Your future self

By Nina Schmid

In a broad study, people from different backgrounds were asked who their greatest enemy was.

Most people answered:

All of us seem to know what would be good for us and what we would need to do to influence our future positively.  But turning common sense into common practice is one of the biggest challenges of our times.

The knowledge about possible improvement in the future and our immediate desires or cravings are often directly opposed.

Our worst enemy and our worst competition therefore isn’t others, as most people were actually able to recognize, but ourselves – our own ego, our procrastination, our desire for comfort, our fears, the failure to implement all that knowledge that is available to us.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future. Act now without delay”, said Simone de Beauvoir.

Knowing that humans are commonly torpedoing themselves, new ideas constantly flood the market, nudging people to make the right decisions. Gym’s that are for free as long as you train and only cost you money when you do not go, or alarm clocks that automatically bill your account if you press the snooze button…

At the same time, the Media shocks us with reports and forecasts of the extinction of the earth’s wildlife and more and more ecological disasters.

But neither the nudging nor the shocking seems to change our behavior.

We know that the same actions will yield the same results. And still, most people are not able to break through their own limitations. This is true on a micro-level, concerning our results as individuals, just as much as on a macro-level, regarding the threats to our environment. Our society is very reactive and only very rarely future-driven…

“The future influences the present just as much as the past”, said Nietzsche.

The newest developments in neuroscience reveal that our line of action has everything to do with how we regard our future self.

Do we expect to always remain the same person?

Today and in the future?

Or do we intrinsically know and believe that we are made up of a multitude of identities?

Different “I’s over the course of a lifetime. The “I” being more of a process than an entity…

So, what about your identity today and your identity in 5 years from now?

How much can you identify with who you will then be?

  • Do you feel close to your future self?
  • Do you wish him or her only the very best?
  • Are you able to make short-term sacrifices in order to achieve long-term gains?
  • Are you able to let go of your immediate needs for the benefit of your future self?

What could you abstain from today for the sake of your future self’s health?

What actions would you need to take in the present to ensure your future self’s success?

What fears would you need to conquer today to free your future self from its limiting past?

What could you learn today to strengthen your future self in this fast changing world?

Are you willing to do whatever it takes now to see your future self happy and fulfilled?

Are you willing to be focused, strategic, intentional?

“Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present”, said Albert Camus.

“Only when we are tightly connected to our future self, only when we extend that vision, are we able to make decisions that ensure that our future self lives a better life than we do at present.”- Nina Schmid

Scientists have even found out that we will make more ethical decisions the closer we feel to our future self, enabling us to see things beyond our own immediate benefits for the sake of a greater good.

Envisioning your future self, identifying yourself with your future self, asking your future self for advice and having actual conversations with your future self, as weird as this may seem, are in fact the best way to bridge the gap between your present and your best future.

“Start with the end in mind”, said Stephen Covey.

Taking actions in alignment with your long-term vision will ensure that you will become this future best version of yourself.

Starting with your future self in mind will help you make more sustainable, wiser decisions, for your own good and for the good of everyone else.

Let your future self become the best advisor, the most inspirational figure in your own life!