The 'future self' strategy is a simple and positive way to becoming your best self
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Who do you want to be in ten years? Do you want to be someone who's more compassionate? More wealthy? Physically fit? Married? Less of a push-over? A better golfer? More spiritual?

Some of us who sincerely ask ourselves this question will be able to become the person they imagine while others will not. Why? According to scientific research, the difference between failure and success is the ability to create a clear vision of our future selves.

Those who achieve this vision are more likely to behave in ways that are conducive to reaching their goals.


To put it bluntly, if you have a strong mental visualization of a future you that is in shape, you will be less likely to eat a bag of donuts and smoke a pack of cigarettes today.

A major reason why people fail to visualize a future self is they don't believe they will change significantly. Psychologist Dan Gilbert explained this cognitive trap perfectly in his 2014 Ted Talk.

"Most of us can remember who we were 10 years ago, but we find it hard to imagine who we're going to be, and then we mistakenly think that because it's hard to imagine, it's not likely to happen," Gilbert said.

"Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished," Gilbert continues. "The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you've ever been. The one constant in our life is change."

via Ted

The good news is that you are going to change over the next ten years. So the best thing to do is have a target to reach or else you will most likely be walking around in circles and changing in ways which you cannot control.

According to psychologist Hal Hershfield, the most important thing is to create a future self that you can relate to and see as yourself. If you visualize a future self that is completely different than your current self or one that isn't clearly articulated, you will fail to reach your goals.

"Seeing the future self as another person, albeit one who feels close to us now, may allow for more patient, long-term decision-making," Hershfield wrote. "Seeing the distant future self as an emotional stranger, however, may result in decisions that prioritize today over tomorrow."

Hershfeld and his colleagues were able to witness this disconnect between our current and future selves using fMRI technology. Participants who had a closer connection to the future self they visualized were more likely to make thoughtful financial decisions.

Those who thought their future self looked like another person, were more likely to think of their future self as a stranger. So they made financial decisions that were more reckless.

Benjamin Hardy, PhD says that the best way to become the future selves we desire is to harness the power of your identity.

"Identity is crucial for driving present behavior," Hardy wrote in Fast Company. "A core tenet in psychology is that the best way to predict a person's future behavior is by looking at their past behavior. However, when you've clarified your future self, and are actively chasing it … then your future — not your past — can be what is predicting your behavior.

Our personal identities are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and are so powerful they are nearly impervious. Identities are the reason why people with dogmatic political beliefs can be shown facts that contradict their opinions and still refuse to change.


via Unsplash

"The brain's primary responsibility is to take care of the body, to protect the body," Jonas Kaplan, a psychologist at the University of Southern California, told Vox. "The psychological self is the brain's extension of that. When our self feels attacked, our [brain is] going to bring to bear the same defenses that it has for protecting the body."

So imagine if you took the most stubborn part of yourself and programmed it to become the person you wish to be?

One way to get started is by writing a letter to your future self.

Make the future you in 5, 10 or 20 years your pen pal. Frequently write to them explaining who you are today and the person you hope to become. This will create a kinship with your future self and make it more likely for you to know what that person will want and desire.

Hardy also has a checklist of how to "define and become your future self."

Imagine who your future self is.

Hold your current identity more "loosely," knowing that who you are right now is temporary, not permanent.

Have the courage to admit what you truly want (tell people about your future self).

Use your new narrative, focused on your goals, to drive your daily decisions and behavior.

Measure your progress (deliberate practice).

Invest in your future self (escalation of commitment)

Never be defined by who you are right now.

Who is your future self?

Where will you be in 10 years?

Who are you "chasing"?

Research shows that you will definitely change over the next ten years. So now's the time to decide, will it be self-directed or the result of day-in and day-out behaviors done with no clear goal?

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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