Events and Life Mindsets

If I could just go back in time and make better decisions …

“If I could just go back in time and do that differently …”

If you have ever said those words (or thought them), you probably imagined an alternate timeline when you were able to correct a mistake or make a different decision about something that led to your current situation.

Leaving aside the current reality that time is very much a linear experience in one direction, it is appealing to think we could be living a better life if only we made different choices.

I’ve certainly thought about it. Each time I considered the hypothetical possibility that I could go back in time and change something, I arrived at the same conclusion: I would probably lose the wonderful things I have in my life too.

If I gave a different answer then a relationship would have ended sooner and I wouldn’t have made that [insert adjective here] decision later. Then I could have avoided [insert consequences here] and I would be so much better off now!

Sure, if I had 3 wishes and a genie to grant them I’d probably make a couple changes here and there (I’ve thought about this too!). I doubt they would be as dramatic as you may think.

I’ve come to understand that all my past mistakes also involved a series of decisions that led me to this life with a wonderful wife and children and an opportunity to have the experiences I have today.

More recently, I also realised that this idea that we could make different choices to affect our future lives isn’t just a phenomenon of the past. It is very much part of our present too.

This isn’t quite a “Road Not Taken” realisation. Instead what I realised is that each decision we make could one day become that decision we will wish we could have made differently.

It is easy to wish we could be transported back in time to correct a wrong at some perceived pivotal point in our lives. It is also easy to imagine that, by correcting that wrong and making a different decision, we would place our future selves in a far better position. It’s easy because we know we can’t go back in time.

Unfortunately, that desire to change something we can’t influence also keeps us tied to the past and prevents us from moving forward with the life we have now.

What we can influence, though, is the next decision we make. What if we project ourselves forward a few years and consider what impact a decision may have on our lives? Perhaps we could glimpse a likely future and make a better decision now and save ourselves that future angst.

We all make mistakes. I make mistakes daily. Some are minor, others not so much. Learning from those mistakes is an important step towards greater self-awareness and not repeating them.

I think it is also possible to make better decisions and smaller mistakes with a little imagination and foresight. In the process, perhaps we’ll also find ourselves wondering: “If I could just go back in time and do that differently …” a little less often in the future.

Featured image credit: Pixabay


“When we say we have no choice, we feel trapped and we are powerless”

Here is a great perspective on saying you have “no choice” about something:

When we say we have no choice, we feel trapped and we are powerless. That’s no way to do our work every day.

Read Seth Godin’s “No Choice” for more.

Events and Life Mindsets

Create a 2015 you will want to remember

2014 has turned out to be a pretty challenging year and not necessarily in a happy way. I was about to say “not in a good way” but you have a choice how to view your challenges in your life. You can see them as curses sent to make you miserable or mountains to climb so you can learn something new; experience something better or just get to the other side.

I’ve had a pretty challenging 2014 and it wasn’t always easy to adopt a positive approach to my challenges but, ultimately, you have to make a choice. Either you tackle those challenges in some way or you let them determine how you will experience your life at that time. I read an inspiring post the other night titled “How to Ruin Your Life (Without Even Noticing That You Are)” which includes this cautionary note:

You ruin your life by letting your past govern it. It is common for certain things in life to happen to you. There will be heartbreak, confusion, days where you feel like you aren’t special or purposeful. There are moments that will stay with you, words that will stick. You cannot let these define you – they were simply moments, they were simply words. If you allow for every negative event in your life to outline how you view yourself, you will view the world around you negatively.

I have no idea what awaits me in 2015. I am certain I will face more challenges and my decisions about those challenges will probably vary. I do know that I will begin 2015 in a very different place (literally and figuratively) and I am very grateful about that. I have my wife and children with me and I am living in an amazing country with so much to offer us. The only choice I really have is to keep moving forward (or, like Dory says, “just keep swimming”) and to make better decisions about my future challenges.

Have a happy new year. Create a 2015 you will want to remember and not a year you will be glad to see the end of.


Why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same t-shirt every day

I just watched Mark Zuckerberg’s response to a question about his t-shirt choice (apparently a similar grey t-shirt every day) and, as he said, it sounds silly but makes a lot of sense. At least, to me.

I’ve been thinking about all the choices I have in a different context and how having all those choices is pretty counter-productive. I have a lot of apps on my phone with several duplicates for a couple functions. For example, for social (personal) stuff I have –

  1. Facebook
  2. Path
  3. Google+

Of those three, Facebook is the only one with real traction for me, despite my preference for Path as a better app for social sharing (in theory, at least). I find myself wondering more and more why I still have Path and Google+ on my phone when I could still share meaningfully with just Facebook.

Take it a step in a different direction. I have Foursquare and Swarm to find friends and places to eat/shop/fill-up alongside Facebook which, although it doesn’t quite match Foursquare, covers quite a bit of ground. Maybe I could simplify some more and just use Facebook for location-based stuff too?

The same thing applies to productivity stuff too. Why bother with iWork when I use Google Apps far more anyway? I certainly don’t need Microsoft’s iOS app suite. On a related note, I’m not sure why I still have Simplenote or Drafts when I am pretty much an Evernote person for the most part with Byword for plain text notes (or perhaps Byword should give way to Drafts which is much more flexible anyway).

I could probably cut back on the apps on my devices by half to two thirds if I stopped thinking “I might want to use that one day” and really streamline my decisions when I just want to do something.

Do I really want to have to decide between 3 or 4 photo apps when I just want to take a photo?

I think Zuckerberg is right. It does sound silly when he explains why he wears a similar grey t-shirt every day but why waste that time and those thought cycles on deciding which t-shirt to wear when you have so much bigger and more important decisions to make?