If you could see the future, would you want to? If you could change the past, would you choose to?
The good news is that you don’t have to answer those questions. Going back isn’t an option and I haven’t figured out how to visit the future. But, I have figured out how to time travel, from the future, to determine what to do today.
There’s a great book by Robert Maurer called One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way. It includes a story about a woman who wanted to find a partner. The author asked this woman what would she do now if it was 100% certain that she would meet a partner in one month?
I decided to give it a try. I imagined that in one month, a situation at work which caused me ongoing frustration would be resolved.
I felt relieved and energized.
I imagined ways it could be resolved. What if I got a new job? Yikes! If I was going to leave my job in a month I had a lot to do, loose ends to tie up.
Alternatively, what if I didn’t leave my job and this “roadblock” was suddenly removed? Well, then I wouldn’t want to lose a month spinning my wheels. I’d use the next month to do all kinds of things to capitalize on this magical change.
Imagine that? No matter the ultimate resolution to this issue, my best response was to do what I could do, right now. Even with this so-called roadblock still intact.
So, I started to time travel in other aspects of my life. I took different situations that confused or bothered me and imagined myself on the other side of those problems. Time and time again, my future self gave me an answer that was similar. Do my very best with what I have today.
Ok, so maybe this isn’t the time traveling you were hoping for. But we can approach each day as if it were the “time before” it all worked out (or didn’t). In either case, allowing ourselves to be paralyzed by indecision and uncertainty only leaves us less prepared. It also frustrates those around us who can see things we could be doing in spite of ourselves. This particularly undermines us when those people are the ones that look to us for leadership.
Today will certainly have problems. But it’s always the time before we get a new job, fall in love, or lose a loved one… Some future version of ourselves will reflect back on today and share the story.
What do we want that story to be?
So, just for today, try to act as if it’s all working out. You will find new options you hadn’t imagined or see things you are avoiding. Your future self will thank you. And your current self will, too.