crazy. She doesn't know what's going to happen, how it's going to go, how you're going to feel, which direction life is going to take. And she hates it! She wants to stay comfortable, which is all about predictability. The theater has hosted all the most prestigious awards ceremonies, including the Grammys, the Oscars, and the Emmys. Like so many buildings near and on the USC campus, it's surrounded by towering palm trees that call to mind Hollywood royalty. Around the corner from the auditorium is the Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, named for Robert Zemeckis, who directed films like Back to the Future and Forrest Gump. I went inside to find Alex McDowell, a professor at USC and head of the so-called World Building Media Lab. I figured if I'm going to talk to you about ways to think about the future, it would make sense to hear from someone whose very job is to tell stories about the future. That's what Alex does. Among his many accomplishments, he designed the world for the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report and the 2013 reboot of Superman, Man of Steel. The weather in Southern California is always sunny and pleasant, and this day was no different. I found Alex in his World Building Media Lab, filled with miniature models of space stations, futuristic buildings, and the like, as well as lots and lots of enthusiastic students. Hey, BDJ, Alex said, waving me into his office. This letter was from Mitchell's mother. Upon reading the letter, Michelle continued to cry over and over. Her mother wrote, Michelle when you read this letter, I might not be alive. I want to tell you that you are very important to me.

You are closest to my heart. I know while I was alive, I have bothered you too much by being overly protective. Sweetheart, my life was completed when you came into my world. I want you to remember these words that your mom always loved you and will love you no matter where I am. Take good care of yourself since your mama won't be with you now. These words made Michelle cry constantly for days. That is the survival mode. But possibility actually lives outside your comfort zone. Accessing your Authentic Self can change the lens through which you experience and embrace change. Step Six: Embrace Life Outside Your Comfort Zone Most people never fulfill their dreams because they're unaware of their IC's deeper commitment: keeping them inside their comfort zone. This is why most people live, at best, a fine life when they are ruled by their ICs. In their relationships with themselves, their careers, their life partner, their children - nothing is great, but it's fine. Normal life, for them, means that the limited feelings inside the comfort zone are as good as it's going to get. Moments of bliss are few and far between. The ongoing work of Dethroning Your Inner Critic, however, is about living an entire life of bliss. Alex is from England and has the kind of accent that makes everything he says sound profound and brilliant. Often what he's saying is profound and brilliant, but even when he's just telling you where the bathroom is located, it can sound like deep, personal advice. I want to talk about imagining the future, I said after the usual exchange of pleasantries. Well, you've come to the right place, he said with a laugh.

Imagining the future is precisely what we do here. He gestured toward a nearby workstation, where a group of students were huddled over a model of what looked like an underwater metropolis. My sentiments exactly, I said. That being said, there's a difference between imagining a science fiction movie future and imagining the real future. You couldn't be more right, Alex agreed, leaning back in his chair. Over his shoulder I could see palm trees against a backdrop of bright blue sky. She frequently said why I did not understand my mom and why I did not forgive her for being too protective. How can I say I am sorry mom. How can I say forgive me now since she is gone? She met me and continued to say that she cannot forgive herself for whatever she has done with her mother. She said that she waited when her heart wanted to ask for forgiveness from her mother. She told her ego made her wait rather than asking for forgiveness from her mother because she did not understand her real intention behind being too protective. Dear Readers, through this story, I just want to tell you that don't wait for the correct time to forgive someone or ask for forgiveness. Nobody in the world knows how long the person can live. It is best to forgive or ask for forgiveness because you don't want to live life in regret. Forgiveness holds power to ease your soul and help you to let go of being judgmental. And that means continually pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. As you move closer to the edge of your comfort zone, where everything is no longer balanced and normal, you will feel the survival mechanism of your IC hard at work trying to preserve the status quo. The edge of the comfort zone is the edge of the unknown and the unfamiliar. She's going to resist.

Major transitions, like becoming a mother, or getting a divorce, changing careers, or having a child who is struggling emotionally, will bring you completely outside of what is familiar and predictable. But if you look back on those times in your life where you were in transition or change, you might be able to see how it went: it started out as predictable and normal, then went to off-center, then onto the edge of the unknown, then out into the complete unknown, and then back to normal. Can you think of examples in your own life? I have a client who lost her entire life savings because her then-husband embezzled all of their finances in a Ponzi scheme. Talk about needing to embrace life outside of your comfort zone! She had to be willing, with a lot of support, to sit in the discomfort of the unknown for many years and continue to take actions that were in alignment with her new life. The point of science fiction movies is to tell a good story. That brings in the audiences, which makes the money, which keeps the studio execs happy. Science fiction, like all of Hollywood, is about making money. Fortunately for us, creating thrilling stories is good for business. People like excitement, they crave it. The business point is so true, I said. When people watch movies about the future, they need to remember that what they're watching is entertainment. It was created with the sole purpose of getting people to part with their $13. Right, Alex said. And listen, there's nothing wrong with that. The practice of forgiveness will bring joy, peace, fulfillment, and freedom from the burden of painful memories and energies. Whenever you think about not forgiving someone or forgiving yourself for whatever happened, you give yourself the emotions of anger, hate, resentment, unhappiness. These emotions will destroy your peace of mind. I want to clear one misunderstanding that people have regarding forgiveness.