Shay Carl recommends that we should ask ourselves the question “What would I probably tell myself as 10 year older version of myself?”.
Of course you can’t, you know what would 10-year-older version of yourself would tell you. Because you can’t really see into the future.
So what is the point of that question?
What you get from asking that question is the list of all the things you know and feel you should be doing, but you’re not really focusing on them enough.
It’s those things that your prefrontal cortex is telling you to do, but you keep getting distracted by shiny things. It’s those things that in Stephen Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) in the “important, but not urgent” quadrant of his famous time management matrix.
This was a quick exercise, almost effortless. I got these points I could imagine 48 old Martina would tell myself (in no particular order)
- When you start something, give it a proper try and don’t just half-ass it (e.g. LHS meetup, blog).
- Keep learning. Set 2 hours at least 2x a week to learn and stick to it. Do paid courses to increase skin in the game. Make notes from books and podcasts, and feed important things somewhere where you will learn/remember it (Anki?).
- Spend more time with your family. And friends too.
- Be braver. Get out of your comfort zone. Fail from time to time – if you don’t, it means you’re not growing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people for things (and don’t spend hours planning it). Stop endlessly editing every piece of writing or email.
- Continue eating healthy. Never miss an opportunity to go to bathroom*. Fast more often, and longer. Meditate more. Do yoga to keep joints happy.
- Be less judgmental and more observant (towards others and yourself).
- Be grateful more often.
- Don’t just save, invest.
- Buy more cryptocurrencies, diversify. (or could it be “sell all your crypto while it’s still worth something”?).
- Don’t waste time on social media, unless it’s for a specific purpose.
All of these are common sense – and I’m at least partially doing most of them. But like Odysseus, I know I can’t trust myself when I’ll hear the Siren song of distraction and laziness.
To remind myself about these important things, I set up an automated future email to myself with subject “Live by this (awesome) advice by your future self” and I will receive this email roughly every 3 weeks.
I’ll probably have to change the subject occasionally to keep my attention, but you get the idea.
Does it work so far?
Yes, at least partially. I’m particularly happy with these three things I did since I wrote these down:
- I’ve recently done 96 hour fast (my longest so far!)
- I’ve just finished online course on Agile methodology.
- I’m diligently taking notes of the most important findings form podcasts and books, and go back to them
But not everything worked immediately. I still look at social media more than I should, I haven’t invested yet, and I still only own small amount of the same 3 cryptocurrencies. And I’m as afraid of failure as ever.
But I think it helps to remind myself of things that are good in the long run. I really believe that when the email comes again in 3 weeks, I’ll find out that I made progress on more points.