Monday, February 27, 2017

Thinking Backward to Move Forward

When it comes to Personal Development you likely have a laundry list of things you'd like to do, things you think you should do and things you think you'd better do. There is seemingly never a shortage of actions we could take that would 'improve' us, our careers, our lives in some way. The challenge, of course, is that we can't actively work on them all. In which case, we need to choose what to focus on to move us forward.

The best way to move through the clutter of improvement projects is to consider...

If you were looking back at your life two years from now, what would you have done over those two years for you to feel good about yourself and your achievements?

This question is designed to help you clear your way through all of the mind-clutter and to hone in on those actions that will net you the result you desire. The reason this technique works so well is that looking forward is difficult while looking backward is easy. Looking forward means that we are peering into the unknown, which can cause us to hesitate in making choices in case we choose wrong. We don't want to waste the next two years working on something that doesn't move us in the desired direction and we therefore fail to commit to taking action.

However, when we look backward we are typically reviewing fact. We are able to discern what actions we took that led to the results we achieved. Placing ourselves two years into the future and directing our minds to look back over the past two years, to review what actions we would have taken to achieve what we did, plays upon that fact-based mind-set we expect to have when looking backward. It again helps us to reduce the list of possible actions to those that will make the difference for us.

Being in that fact-based mind-set also helps us to recognise the actions we need to take from those we are comfortable in taking. This technique therefore helps to shift us out of our comfort zone by acknowledging the actions we need to take to reach our desired goal.

When we look forward to our desired goal we may be able to identify the steps we need to take but we are then also faced with doubts as to our capability.  However, when we start at the end and look back our mind is already viewing those same actions as steps we have already taken and therefore builds our confidence and capability. This simple redirection of thought breaks down our barriers and self-doubts rather than building them up.

We know that our mind is a powerful tool that will help us to achieve what we can conceive and believe.  Starting with a vision of the successful future you desire, and then looking backward at what you have done to get there, trains your mind to believe in the possibility.

  1. What does your desired future look like 2 years from now?
  2. What steps did you take to get there?
  3. You've got your action list, start making it happen.

Three steps to ensuring that you are doing what you need today to have the life that you want and envision tomorrow. There's really nothing like thinking backward to help you in moving forward.

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