"Have you ever looked back and thought, 'If I had done this or that five years ago I'd be better off now?' But the opportunity was there; why didn't you see it? Are you sure that you are not closing your eyes at this moment to one which you will see later in retrospect?" ~ Dorothea Brande
The saying, "Hindsight is 20/20," with regard to personal reflection, is a thinly veiled excuse to justify laziness. It's most often used in the place of this: "I made a mistake and I can't do anything about it now." Why not? The value of the past is often dismissed because it is already behind us; but recognizing missed opportunities, for example, is a valuable lesson in humility. Hindsight may be 20/20 but foresight need not be blind.
Follow me closely here: Do you ever speak to your past self? If not, why don't you? If you could speak to your past self, what would you say? "Go ahead and make plans but you probably won't succeed at any of them." This is what you say or think, isn't it?
"When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself." ~ Plato
Speaking to your past self can provide the foundation of a dialogue with your future self. For example, your present self might say to your past self, "Don't make rigid plans for your future because you will not be able to predict or control what happens. Therefore, be mindful of unforeseen opportunities and be ready to recognize them and turn them into greater realities than your original plans could have achieved." This same advice is essentially what your future self would say to you now. In other words, from the perspective of your past self, your present self is the future self. Therefore listen to your own advice! Here are some sage words my "future self" is telling me now:
- Extreme hardships are easier to overcome than you are currently imagining. As Winston Churchill once said, "If you're going through hell, keep going."
- Stop killing the present by wishing for the future.
- Money, material wealth and social status are wonderful things but they are only things. Health is your greatest asset.
- Don't be afraid to take more risk.
- Listen to the inner voice; it's usually correct.
- The smallest of pleasures are the greatest of joys.
- Surprise yourself every day; push beyond your comfort zones (mental, spiritual, emotional and physical).
- Listen intently to people when they speak. Catch yourself wanting to inject your feedback, opinion or solution and wait until they have finished speaking.
- Don't be the person that says, "Here I am!" when entering a room; be the person that says, "There you are!"
- Money isn't nearly as important as the world projects it to be.
What is your future self saying to you now? Are you listening? Are you following the advice?