We don’t always realize it, but right now, there are three selves making decisions.
The weakest of all is present self. Present self is lazy, and would rather play video games than clean up the house or catch up on reading. Present self feels fear and stays in rather than going out and meeting new people. Present self understands risk in a limited, childish way. Basically, present self is stupid.
Past self is the one that has big aspirations and dreams you should be following through on right now. Past self made New Year’s resolutions last week and would like you to follow through on it. Past self is idealistic and hasn’t made too many compromises.
Future self is the one that really understands risk– he or she is the one who will miss out if the right decisions aren’t made today. Future self is calm and relaxed. Future self understands that making mistakes is ok, because he or she is fine even though you made them. Future self thinks about legacy.
Past self is still a child in all the right ways– wide eyed and fascinated by the new. Future self is a wise old man or woman– patient and calm and understanding consequences, while still able to see the bigger picture.
As time goes on, I try to listen less and less to present me, and more to past or future me. Present me has let me down too many times when I counted on it. I have more confidence in past and future me. They guide me better.
Who are you trusting with your decisions? Think about it.