Consult With Your Future Self

I wasn't happy. I didn't like my coworkers, my boss was basically evil, but for the longest time I didn't change anything. Eventually, I finally knew that it was time to move on, but why did I wait until a breaking point to do it? I was scared. I listened to the news enough to fear the job market. I thought to myself, "even if I get a different job, if things don't work out, I could be let go and I would be worse off than I am now."


Yasagure by Ryohei Hase
Yasagure by Ryohei Hase
But I was over it, I had reached the last straw that broke the camels back. I started really looking for a new job. Not the kind of half assed looking that you do when you kind of want to leave your job but it's easy so you don't really try that hard, maybe only sending out one resume a week. But I was done, so I was looking for a new job like I was unemployed. I tried to send out at least 1 resume a day because it was time for me to get out of there.

It didn't take very long, only a few weeks to get the first phone interview, and a week and a half later I got a job offer, I was changing jobs. I still stress out when I start a new job, I work as hard as I can for a while to make a good impression and to pick up the new work as quickly as possible so I feel more secure, but it didn't take long to feel comfortable. Suddenly I wondered, what was I so scared of. It was all in my head. It was all me psyching myself out, fearing the unknown versus what I was used to.

Long before I reached that breaking point at my previous job I knew things weren't right. I questioned why I stayed, and I always gave myself excuses to stay a little longer.


"If I stay until January then I will be more vested in my company profit sharing program, that's an extra $9k between all the years I've put in"

"My job is easy, you don't really have to try hard anymore, it's just clocking in and clocking out."

"I am at a company with amazing job security, why would I ever want to leave that in an economy like this?"

"It's just a few more months of work overload, after that it should ease up."

"If the new job doesn't work out I could be let go and I'd be worse off than I am now."


Everything was an excuse to cover my fear. Since then I've started consulting with my future self. I ask myself, "In 10 years, what will I regret more."

What Would My Future Self Tell Me To Do?


I’ve recently started making decisions based on what, “myself from 10 years in the future” would tell me to do. Would future me tell me to leave that job and find something better. Would he tell me to speak up for myself at work and see what comes from it? Would he tell me to talk to that girl at the party and perhaps make a fool out of myself?

Yes. Yes. And yes. And the reasons are all the same, you'll regret not doing anything. The only thing stopping me was fear (I suppose there was some false hope too).

Most of the time you have already been questioning these things in your life. If you're already questioning them, then perhaps that's a sign something needs to change. I'm not saying that you need to make a drastic change, in my case changing jobs was a big decision. I knew I couldn't fix the work environment at that point in time, but perhaps if I listened to myself earlier than I would have been able to. (I'm glad I didn't though as I'm much better off at my new job.)

But sometimes you just need to listen to yourself more carefully. Learn to trust yourself. Usually the difficult choices are difficult because of fear. You just have to analyze how accurate that fear is and do what you can to minimize any real issues.

Everyone that I know that has chosen to take the more difficult/scarier path (that they really thought was better for them) has not regretted it. In fact everyone I know says that they wished that they did it earlier. Perhaps for some there were times of doubt, but in the end they really did know what was best for themselves.

Have you ever looked back at a difficult choice and thought, "I wish I did that sooner"? Was fear what delayed the decision you knew you should take all along?

2 comments:

  1. I've definitely thought "I wish I did that sooner" with respect to relationships. And, yes, it was definitely fear (of rejection) that was keeping me from acting. This article brings to mind a quote, but I can't remember who to attribute it to. I don't remember the exact phrasing but it goes something like, "Your success in life can be measured by the number of times you are willing to make yourself uncomfortable."

    I like the mental hack. The future version of myself is undoubtedly a much wiser version of me.

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  2. I'm looking back right now wishing I wouldn't have seen some things that I just did. Sometimes fear materializes into reality and at that point I have more regret than a sense of courage. Now I'm sitting with unsettled feelings, thoughts, images that I would have had not been there had I listened to my fear and not tried to overcome it by taking action. Maybe my 10 year from now self won't even care 2 bits about what I saw or about the person that these feelings are currently engaged around, but it doesn't make it easy in the present. Perhaps there needs to be more than the future self involved in such decision making because sometimes the present self needs to be taken into consideration too.

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