Future Self Vs. Present Self

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

Your Present Self (PS) is living in the moment. Are you in control of PS? Is PS serving your Future Self (FS)? Or is Future-Self paying the price for a poorly managed Present Self?

Is PS savouring a sweet or salty snack, enjoying the comforts of the couch, having an extended lie-in or watching ‘just one more episode’ to complete a series season in one marathon sitting?

Or is PS reading a book related to areas you wish to improve for FS? Is PS saying ‘no’ to seconds of dessert, or the third drink? Is PS at the gym, at yoga, out for a walk or a ride?

All too often, PS tendencies border on gluttony and show judgment so poor in so many areas that FS is left to wonder. The values of PS and of FS are so radically misaligned that we (FS) often look back and ask:

Why did I stay up so late?

Why did I skip the gym? (for the past month)

Why did I eat that extra helping…or three?

Why did I drink those shooters at 2am?

What was I thinking?

Was I thinking at all?

Ironically the same ‘I’ has been there before, many times, and yet somehow fails to communicate the lessons to PS. It is as if FS is this wise experienced adult with a wealth of knowledge, but it is in a silo of its own with limited abilities to communicate with PS.

It is a bit like a nightmare many of us have had where we can see the future unfolding before our eyes and we know that something terrible is about to happen but have no way to stop the ‘other’ person from making what is so clearly going to be a devastating mistake.

Perhaps in part it’s because it is slow-motion devastation. Few of us would sit down and eat eight bags of chips and drink 24 sodas in one sitting, but over the course of a month we suffer a slow demise. Like death by 1000 cookies.

Present Self is a greedy one; it is all PS all the time, with little thought or care for Future Self and the ramifications of the choices made.

Almost a Jekyll and Hyde situation.

Present Self very quickly becomes Past Self and so PS becomes interchangeable in the mind of FS, as FS is constantly wondering why Past Self, same as Present Self, is so malicious—seemingly on a mission to make life so bloody awkward and difficult. Why did PS not take better care to prepare our body, mind, wardrobe, etc. for what FS needs? Why indeed.

Past Self
Present Self
Future Self

They are all yourself, and allowing each to operate on its own agenda is easy. But isn’t ‘easy’ all too often interchangeable with: wrong… less effort required… lacking in merit?

Learning to crave difficulty is a key method I have used to align the actions of PS with the goals and desires of FS. There are examples of FS taking control of what inevitably will become PS by signing up for runs, rides and events that require preparation and training, thereby setting deadlines at which an increased level of performance is required. The same is true of booking a vacation well in advance to force PS/FS to take a break, as slowing down is for some as big a challenge as speeding up.

What can you do right now as PS to reward FS with a higher level of performance, fitness, knowledge, awareness? What can you schedule, write down in your planner, or tell ten people you have committed to doing that FS will truly thank PS for—at that magic moment when FS and PS connect and realise that working together they can achieve anything they set out to do?

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