Mid-week mornings and I’m as usual multitasking between phone calls, errands, work, daydreaming and brainstorming. I had planned to share something funny before leaving for the office, but after kicking off my day with the usual coffee and podcast, I need to share some thoughts that went through my head this morning while tuning in to the most recent episode of NPR’s Invisibilia about the idea of our future self [click to listen]. Saving the funny stuff for later…
Start by imagining your future self. Did you grow up being motivated by your best future self? Or your worst?
Personally, I was always motivated by the worst-case-scenario of me; the things I knew I didn’t want. I didn’t know where I wanted to be, I just knew where I didn’t, and I often spent a lot of time and energy terrified of the possible scenarios of a disappointing, lack-of-adventure, dull, and monotonous future.
Regardless of what your future self used to look like, or looks like, most of us grow up being told, by parents, teachers, friends and family, that we can be whatever we want to be. And that’s such an incredible opportunity, isn’t it? With things like globalisation, modern innovations and new technologies, the options are (literally) endless, and the world is yours. And in 10 years from now, we’ll all be fabulous. Right? So we grow up–excited, motivated, passionate, and stressed.
As they highlight so well in this episode, by dimming the lights and ‘sobering kids up’ to the potential harsh realities of a situation, we don’t do children a favour, either. For example, if your family cannot afford to send you to college, and your parents tell you you will never be able to go, you are way less likely to actualise the dream of going college, whereas if your parents instead tell you to ‘never give up’, you’re still left with a few not-so-bad options for your college dream to come true: community college, scholarships, side-jobs, student loans, and so on. Hustle, hustle, hustle.
So, we should keep dreaming then, while at the same time, try and let go of the shame associated with not living up to the ideal version of our future selves. Always dream, but keep your reality-goggles on while doing so…
Right amount of self-acceptance + right amount of drive = ideal self?