Life comes at you so fast sometimes it’s hard to contemplate the future. “If you don’t plan to succeed, you plan to fail.” You can’t afford to just drift through life. Your future self may someday look back at how you lived today and wonder “what the heck were you thinking?” Live intentionally to have a better life today and tomorrow. Here are six things that your future self wants you to starting doing today.
Take More Chances
Stability is comfortable. Risk-taking is what makes you grow and advance. One German study found that people who enjoyed taking risks were more content in life. It’s hard to know what comes first, satisfaction with life or risk-taking. It’s like asking, “which came first – the chicken or the egg?” If you take risks today, you won’t look back in 10 years and ask yourself “what if?”
Stop living to be accepted by others. Do things that you want to do because you find it exciting. Take a chance. Even if you fail, you’ll learn from it. You’ll be in the minority, because most people don’t take risks. You’ll stand out in the crowd as you forge your path.
Taking a risk will make you more successful. Chances are, if you’re trying to better yourself, it’s because you’re not happy with your circumstances. Change is risky. But the only way to escape your current situation is to make change.
Risk-taking isn’t just jumping off into the deep end with any and every opportunity. You have to look at the right options. Be a calculated risk-taker. Maximize your chances by taking more risks than not but weigh your choices carefully while you’re taking risks.
Be Who You Want to Be
What defines you? Matt Damon said, “It’s just better to be yourself than to try to be some version of what you think the other person wants.” Being yourself is easier said than done. How do you find your true self? As adults, we’re often conditioned to be a certain way. There are times when you do need to act responsibly when you don’t really want to. Finding your true self is more about authenticity and individuality. Here are some tips to help you find the person you want to be.
- Make a list of your personality traits, both good and bad. Which ones do you want to be known for?
- What are your values? Your convictions define how you act in different situations. Are you happy with your values? If not, make some changes.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. There’s always going to be someone richer, prettier or more successful than you. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When you fall into the comparison trap, you lose self-confidence and begin to adopt a persona that isn’t the real you. Someone else’s outside can never be compared to your inside.
- Focus on growth. As you become the person you want to be, your parents (or others who knew the old you) may call you out for past mistakes. It can be discouraging to remember where you once were. Bite your tongue and remember that you are trying to be a better person. It’s not where you were, but where you’re going.
Don’t think that your true self is set in stone. Your values, philosophies and personality may change over time. As you become more aware of yourself and others, you may find that you change your political orientation or religious views. You may even find yourself having conflicting points of view as you reflect on society, your friends and family and your own needs.
Accept Who You Are
While you’re trying to figure out who you are, recognize that you are who you are today. Change does not always come easy. It takes time to reshape your personality and values. The persona you try out this year may not be who you are next year. Admit your mistakes and apologize, if necessary. Don’t agonize over the past.
When you do feel remorseful, remind yourself that you made the best decision with the information at the time. Maybe it wasn’t the right choice, but you can’t change what happened. You can only go forward. Make the changes you want to make, but don’t forget to love yourself in the meantime
Stop Worrying About Failing
When you were young, you were taught that failing is bad. Don’t fall. Don’t lose the game. Don’t get a bad grade. Being scared of failing is ingrained into your very fiber. We don’t want to disappoint our parents, our teachers and our leaders. What we’re never taught is to accurately measure this: “What is the worst that can happen if you fail?”
Eventually you will grow old enough to learn the famous quote below disputably attributed to Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson, James Garfield, French-essayist Michel de Montaigne; we’ll stop there.
“I am an old man and have known a great many struggles, but most of them never happened”Various
Jess Possiel reveals, “Some people come to understand what most can not. They come to understand that the hardest part is having the courage to go for it. And they come to understand that once you go for it, the hardest part is over. And they come to understand that the imaginations that scare you impossible are actually proof of what won’t happen.”
Thomas Edison had over 1,000 missed attempts at inventing the light buld, which he jokingly described as discovering ways not to make the light bulb. Winston Churchill failed to pass the entrance exam to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, not just once, but twice. Charles Darwin’s father considered him a very ordinary young man who didn’t have a whit of intellect. These are men who changed history. Clearly, failure didn’t define them.
“The cure for the fear of failure isn’t success. The cure for the fear of failure is failure in small enough doses that we build up an immunity to it,” says Mark Batterson in his book, Chase the Lion.
Your future self wants you to know that it’s okay to fail. Failure isn’t the end of the world. It’s how you deal with failure that defines your true self. You may not get it right the first time. Yet you often learn more when you get it wrong, because you have to go back and figure out what you missed. Pick yourself up. Learn from your mistake. Move forward. Better, faster and smarter for having dared to fail at all.
Live Life Fully
Gary Vaynerchuk said, “I’m the happiest because I’m doing exactly what I want to do.” Don’t wait until you get to the end of your life and discover you haven’t followed your dreams. Ask yourself, “what do I need to do to be happy and have meaning?” Maybe you don’t have all the money in the world, but you can choose to do things that make you happy.
Volunteer for organizations that you support. Be kind to your neighbors. Invest in time with those you love. Instead of binging on Netflix, go outside and have a water fight. Get off social media and be social in your community. Take up a sport that interests you. Get enough sleep. See the world in a positive way. You may not be able to change the world, but you can “be the good” in your community by changing one person.
One of the top regrets of the dying is “I wish I had let myself be happier.” Gary Vee said, “The truth is that finding happiness in what you do every day is so imperative.” Happiness isn’t the result of living, it’s a choice that makes it easier to live. Happiness doesn’t find you. You choose happiness. Need ideas on living happy? Researchers have studied happiness and found proven ways to increase your happy.
- Smile like you mean it.
A Michigan State University study found that customer service workers who faked a smile had worse moods that others who genuinely smiled due to positive emotions. One more reason to be authentic and be true to yourself instead of putting on airs.
- Take an afternoon nap.
A siesta after lunch may sound very continental and luxurious, but many European countries shut down in the afternoon to allow workers to take a long lunch break. One study found that naps tend to desensitize people to negative emotions and help them respond to positive feelings. Sleep has many emotional benefits.
- Spend time with family and friends.
Another regret of the dying is not spending time with loved ones. Social connections make you happy. Don’t get to the end of your life and have no one to share it with. Strengthening your relations is much more beneficial than a salary increase in terms of happiness. It’s been shown that helping and caring for others can help you live to an older age.
- Go to the beach.
A UK study found that sea + sun = happiness. A natural environment makes people happier than the city. Get out in nature on the weekend. Coastal and marine locations raised happiness levels. If you can’t get to the beach, go to the mountains or the forests. Enjoy a farm. Go for a drive. You’ll be happier.
Make Small Changes
If you’re dissatisfied with your life today, it’s not going to get better on its own. You have to make changes to get to where you want to be. Making sweeping changes is difficult, so make small steps. Change one thing this month. Once it becomes a habit, make another change. You can be who you want to be. But it’s up to you.