Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some of the inspiring messages I received at the recent regional Entrepreneurs' Organization Conference. I helped host this get-together for business owners from all over the country and the region, including guests from as far away as Dubai, Uganda and Pakistan. It was an inspiring event, with many many golden nuggets.
But let me start with Rich Mulholland. Now I’m biased, but Rich is one of the top public speakers in the country and his segments never disappoint. Disclaimer: I did his public speaking course a few years ago, so yes I am a fan.
This time, his message was simple. Your future self deals with crap you don’t want to, because you think it’s going to be easier for him/her to do so. Newsflash: It’s not. But let me explain.
Example #1: You know how you get to your car in a busy parking lot after a tough day at the office/entertaining the kids/shopping for crap you don’t want but need? And then you need to back out into hectic traffic, narrowly avoiding a fender bender, and you get home all worked up? Well, what if you backed up into the parking space when you arrived, thereby cutting your future self a break? Well, I almost never do that. Why? Because I defer the pain of backing out to my future self, even though my present self would have a much easier job backing into the spot.
Example #2: You know how you don’t wash the coffee cup/breakfast bowl/wine glass right away? How you prefer for the remains of the milk/corn flakes/sediment to settle in, so that later you can spend double the time (and some Sunlight and some hot water) to clean it? Where you could now do a quick rinse and be done? Why don’t we do that?
Example #3: You know how you suddenly realize you said yes to a party/event/conference that you absolutely don’t want to go to and really don’t have the time for? But backing out now would look really really bad, screw up a friendship, compromise your reputation at work, etc etc… Well, that’s your idiot past self not doing the maths at the time, saying yes without fully considering what their future self would be dealing with once the commitment came around. And then moaning about “I have to go.”
Nope. You don’t HAVE to do anything. You must choose – TODAY – what is going to be easier, more effective, more meaningful. What action TODAY will give you the most joy, freedom and positive outcomes in six months? Because the fact that your future self isn’t here to fend for themselves doesn’t mean that you get to load things on them that you wouldn’t want to deal with yourself right now.
Here are three hacks to be better to your future self:
Use your calendar. Duh. Plan out your priorities, figure out where and when you want to be doing what, and then only say yes to things that are a F*ck yeah! Otherwise have the courage to say no (in the sweetest way possible).
Don’t let the important become urgent. If you KNOW you are going to reverse your car in or out of a space, wash a cup, have a conversation… well, do it now. Don’t wait. It just gets harder to do the more time you let pass, and your future self is ALMOST ALWAYS hating your now self for the suicide pass. Use the Eisenhower Matrix and focus on priorities. And don’t let anything that’s important that can be done today wait till tomorrow.
Develop a habit of backing into parking spots. Genius.
And next time you don’t untie your laces and just kick out those shoes, take a moment. Take a breath. And do a solid for tomorrow you. They’ll be grateful.