Becoming Future You: The Struggle Between Now and Tomorrow’s Success

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

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One of the big problems with setting goals is that we’re bad at imagining our future self.

Remember what you imagined you’d be as an adult when you were a kid? I’m guessing there are some gaps between that dream and your current reality.

In 1991, a Bollywood celebrity was asked, “How much money do you require?” His answer was, “I guess Rs.10 Lakh… It seems like a decent number to have for your future.”

Today, the same celebrity seems insecure even with several hundred crore.

What about your business goals?

If you are like most business owners or professionals in this industry, chances are you have set long term business goals. You might even have a dream about the future.

Despite this, aren’t there gaps between your business dreams/goals and your current business realities?

I bet there are.

In the same way, there will be gaps between your current reality and your future self. And that’s partially because when we talk about dreams and goals, we’re often talking about long time frames. Consider retirement, for example. That could be upwards of 20 or 30 years from now. You can’t even imagine yourself at that age, let alone plan for it. That’s your parents, not you!

Our future self often seems like a stranger to us. While we might intellectually know that we must take care of this person, the reality is that we don’t feel for this person the way we feel for our present self.

You know it is in your best interest to do this thing today (fill in the blank for whatever you have been avoiding doing) for the future of your firm, for your clients, for your team, for your family, and for yourself. For a moment let’s not fixate on what this thing is. It could be anything. It could be collaborating with someone. It could be investing in your business. It could be marketing. It could be reimagining your business. It could be writing. Let’s assume for now that it’s this thing. It’s your ‘this thing’.

But for some reason, you don’t do ‘this thing’, you never get to doing this thing because you are busy with current things. You are busy trying to be a better “Present You whereas you should have focused on trying to become a new and successfulFuture You”.

The reality is that this new Future You lives in the Future. This journey is one of transformation (and not about simply getting better). This journey requires you to unlearn. This journey requires you to be uncomfortable.  However, this new future you is not here to hold you accountable. Your new future you is merely a helpless spectator.

When you start talking about your distant future self, it’s easy to rationalize the decision to not do anything. Something 30 years down the road sounds an awful lot like something that can be started tomorrow.

In fact, your future self can often feel like some other annoying person constantly stealing heaps of fun from your current self.

And yet, while your future self may feel like a big old pain in the neck, it’s important to realize that appeasing that person is still very much in your best interest.

There is an interesting HBR Column “You Need to Practice Being Your Future Self” by Peter Bregman that I read recently.

Peter wrote, “I was coaching Sanjay, a leader in a technology firm who felt stuck and frustrated. He wasn’t where he wanted to be at this point in his career.

He had come to our coaching session, as usual, prepared to discuss the challenges he was currently facing. This time, it was his plan for conducting compensation conversations with each of his employees. After a few minutes of listening to him talk through his plans, I interrupted him.

“Sanjay, you’ve had these kinds of conversations before, right?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“And, for the most part, you know how to do them, right?”

“Yes,” he said again.

“Great. Let’s talk about something else.”

“But this is what’s on my mind right now,” he protested. “It’s helpful to think it through with you.”

“I’m glad it’s helpful, Sanjay,” I said. “But you don’t want me to be merely helpful. 

You want me to be transformational. And focusing on what’s top of mind for you right now is not going to get us there.

You see, the reason Sanjay is stuck — and the reason many of us feel that way — is that we focus on what’s present for us at any particular moment.

On the other hand, what most of us want most is to move forward. And, by definition, paying attention to the present keeps us where we are. So, sure, I can help Sanjay be a better “present” Sanjay. But I will have a much greater impact if I help him become a successful “future” Sanjay.”

Bang On! This is exactly what you need too…

You need to spend time on the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts. In other words — and this is the hard part — if you want to be productive, you need to spend time doing things that feel ridiculously unproductive even though none of us like doing things that feel unproductive…

Peter added, “That’s a trick your busy self plays on you to keep you away from the scary stuff you’re not yet good at and that isn’t yet productive. Sometimes you need to be irresponsible with your current challenges to make real progress on your future self. You must let the present just sit there, untended. It’s not going away and will never end. That’s the nature of the present.

You may not end up with an empty email inbox. You may not have the perfect compensation conversations. You may not please everyone. But I’m willing to bet that you will do those things well enough.

It’s the other stuff I worry about. The wildly important stuff that never gets done because there’s no time or it’s not urgent or it’s too hard or risky or terrifying. That’s the stuff I want to help you work on.

We all need help on the important things that never get done. You, me, and everyone.

You may feel like you’re still 30, but if you just celebrated (or mourned) turning 40, it’s time to get real. Our future self will be here faster than we think. 



P.S.: We are here TO HELP…to help you on this journey of unlearning, relearning, and doing things that will help you UNLOCKING YOUR REAL POTENTIAL