On January 10, 2017, my new book, “Epiphany Z – Eight Radical Visions for Transforming Your Future“ was officially released in bookstores all around the world. Here are a few excerpts from the book where I discuss the concept of “future self.”
Being a Futurist is far more than just making predictions. It involves digging deep into the nature of humanity to better understand who we are and why we do the things that we do.
So what kind of relationship do you have with your future self?
If you had 5 minutes to give advice to the person you were five years ago, what would you say? How would you coach yourself to do and say things differently to improve your life today?
Will the person you become five years from now be more talented, wealthier, healthier, better looking, better educated, or have a better circle of friends to network with?
There are many things we can do today to improve our future self. We all intuitively know this, but sometimes we need to be reminded. We can read more, exercise more, take a class, find a better job, write a book, start a business, invent something, meet new people, expand our social network, or do many other things. We are all placing a bet. Each of us is somehow betting on our future self.
Here are a few things you may not have thought about:
How did we get here?
As a baby, life was all about eating, sleeping, and dry diapers. Even though you are learning new things quickly, not much else really mattered. By the time you enter grade school, you have learned to walk, talk, feed yourself, and have fun with your friends.
Entering high school you’ve grown much taller, in most cases, doubling your height from when you were a toddler. Your eyes and facial features have many similarities and look familiar, but you are now very different. You are fascinated by music, television, and any time you spot a passing smile by someone of the opposite sex, it becomes heart-stoppingly important. Relationships matter.
Every new day has you seeking a different set of experiences. You take pride in whatever you were good at, and become enamored with things you enjoy.
Every personal relationship brings with it a different set of involvements. Your first kiss sets the stage for your second, and your first intimate moments become cemented into the very fabric of your being.
As you enter your thirties and forties, your skill sets change dramatically. With age comes perspective, big problems become little ones, and over time, even the little ones fade away. In your sixties and seventies you begin to feel time is running out. It is in this progression we begin to realize that the future has changed us every step of the way.
Even though there are continuities to our personality and genetic structure, we are constantly changing. One cell gets replaced by another until we bear little resemblance to that person we were so many years ago.
And yes, you are now a different person than you were, even a few seconds ago.
Does that mean your past self is irrelevant—particularly in a future that’s changing at the speed of light?
18 Reasons Why the Person You Were Still Matters
The former you has set the stage for the present you, and the person you are today will become critically important to the person you become in the future.
- Memories—Every past memory helps crystalize who you are today.
- Shared Experiences—Every long-term relationship is built around shared experiences, and these shared experiences provide the common ground foundation for future ones.
- Emotional Values—Everything around you is constantly being emotionally rated on a subconscious level. That is why your car will generally hold more value than things like a skateboard or power drill.
- Skills—Learning how to perform a task efficiently ties directly into a combination of short-term, long-term, and muscle memory. While some skills will fade over time, their influence will remain for years to come.
- Your Body—Your present body came from your former body.
- Derivative Talents—Every talent you have is a derivative of some other talent, interest, or tendency.
- Physical Improvements and Physical Impairments—Every time you work out, it causes both short and long-term changes to your body and health. On the flip side, every time you hurt or injure yourself, it will also cause residual effects that linger over time.
- The Personality Equation—Every individual is a combination of attributes, tendencies, desires, interests, and about twenty more ingredients we don’t have names for yet. Some will change significantly over time, but others less so.
- Secrets—Hidden deep beneath the sub-floor of human consciousness are our secrets that can come back to haunt us if we don’t deal with them somewhere along the way.
- Struggles—Our struggles are what make our accomplishments valuable.
- Obsession—Determination becomes obsession and then it becomes all that matters. But from my vantage point, obsession is underrated.
- Possessions—Yes, it is possible to simply walk away from all of our possessions, but few people do. Not only do we own our possessions, they own us. And the things we own very often influences our future decisions.
- Connections & Networks—We forge our weak and strong relationships through our connections. But today’s social networks give us the tools to amplify those connections in a massively powerful way.
- Inner Voice—Our most intimate of all intimate relationships takes place in the rarely audible space inside our head. We have a constant love-hate relationship with our inner voice, and even though we argue with ourselves, it will continue to influence who you are in the future. No it won’t! Y.E.S., I.T. W.I.L.L.!
- Hopes & Desires—Inside every great person is the hope and aspiration to become something better—more meaningful, more influential, more passionate.
- Reputation—If we’re doing things correctly our reputation will enter the room before we do. Our reputation involves a multitude of variables, and is one of the most influential aspects of who we are.
- Quirkiness—Todays foibles can become tomorrow’s most admired qualities if we know how the leverage them.
- Legacy—For many of us, the disturbance we leave in the force field of life is the most significant accomplishment we can possibly make.
18 Reasons Why the Person You Were No Longer Matters
The voice of the fatalist inside often gives us little room for hope. If we believe change is not possible, then it certainly isn’t.
- You look different. You’re nearly unrecognizable to those you hung out with twenty years ago.
- You’ve forgotten. The vast majority of your life has disappeared into the ether, leaving little more than a faint residue of the imprint you made along the way.
- Your physical abilities have changed.
- Your income is different.
- Your friends are different.
- Your clothes no longer fit, and if they still fit, they fit differently.
- The things you valued most in the past, now holds little meaning. (Note to self—Shag carpeting should have never been invented.)
- Your favorite sports team today has none of the same players you remember from ten years ago.
- New friends may be more valuable than old friends.
- Your ability to make brilliant decisions today is far greater than the person you left behind.
- Past mistakes can only haunt you if you’re still you.
- Bad memories can be replaced by good ones, and old dreams can be replaced by more inspiring, more infectious, more exciting new dreams.
- New skills will make you a different person.
- Every significant shift in your life can be broken down into a series of baby steps that can be repeated, modified, redirected, or recalibrated.
- You are only one relationship away from being the person you want to be.
- There is always a path out of your current dilemma.
- The only thing holding you back is you.
- There is no limit to personal wisdom.
Each morning, as I brush my teeth, I barely recognize the person in the mirror staring back at me. If I’m the same person I was twenty years ago, then why do I look so different, think so different, and why has my path of progress been so unpredictable?
Realistically though, what kind of relationship can we have with our future self? Will my future self be disappointed in the decisions I’m making today?
Should we ask our future self for advice on tough decisions? Since we don’t exactly have the ability to Skype call ourselves 5-10 years in the future, how can it possibly matter what “future-me” thinks about “present-me?”
The answer, it will matter a great deal when you get there. And you’ll hate yourself if you haven’t paid attention to the future.