One of the unique endowments we have as human beings is the ability to imagine ourselves outside of the now. This can be just as inhibiting as it is facilitating though. Forever stuck in the past, there are some of us who squander our time reminiscing our “glory days” when we should be focusing on where we are going instead of where we have gone. This is not to say that memories are detrimental. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, however if we are wasting our energies living in a memory of better days, there won’t be enough reserve left to brighten our future. It’s using the future to stimulate us to a better present that allows us to break our former bounds and live a life of excellence.
Let me explain…
A favorite technique I like to use is something that many of you probably have already heard of. It’s called the Rocking Chair Test. What you do is imagine yourself in the future, let’s say when you’re 85 years old, sitting in your rocking chair and reflecting on your past life. Imagine how you would feel at that moment if you continued to make the same choices and followed the same patterns you’ve been doing up to now. Could you look back on your life and say that it was one filled with service, love, passion, success, basically all the things that would cause you to have no regrets? If you can say yes, then you pass the Rocking Chair Test.
Let’s take this one step further and apply it to goal achievement. I’m sure there is something in your life that you would like to achieve or have wanted to achieve but for some reason, perhaps out of fear or laziness, you haven’t developed enough leverage to get going.
For example’s sake, let’s use starting your own business as a goal. Fast forward to your rocking chair again and look back at your life, imagining what it would cost you if you’d never taken the opportunity to start your dream business. What opportunities for wealth, growth, and financial independence would you have forfeited because of your fear or laziness?
If you can do this with enough visualization, imagining yourself really sitting on that chair, looking back at your past life and experiencing the regret, you will notice a powerful shift in your thinking. This in itself can cause enough leverage to really push yourself out of your laziness or fear and spur you to action.
If this isn’t enough to get you going, then maybe you’re like the jackass, needing both a stick and a carrot. This time when you visualize looking back at your life, picture what it would be like if you made the decision to start your own business. Imagine the sense of accomplishment you’d feel and the success that it would bring you. Notice how your life would be different. Again, the more powerful you can imagine this, the more pressure it will give you to take action.
I’ve found that using the rocking chair technique provides a quick and powerful way to propel yourself out of your current state and into a more resourceful one. You truly can use your future possibilities to motivate your present realities.