Perspective can be hard to find. My job, my life, my relationships and even my news feed can leave me stressed out and unable to see what I need to in order to process an issue or to make a good decision. For a few weeks I have been trying to follow Ryan Holiday’s advice from his new book Conspiracy:
Practice the exercise of flashing forward to the future. “How will I feel about this with the passage of time?” Usually the answer is: “I won't feel whatever it is so acutely.” The loss of a loved one, a breakup, some public embarrassment… In five years, are you still going to be mortified, or are you still going to be wracked with grief? Probably not. That's not saying that you won't feel bad, but you're not going to feel as terrible as you do now. So, why are you punishing yourself?
The things which make me feel stress, anger and pressure over today are feelings that do not last into the future. They come, they go, and when I look back on these kinds of situations I think of them as growing moments and occasionally something to laugh about. I have a hard time of thinking through to exactly a year from now or three years from now and instead I use important dates on the calendar. How will I feel about this at Thanksgiving? Next year? When Sloan starts school in 2022? When I use this frame of reference I can transport my mind into the future to look back on today. The stress begins to evaporate, I stop punishing myself and I can make the right moves.