I love the movie Back To The Future. The idea of going back in time to change things in a way that alters our future (our now) for the better and therefore creating the life we want. What an awesome thought!
As awesome as it sounds, unfortunately it’s just not possible. What is possible is to start making decisions and changes TODAY that will create for us the future we want for ourselves.
The Sliding Doors Theory / Creating Your Future
In 1998, Gwyneth Paltrow starred in a movie called Sliding Doors. In the film, she’s a young Englishwoman living in London who has just been fired from her public relations job. The plot splits into two parallel universes, based on the two paths her life could take depending on whether she catches a London Underground train or not.
I’ve always found this concept fascinating, the idea of our lives splitting into two different paths based on circumstances. In the movie of course, these two parallel universes are created by fate, her catching the train or not catching the train.
What if we took fate out of the equation and replaced it with decisions we make? How do the decisions we make today effect our lives tomorrow? Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to see what our lives would look like, these two parallel universes based on the decisions we’ve made?
We’ve all asked ourselves the “what if” question at one point or another.
What if… I had followed through on my weight loss plan?
What if… I had committed to running that marathon or half marathon?
What if… I had or hadn’t gone to college?
What if… I would have taken that job offer?
What if… I had started that business?
What if… I would’ve traveled more?
What if… I would’ve moved to a new city?
What if… I would’ve went on that second date?
What if… I would’ve ended that relationship sooner?
We could go on and on here and I’m sure we all have our own “what if” questions.
I definitely encourage reflecting back on our decisions and our outcomes as a learning process. Similar to sports teams watching film of previous games to learn and identify what they could have done differently to be better next time.
I do not on the other hand encourage dwelling on the past and using it as a crutch, preventing us from moving forward and progressing towards a happy and fulfilling life that we want for ourselves.
Our Decisions Dictate Our Outcomes
What we set our sights on may not be exactly where we land at times but we do end up in the general vicinity of where we want to be versus where we know we do not want to be.
A. You set your sights on losing 50lbs by your 40th birthday. You lose 40lbs instead. While you didn’t lose the 50lbs you set out to lose, you’re in an entirely new world being 40lbs lighter versus never have started at all.
B. You set your sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You run your heart out and miss the qualifying time but you ran your fastest time ever, setting a new PR (personal record) for yourself.
C. You make the decision to go to college for a certain major and graduate four years later with a completely different major. You may not have graduated with the degree you intended to graduate with, but you have a degree, an education, new friends, and experiences regardless of what you majored in.
D. You start a new business and it fails. You’ve learned lots along the way, what works and what doesn’t and have made several contacts within the business and are more confident than ever to try again and get it right the next time versus never having taken the chance and remaining at a job where you are unhappy and unfulfilled.
Create Your Future By Altering Your Life’s Trajectory
I’m certainly no Picasso but the graph below is intended to provide you with a visual as to what it means to alter your life’s trajectory to create the future you want. (Click image to enlarge)
If you continue on the path you are currently on, your life’s trajectory will lead you to similar outcomes you’re currently experiencing. It will keep you in the same universe you are currently in. We’ll call it Universe One.
A decision, a single decision you make that supports a future or a life you desire will alter your life’s trajectory and begin to move you closer and in the direction of the universe that you often think about, dream about, and want to be in. We’ll call it Universe Two.
[box] “The definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviors and expecting a different outcome.” ~ Albert Einstein[/box]
The more decisions you make along the way that supports the future and the life you want, the more you guide your life’s trajectory towards Universe Two, where you want to be.
Notice that what we aim for and where we land doesn’t always match up. That’s OK.
Whether we land where we intended to land or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that we are no longer headed towards a life we do not want to be living or be a part of anymore (Universe One). We are now headed towards a future, a life that we do want. A life of happiness and fulfillment (Universe Two).
“The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It.” ~Abraham Lincoln
What decisions have you made that have altered your life’s trajectory? What decision will you make today that will move you closer to the life you want? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.