Pretend You Are Older

How would a wiser you look at your decisions? From arv1502's Flickr photostream

I am continually amazed at how fast life moves. It feels like the decades have flown by like a dream and the next ten years will surely pass by quickly as well. The conundrum is that we have to live with decisions that could have benefitted from a greater degree of experience and wisdom.

Imagine if you could tell your younger self how to approach many of the major decisions you made in your younger years. More than likely, failures could have been minimized and greater opportunities could have been pursued. Youth is indeed wasted on the young in many ways.

With such perspective about how the past could have been addressed, what if you pretended you were older? What lens would you be viewing your decisions through? How would your life look different in the following areas?

  • Risk. Would you change quicker instead of holding onto a compromise? Starting something new or going after a dream might make a lot more sense.
  • People. Are you surrounding yourself with people that help you grow? Would you build relationships that expand your life?
  • Knowledge. If you don’t know much, then you don’t get very far in life. What would your older self value in terms of using your time intentionally to gain knowledge?
  • Money. Is there a rat race that continues to persist without end? Why not jump off and blaze a new path? Wouldn’t your older self see a rat race as pure madness?
  • Love. If you built up more people and showed more love, how rich would your life be? If you learned to forgive and be forgiven, how could life open up?
  • Time. You don’t get time back. How much did you waste on meaningless activities such as television or idle gossip? Would you have invested your time differently?

I try to think about my decisions in terms of a longer perspective. It gives me both urgency to work hard towards better things each day as well as avoid the scripts of inexperience. Visualizing what wisdom from the years might say often sends me on a different trajectory and motivates me in working hard towards something more meaningful.

What would your older self say to you? Come on, pretend.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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