Empathy for your future self

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Empathy for your future self

2018-08-07T13:37:26+00:00 25 July 2018|Living, Self-development|

How do you visualise your future self? The same iteration of your current self, transported six hours/days/years into the future? Or a wiser, much-improved version of the today-you?

Will you be the same you?

Perhaps that’s an existential question for pondering another day (if the future you is still interested).

Let’s inspect this idea on a micro scale.

A few weeks back I was getting ready to leave and teach a yoga class, but I hadn’t allowed enough time to get ready due to completing another task (who am I kidding, this happens regularly).

I rushed into the bedroom to quickly get dressed, and there on the lowboy was a neat pile of clothes. I’d previously anticipated my future hastiness and prepared the outfit I’d need for class. What a sweet surprise. I paused to acknowledge the initiative of my past self (and took a pic) then dressed in a whirlwind and raced out the door.

future self wishes to thank past self
future self wishes to thank past self

Consideration towards your future self helps to reduce decision fatigue.

I’ve got nothing to wear.

Setting out clothes the night before is next-level preparedness. If that’s not your jam, regularly decluttering clothes will make outfits easier to assemble with less time spent rummaging through over-stuffed drawers/wardrobes.

There’s nothing to eat.

I like to soak my pre-made raw muesli overnight so that my first meal of the day is fast, tasty and nourishing. Food prep saves time and ensures your next meal will be sustaining. Shop with a grocery list. I use the simplistic app Out of Milk to add items to a shopping list, but with any note system – paper or tech – you’ll come home with all the essentials and not the extra junk that your present-time hungry self nefariously adds to the trolley.

I don’t know what to work on next.

Time management requires its own blog post (hopefully written by Alissa-of-the-future). When an hour becomes available before your next engagement, having a clear list of tasks on hand will ensure that time is spent optimally on achieving one medium task, a blitz of small tasks, or breaking down your next big task. This is far more efficient than gravitating towards that alluring rabbit hole of social media for a mindless scrolling session.

Be empathetic towards your unpredictable future self.

Now, let’s get macro.

When planning ahead to the future, do you set goals with your current mindset, or the person you visualise that you will become? Will the you of the future still want what you idealise today?

“We treat our future selves as though they were our children, spending most of the hours of most of our days constructing tomorrows that we hope will make them happy… But our temporal progeny are often thankless. We toil and sweat to give them just what we think they will like, and they quit their jobs, grow their hair, move to or from San Francisco, and wonder how we could ever have been stupid enough to think they’d like that. We fail to achieve the accolades and rewards that we consider crucial to their well-being, and they end up thanking God that things didn’t work out according to our shortsighted, misguided plan.” 
― Daniel M. GilbertStumbling on Happiness

I have a general ‘bucket list’ where I note down things I’d quite like to do. Something might spring to mind or someone might have an experience that sounds like a lot of fun, or I’ll come up with a pie-in-the-sky dream. I’ll take notes and review a couple of times a year. I don’t consider these to be ‘goals’, just ‘things I might quite like to do one day’.

I do have a few measurable goals, particularly for my business and finances, so I monitor these regularly to stay on track.

Personally, I like to theme my year with a word(s) of intention. Read about 2018 here.

Overall, my preference is to have a general direction that I’m heading in, but to be open to opportunities along the way.

Five years ago I didn’t know that what I have now is what I would want. I didn’t know this is where I’d be. Heck, I never thought I’d be a yoga teacher! If I had, I would have paid more attention to science subjects in high school.

I distinctly remember the day I realised that I didn’t have to exclusively be a graphic designer for my entire career. Even that day, I had no idea that yoga would be on the horizon for me.

Planning for the future is an interesting concept.

It’s effectively visualising an intangible state with current resources and thoughts that are limited by today’s knowledge, experiences and mindset.

Here’s another thought: If you have a goal set for the future, what’s holding you back from accomplishing it today? What are you waiting for? Could it be broken down into smaller steps which are achieved sooner?

Small actions taken today could create the propulsion that your future self will be thankful for.

“A year from now you may wish you had started today”- Karen Lamb

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