‘What Shall I Do With the Rest of My Life?’ Robert Fripp on Creating Your Future

There’s a recurring refrain in the self-help literature:

Do you want to succeed? Do you want to be happy? Cool! It’s simple! Just set goals and achieve them!

I’ve already posted about the flawed assumptions behind this point of view and suggested alternatives.

But we can go deeper.

Recently I discovered an online book by Robert Fripp, guitarist and creative force behind the band King Crimson. Steeped in the Gurdjieff work, Fripp approaches music as a spiritual practice.

He also points to subtle aspects of creating your future — ideas that goal setters can easily miss:

Better not to ask the future to present itself if we’re not prepared to follow where it leads.

This future will have an unexpected quality.

If we impose our wants and hopes on the future, we prevent it from speaking to us.

The creative future accords with common sense; i.e. it is practical and possible.

It is necessary to know the next step; but not the step after that.

The future may already be in front of us, but unrecognized or unacknowledged.

Better to hold the question gently, with eyes open and an available ear, than in desperation; trusting that what is necessary for us is possible and benevolent; and as available to us as we are ourselves available to our creative future.