It's almost impossible, in the current environment, to not think about the here and the now. It feels like life is at a stand still in many respects. Which, in other respects, doesn't seem so bad because the future feels uncertain. What's going to happen with the market? The economy? The industry? There is a lot of evolution on the horizon, and it's understandable for us entrepreneurs to have struggles that correlate to the unknowns that evolution brings.
It's also true, however, that understandable and beneficial are not one and the same. While the atmosphere is in a state of extreme flux right now, it's assured to return to a state of rest in the future, however far off. And when that time comes we'll still be here. Still with visions for our futures; still needing to thrive to make them our realities. And that's where we must not lose focus now.
Our organization does a 'Future Self' exercise every so often. It's wildly beneficial and, I think, should be required for any entrepreneur at least once a year. The basic scenario involves building a composite for the future version of yourself. What you do, where you live, your day to day life. Then building backwards with action step to get there. It's simple enough.
But, while it's beneficial, I think there's an underlying thought that can be grasped without completing the exercise. One that, if we really let sink in, should spur us to action. The thought is of us in twenty years.
I know that sounds hokey, and maybe not particularly helpful, but think about it in a vacuum for a moment. We tend to glamorize our visions of our future. Where we'll be, and with whom. We tend to skip a whole lot of things that need to happen in order to get to where we'd like to go. Instead, think about you twenty years from now, living the same life. No more, or worse, off. Not retired, but still working. Just a little older, and slower, and less motivated, and probably with back problems.
Understand that this is not meant to insult anyone's current state of affairs. I think a lot of us would be perfectly happy continuing to live our lives the way we are now. But even that becomes more difficult as we get older absent the kind of passive income that can sustain our current lifestyles as we age out of earning ability. It costs money to get older, and we're not capable of putting forth the same effort to earn as we enter our twilight.
Your future self, your real future self, the one that's you just aged twenty or thirty years, is the thought to carry with you now. No matter how uncertain life may seem in bursts, there is a seventy, or eighty or ninety year old inside of you now. And that person is screaming for you to help them. To help them live the life that you want them to have.
Time is finite. And less useful down the road. The work must be done now. The person in the mirror will thank you later.
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