April 24, 2023
The Courage to be Your Future Self Now
What is the Future Self? What impact does it have on your life? How can you be your future self?
The Future Self Concept
What is or better yet who is the future self?
Simply stated, the future self is the person you are to become in the future that is beyond a few weeks or months. It is who you want to be or who you can be in the years to come. Your concept of your future self can determine the kind of life you live.
However, the problem with future self is that most of us do not have a vision of our future self because as human beings we were never conditioned to think too far ahead.
We have always had the predisposition to think only about the present or the near future. In the past it was how men’s brains worked. It was only about survival.
For example, cave dwellers never thought of retirement. For them that idea was unknown and incomprehensible. They were only concerned about where to get the next meal or how to evade predators.
Although man has evolved and has developed larger brains, this conditioning still exists within most of us particularly with those who are struggling to survive. Many cannot see past the difficulties they are facing.
Most people cannot envision themselves five or ten years down the line. If you ask someone right now the question of “How do you see yourself five years from now? most often than not people will just stare at you blankly as they have no idea of who they are going to be.
Furthermore, the idea of the future self involves looking at or knowing the possible futures that one can have. There are different paths that one can take and each one has a different outcome. There are many possibilities that exist for a person, but many cannot perceive them.
As you can see, the future self was and to most is still something unknown. However, this concept has existed for decades now. In fact, most of the initial works around it have been credited to British philosopher Derek Parfit.
He emphasized the importance of the future self and has pointed out that people tend to make better, more rational decisions when they have an unclouded vision of themselves in the future and have a connection to their future selves.
Additionally, other positive psychologists like Hal Hershfield, Dan Sullivan, Dr. Benjamin Hardy, Meg Jay, and many more have made studies revolving around the future self. They have demonstrated the significance of knowing and connecting with one’s future self.
Can your future self really improve your life? How important is it to have a vision of your future?
The Impacts of Future Self
As more people delve into the study of the future self, one cannot deny its importance. Research has shown that knowing and more importantly forming a relationship with one’s future self impacts one’s life.
Identifying with your future self makes your life better. If you know the person you are to become and connect with it, then you will make better decisions in life. This is what Hal Hershfield has concluded in his studies.
It has also been shown that if you know your future self and treat him as another person then you will care for that being. You will consider that person in every decision you make and in each action you take.
Having that connection with your future self makes you behave in ways that will bring goals and your visions into reality. You know that every act you do today affects the person you are becoming.
Will you allow yourself to be distracted or to spend most of your time scrolling through social media or even procrastinate if you know that doing those things will lead you to poor health, lower productivity or even destroy your relationships? Probably not because you would not want to be a sickly, lonely person without money.
Another benefit from having a sharp vision of your future self is that you will have a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset opens you to a world full of possibilities.
It allows you to become aware of all your capabilities and do not limit yourself to the talents that you have. You know and believe that you can develop yourself and learn new skills that lead you to greater opportunities in life.
Change is inevitable. It is the only constant thing in the world and whether you are aware of it or not, you have changed and will continue to do so for the rest of your life. The question is do you like the person into whom you are changing?
Are you the same person as before? No, because you have grown older physically, you might have matured more. You may have even changed your perspectives based on the experiences that you have had.
But have these changes been beneficial to you? Have they led you to a life that you want?
How can you change into a better person and live a more fulfilled life?
The challenge to being your future self.
Now that you know how your future self affects the life you live, are you now determined to be the person you want to become?
Yes, you need determination. You must have the courage to turn your visions into reality.
Courage is your ability to control fear. It is your willingness to deal with something difficult and becoming your future self is not easy. The path to it will be full of obstacles.
You will face external and internal resistance. External resistance because society wants you to conform and to be like everyone else. Society frowns upon those who express their uniqueness, those who want to disrupt the norm.
It is not easy to go against external resistance because you are part of a pack, and if you go against what that pack wants you to be then chances are you will be ostracized. It can affect your survival.
As for the internal resistance, this is the battle that you will have with yourself. There will always be a part of you that wants you to stay where you are. There is a side of you that will doubt yourself and second guess your every action.
This is often instinctive because this is the part of your brain that tells you this is how you will survive. It keeps you safe, but it does not allow you to face your fears and explore the possibilities that have.
There can also be moments when you do not do what you say you are going to do. You procrastinate. You give in to the immediate pleasures and get sidetracked.
However, within each of us there is also the genius, the moral authority who knows better. This voice within us is the one that presents us with better but challenging options so why not listen to it?
The courage to be your future self.
It takes courage to go against resistance and listen to the genius within you. You need to build it to have the life you want.
One way of doing this is to become aware of your vulnerabilities. Get to know where your vulnerabilities are coming from. Accept your weaknesses. Once this happens you will be more open and willing to think of ways to overcome them.
Another way to increase courage is to find the goodness within you. Focus on your positive traits. Recognize your achievements and improve on your weaknesses. Seeing yourself in a more positive light and overcoming your negativities develops your confidence, your ability to trust and believe in yourself more.
Change the narrative, the story that you tell yourself. Avoid overthinking. Do not think of the negative what ifs. Failures and mistakes are part of life. They were never meant to bring you down. They happen because these are the moments for you to stop and think about what you can learn and improve on.
Think of the accomplishments you can achieve if you just take that initial step.
Life will always be challenging but it can also be most rewarding when you have the courage to be the person you were meant to become.
Live an extraordinary life. Be your future self now.
A great life does not happen by chance, it happens by design.
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