There’s more to life than the American Dream we’ve been sold. In this series I present an alternative way to view the world and your surroundings. There is so much out there to experience, enjoy, and incorporate into our lives. It’s all there for the taking, but getting there is the hard part. In this series I show how to to change your paradigm to give yourself a fighting chance of taking the path less less traveled to live up to your potential. How you act on what you discover is up to you, but I hope you take your own plunge into a happier and healthier life.
Life is full of difficult experiences we must overcome. Do you remember your first day of school? It was terrifying! I cried like a baby as my mom left! Or there is starting high school, applying for and going to college, jobs, relationships, kids, finances, health, etc. Life is tough!
But rarely do we stop and appreciate what we’ve accomplished. This thought occurred to me today as I thought back to when I was applying to MBA programs. I really didn’t know which school(s) would accept me, then when I got into IE Business School there was the thought of moving to Europe/Spain, adjusting to all the new things, and not really knowing what I wanted to do after the MBA. In other words, more questions than answers.
But now when I think back to that time in 2008, it’s just an afterthought. I already accomplished it and it’s no big deal.
But it is a big deal. And I think we often take for granted what we’ve accomplished, yet fret about what we haven’t accomplished or punish ourselves for our failures. Why do we have such tunnel vision??
As mentioned above, life is one long challenge. Luckily, most challenges we face in life are personal growth opportunities. If we see challenges as opportunities to grow instead of rites of passage to bigger and better opportunities, maybe we can savor and appreciate our accomplishments more.
There has to be a balance, of course, between savoring accomplishment and resting on your laurels. Setting goals and striving for them gives you a path to focus on. If these goals are accomplished, surely new ones will come up or new challenges and opportunities will present themselves. Welcome new challenges and work toward solving them, but never forget what you’ve accomplished. Your accomplishments, in many ways, define who you are and made you the person you are today. And so have your failures.
Closing The Loop
I love using Future Me. When you are frustrated and see no solution to the problems at hand, head over to that site and write yourself a letter describing how you feel, what you are worried about, and how you hope things will turn out. Make sure you set the delivery date well past when the problem will have been resolved. This out of the blue reminder in the future will be a reminder of how you felt during that particularly difficult time. You’ll probably find yourself automatically stepping back into your shoes from X months or X years ago. The emotions and feelings will come back to you as if you were back in the thick of things. Only now you know the end of the movie.
I call this closing the loop because, as I mentioned earlier, we rarely go back and appreciate our past experiences properly. Forcing yourself to re-examine the past can help you grown even more. It’s like that last inch you grow in your late teens. Maybe you were find without it, but it sure is nice to have!
Even more importantly, we learn more about ourselves as we see what our worries and concerns were back then. This can help you as you deal with challenges at present or in the future. If you tend to exaggerate or you don’t factor in how decisions will affect others or anything else, you’ll see it written down in your Future Me email.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about yourself, the more empowered you are!