Where are you at right now?
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking this is a silly question. Because you look around and you say I’m at the gym. Or I’m at home. Or I’m at work. Or, I’m sitting here reading a blog post, and it doesn’t really matter where I am now, does it?
But what if I told you that you’re not really where you think you are?
You’ve probably heard all the talk about”mindfulness” and “being in the moment.” There’s even a famous book called The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle.
You see, I’m not asking you where your body is right now. I’m asking where YOU are right now.
If you’re like me, your mind and attention aren’t usually in the same place where your body is.
If this is a new idea for you, just try to have your mind and attention focused only on your body and your immediate surroundings for 5 minutes. Go ahead and give it a go. I’ll wait right here.
Queue the musical interlude
Oh, good! You’re back.
Well . . . How did you do?
It takes a lot of work to get your mind to hold still. You’re always thinking.
And you’re usually thinking about either the past or the future.
Focusing on NOW is hard. That’s why people write books about how and why to do it.
The reason that NOW is so important is that it’s the only time you really have.
Your past is only memory.
Your future is only imagination.
Let me explain what I’m talking about. Your past is kept in your brain as stories you tell yourself and others about what has happened in your life. On the other hand, you imagine your future by telling stories about what you will do, what you want to do, or what you have to do. (You also imagine stories of scary/awful things you’re afraid might happen.)
Movies in your mind
Your past and future stories are like movie trailers, always running in your mind. This means that your mind is either reviewing and reliving your past or imagining your future. Your body is in the NOW, but your mind is usually somewhere else.
Your mental autopilot
You and I tend to deal with the NOW of life by running on autopilot. Your subconscious routines and habits help you manage the regular details of life. You know how you can drive home from work and not remember the trip? Those autopilot habits are a good thing. They free up your mind to focus on more important things.
The challenge you face is that your mind wants to keep you just like you are.
Your mental autopilot is like a computer program using stories from your past to determine what you do. Your thoughts, actions, and decisions become habits. You keep repeating them, and life goes on. Both your subconscious and your conscious mind tell you, “Don’t mess with the system as long as it works.”
Your mind also uses your imagination against you. Just consider how things are always worse, bigger, and scarier when you’re looking forward to what might be. It could be a survival tool. Imagining the worst does tend to make you more cautious.
But what if you want to transform your life?
You have to overcome your mind if you are every going to change your life. To do that you will need to learn how to take control of your NOW as well as what you imagine about your future.
Think about this: Your brain can’t tell the difference between a past memory, a present event, and what you imagine about the future.
The electrical circuits and chemical response between your brain and body are the same whether you’re thinking about the past, the present, or the future.
You’ve experienced this, haven’t you?
Think about what happens when you watch a movie, or read a book. You feel it in your body as if it’s real.
The same thing happens when you remember past events. You replay the story in your mind and feel the pain, joy, anger, or hurt as if it’s happening right now.
Meet Future You.
I started this blog post by asking where you are right now. And you’re probably wondering where all this is going. Hang with me a little more. I do have a purpose in all this.
Where will you be in ten years?
You see, I don’t want to live my life just repeating my past. I don’t want to live on autopilot!
And, since you’re here, I’m guessing that you want to live a transformed life too.
Ten years from now, you and I will be 4.5 trillion miles from where we are right now. Our solar system moves at 518,000 miles per hour.
So how can you connect to Future You over such a huge gap of time and space?
There’s a principle in quantum mechanics called the Law of Entanglement. It says that when particles of matter are entangled, they influence each other, no matter how far they are separated in space and time. I may be making a quantum leap here, but this suggests how Future You can provide you energy to change your life!
Here’s how to tap into the power of Future You.
Instead of running the VCR tapes from your past, you can create virtual reality, digital stories of Future You. Sure, the stories are in your imagination. But remember, your brain doesn’t know the difference!
Here’s how to make this work in your life.
Write down your goals. What do you want your life to look like in 10 years? Be specific. Where will you be living? What work will you be doing? What were your relationships with your friends and family look like? What kind of car would you have? How much money will you make? What are the things you no longer put up with? What new skills have you learned?
This is the standard goal-setting strategy you’ve heard before. You know the drill. You write out all this stuff and then you take your list and break it down in small steps. Then you work each day to get it done.
The problem I had with the standard goal-setting model was that my autopilot never disengaged. My habits kept me doing the same things over and over. And you know what they say about doing the same things over and over and expecting different results, don’t you? Yes, I drove myself crazy!
I started getting results when I learned to tap into the power of Future Me.
Here’s how that part works.
You do your typical goal setting exercise. Write down the kind of life you want to have one year, five years, 10 years from now. However long you want to imagine into the future to build the life you’re dreaming about.
Now, take these goals and create a mental picture of what your life is like as Future You. Make it your virtual reality! Make it feel real!
Your imagination knows how to do this. When you’re asleep your dreams feel real. Practice using your imagination just as strongly to create Future You and the house you live in, the cars you drive, the life you’re living!
Remember, your imagination is just as powerful as your memory. Use your imagination to turn your list of goals into a story about Future You that is just as real as your memories of your past.
You can find great information and resources to transform your life. You’ll find millions of hits if you Google “self-improvement.”
But there may come a time when you find having a coach will give you the turbo-boost you need to start building the road to your big dreams and goals.
When you’re ready, I’m here to help. Shoot me a quick message to schedule a free 20 minute discovery call.