Hindsight and Foresight

Monday May 31, 2021

[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1396123/8608779 and to watch the video please click here: https://youtu.be/Ic1OwF6UOCw]

Footsteps to a better vision of the future.

If you don’t want dramatic change in your life, today’s blog probably isn’t for you. I do. I want more wisdom to make better decisions. On reflection, I think Hindsight is usually a spiteful companion. Its vision is too often accompanied with feelings of regret, and whilst I believe we really can learn from it, generally speaking I’m against it. It’s a bit of a smarty-pants and its arrogance is based upon an inaccurate grasp of reality.

I had this thought, “Hindsight is the luxury afforded to those who possess more knowledge.” When you and I say, “With hindsight, I would have chosen a different path…” we mean that, “Now that I have more knowledge of the consequences, I think I would have made different choices!”

How much better to have a foretaste of those consequences before we make decisions that can harm our future.

On the video, I quote the wonderful words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Light tomorrow with today.” The decisions we make today, will ‘light’ or ‘darken’ tomorrow. The thoughts we think, the words we say, the actions we take, all will change the future – for better or for worse. Knowing this, I need a better strategy than Hindsight. Hindsight’s like crying over spilt milk!

My chosen strategy, going forward, is to invest more time and thought in Foresight. I may not have sufficient foreknowledge of the future to always make the best decisions, but if I tweak the way I approach Foresight, I think I can make a better job of decision-making from now on.

I share this in case you, too, have a desire for a bigger, better, bolder, brighter future, and you’d relish some techniques to make that future more likely.

My strategy is two-fold. Firstly, to put every decision within a longer timeframe. Secondly, to realise that there is an ecological impact to every choice. For example, saying, “Yes!” to an invitation to spend time with someone necessarily means that time is no longer available for anything else. Decisions are always a ‘package deal’ and each package has a ‘package price.’

Timeframe first. I made many decisions that made sense ‘in the moment’ and within a small timeframe. Long-term, these decisions were harmful. I know that if I had chosen to press ‘pause’ and had paused for thought, things may have been different. In that pause, I would have asked myself, “If you take this step, what will the consequences be like one year from now? And in two years? Three years? Five years? Ten years? Twenty years?” If we are to light tomorrow with today, let’s look far, far, far into the future in the light of today’s decisions to predict what may happen as a result.

Package deal. I used to fancy a friend’s partner. Naughty, I know, and I never acted upon that unhelpful desire. But what was helpful is that for some insightful reason I thought about the package. Her house was lovely, her lifestyle was attractive, she was gorgeous, but her kids were horrible. I realised, any future with her included the kids! I know that’s a morally reprehensible example, but it’s a powerful one, and it helped me. It was amazing how my attitude changed with that bit of wisdom.

You and I are going to make some decisions today. Let’s make them within a ten-year time frame. “If I take this action, what will be the impact over ten years?” And let’s ask ourselves, “What comes attached to this decision? What’s the package?” Hopefully, this will give us the wisdom of Foresight so that when we look back in ten years’ time, we can say, “With Hindsight, that was a good decision!”

A Moodscope member.

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