Last night after a delicious dinner with friends, the conversation steered into life decisions and the practice of projecting oneself into the future.
Visualizing my future self in 1, 5, and 10 years is an exercise I've been doing for over a decade and will keep doing because it gives me a sense of direction.
When I review my notes, I'm often surprised how close I've come to my original vision. Maybe I’m guilty of crafting a narrative with the benefit of hindsight but I think the visualization exercise plays a part.
Visualization seems powerful because by repeatedly honing on a vision my brain internalizes it and subconsciously steers me into that particular direction.
And the beauty of this is that it doesn't preclude serendipity and randomness. The details matter less than the direction.
The point is not to map everything in detail and turn on the autopilot.
It is about being mindful of one's decisions and current life.
Four years ago I didn't know I was going to end up living in California, working at various startups, and even marrying!
But by projecting myself 5 years into the future, I understood that I didn't want to carry on with a Ph.D. in Computer Science and I didn't want to stay in the UK.
Visualizing your future self and constantly reviewing your vision is a great mechanism to understand if you're living your best life yet.
And much like Jeff Bezos' regret minimization framework , I can't recommend it enough.