Do you regularly meet your future?
One of life’s biggest challenge is making decisions in the present that benefit your future self.
Often, people struggle to prioritize these actions because they feel disconnected from their future. Their 75-years-old self feels like a stranger, which leads to poor decision-making and negative consequences in the present.
The Consequences of Short-Term Thinking
We've all been there – choosing short-term gratification over long-term benefits.
Perhaps it was skipping studying for an exam in favor of hanging out with friends or indulging in unhealthy food instead of sticking to a balanced diet.
These decisions may provide immediate satisfaction, however it can chip away at your ‘grit muscle’ and put you in an unprepared position because of piss poor preparation.
We know the downfall of ‘instant gratification’ from the study of Walter Mischel’s Marshmallow Test.
If not, here’s a refresher.
Building an Emotional Connection with Future Self
Okay, you know satisfying instant gratification is hurting your future. How do you overcome it and stop cutting your future short.
To overcome this challenge, it is crucial to build an emotional connection with our future selves.
How? Imagine yourself in the shoes of your future self. You can do this by:
- visualizing your future more vividly
- having regular conversations with your future selves,
- keep a journal to write letters back and forth with your future self.
These will all help towards making wiser decisions in the present.
Let’s Do It Now. Connect with Your Future Self
According to Tal Ben-Shahar, we all have the wisdom we need.
This is evident when people go through a traumatic experience and completely transform their lives. He speaks of this transformation in his book Happier.
Ben-Shahar offers a fun and powerful method to tap into our innate wisdom.
Imagine that NASA has created a time machine to go into the future. BAM! You’re there.
You’re standing in front of your 110-year-old self. Your older self exudes grace, beauty, love, wisdom, and presence that touches your heart.
Ask them to share the most important lesson they have learned and gain some perspective on your current life's challenges and opportunities.
What advice do they give?
By creating a clear mental image of our desired future, we become more motivated to take actions that align with those goals.
Non-Judgmental Discussions about Potential Outcomes
Now, as the ‘psychologically wise adult in the room’, let's not assume young people naturally consider their futures.
Instead, let's engage them in non-judgmental discussions about what they’d want to create in the future.
What are the potential outcomes resulting from their current decisions?
By encouraging open dialogue and ‘walking with them through their thoughts’, we can help young adults own their choices and see their future selves more clearly.
Getting to know your future self is an essential step towards making the right decisions in the present.
- engaging in conversations about potential outcomes,
- building an emotional connection with our future selves, and
- visualizing our desired futures
we can prioritize actions that will lead to long-term success and fulfillment.
So take a moment today to connect with your future self—
they're counting on you!