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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Looking Into Your Past to See Your Future Possible Selves

No, I've not become a fortune teller, nor have I developed the ability to foresee anything specific. I have, however, frequently - over the course of my life - indulged in an activity into which I was just recently having another foray, as I ran across this quotation by Winston Churchill: the more distant we look into the past, the farther we can see into the future.

Let's say you are 30. You take a look at the last 10 years of your life. You see where you were then. You see where you are now. Much of it is a logical progression of time, because much of it is part of how our society works: you finished your schooling, you started working at your chosen profession, you probably fell in love, perhaps you got married and had children, and so on. But: what about where you were ideologically? What about what you enjoyed? What about what you did at some point during those 10 years that had a direct impact on something that is happening now? For example, having chosen to learn a new language at 20 may have created an opportunity when you were 28 that you would simply never have imagined. Or perhaps you enhanced your internet and web skills in some way when you were 22, simply because a hobby of yours required such greater expertise, and that knowledge has now taken you on yet another road you could not have imagined. Perhaps because of the people it led you to meet - not only professionally, but perhaps also in the personal realm of friendship or even love - or perhaps it was simply a stepping stone to something else, but that something else would never have been possible, had you not done the enhancing back when you were 22.

None of the above is spectacularly unheard of, or even very special, yet I find that many - if not most - people simply don't look at their lives this way. But in my own life, I have found that taking such a position of looking through the lens of past time, has often given me great insight into how I might move forward, giving credence to the Churchill quote above. It has allowed me to see the breadth and scope of how my life might change and move forward in the next ten years, albeit not by allowing me to see the specifics of that forward motion.

And of course if you are now 53 and you look back not only over the past 10 years, but perhaps over the past 30 years, using a similarly focused microscope, it allows you glimpses into the potential of the next 30 years.

I can hear some saying why bother? Certainly, this article is not about convincing you to do this. It is, however, about showing you the potential - and rather magnificent and life-giving - excitement you may garner by looking at your past, realizing how truly far you have come in the period of time which you are examining (and I don't just mean externally), and therefore how far you can still go in the equivalent period of time that is ahead of you. Simply seeing and realizing all that happened, how much you changed and all you did in the past period under consideration (see also this magnificent piece on a blog called Brain Pickings that looks at this subject from a somewhat different perspective), may not only excite you, but also incite you to reach for even more - on whatever the level may be that you have under consideration.

Looking into the past in order to see the future is neither a matter of fortune-telling, nor an exercise in irrational futility, but rather, a means to better fully see and understand yourself, to see and understand the many people you have been, and still have the potential to grow into - a kind of future possible self, not only one, but many (the future possible self was, in fact, the topic of my doctoral dissertation, although not in the context of today's post, and is also the sub-title of my first book, extract here). And this future possible self, or many possible selves can be discerned so much more readily by scrutinizing your past and all the past selves that you already were. This exercise - done occasionally - can give much hope and impetus to your present self.


Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions

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Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... próximamente en Amazon en versión bolsillo y E-Libro para Kindle

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Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. 

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