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Two-Hundred Year Thinking - Part 1 - Native American Philosophy

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

For more than a decade, I have been encouraging my clients to think 200 years in the future and the difference they want their lives to have made in the world at that time.

My first introduction to this type of thinking was inspired by Native American Philosophy.

Most Native American cultures understood the importance of sustainability and sustainable development and living in harmony with all things. Many people are familiar with the Seventh Generation philosophy commonly credited to the Iroquois Confederacy but practiced by many Native nations. Wilma Mankiller, President of the Iroquois nation said, “In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people.”

This mindset has gradually worked its way into my thoughts, and I find myself thinking about my ancestors seven generations ago. It helps me to get specific. One set of 5th great-grandparents (7 generations ago) that can I think about are Joseph (born in 1762) and Henrietta Anthony (born in 1766). They lived in Philadelphia during the early years of our nation, where he worked as a silversmith.

I also find it fairly easy to think 7 generations ahead to my 5th great grandchildren - as yet unnamed - who will probably be 60 or 70 years old in 2220.

I think about the world that Joseph and Henrietta lived in and about the world I want for my 7th generation descendants as I make decisions in my life.

I encourage you to start integrating this type of thinking into your life and your legacy planning. I think you will find it very powerful.

Tomorrow, I will talk about the long-term thinking philosophy of Benjamin Franklin.

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