When I was a kid, I went to summer camp. I loved it. In the last week, I would say to myself, “This is the last Monday. How can I make this my best Monday?” I decided on one thing and did that. Those last weeks were my best weeks.
A couple of years went by. I finally realized I could ask that question two weeks from the end of camp. The following year I got even smarter and asked that question halfway through the summer.
I never did ask the question at the start of camp, but I was a kid.
Fast forward umpty-ump years.
I recently realized I could ask this question when I start something new. The question, “How can I use my projected last moment to create a great present moment?” grounds me in the present. It helps me perform a little retrospective as I proceed to create a new great moment.
I don’t always remember to ask that question when I start something new. But when I do, I often end up with a better overall experience.
Here’s why this question works for me:
- I focus on the present.
- Because I focus on the present, I don’t accumulate regrets. In effect, I use my possible regrets to stay in the present.
- I anticipate regrets and work to remove them.
I’m not always correct about what I might regret. However, I am more likely to create multiple and better outcomes for everyone involved.
Multiple Outcomes Creates More Choices
I choose to optimize my present life. Not just to avoid regrets, but to create more alternatives that let me live the life I want. Which often means I need more choices.
I use the Rule of Three a lot. Sometimes, I need this moment question to trigger more options. As a side benefit, when I create more options, I tend to be more satisfied with my choices. And then if I think I need to change to a different choice, I tend to be more satisfied.
If my question doesn’t resonate for you, consider these alternatives:
- How can I use the present to increase my satisfaction? (This is “towards” language.)
- Are there ways to avoid regrets later? (This is “away” language.)
I think it depends on the situation, but some people orient more to “towards” language. “Towards” language means we want the outcome. In this case, increase my satisfaction.
Other people orient more towards “away” language. “Away” language means we want to avoid the outcome. Here, the outcome is to avoid regrets.
There is not one right way, as long as you see you have options and you can choose when to exercise those options.
The question this week is: How can I use my projected last moment to create a great present moment?
Do let me know if you use other language. Thanks!
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