We tend to think all the time.
That is exactly how our brain is wired, and that is how it should function. Sometimes, the thinking gets on my nerve as it really isn’t leading me anywhere. What happened is already etched in the time-space reality that I have lived through, what will happen is an intersection of millions of possibilities that can manifest in the time-space that I will be in, and what is today goes past so quickly that I hardly have time to evaluate how it is affected by the decided (past) and what I have decided (for the future).
“You cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking backwards.”
It was much earlier than I actually came across this quote by Steve Jobs, I was playing the connect the dots game in exactly the same fashion as Jobs asks you to play the game of life. When you are at the final destination, it easier to retrace all the turns and rounds that you took on the way, but while on the way to the final point, every step feels like a wrong decision as it is always a trade-off. If someone picked me up like they do to a crawling toddler, put me in another direction in 2009, and asked me to be where I am today, (Behind Embassy Tech Village, Bellandur, writing this piece of text) I know, I would never be able to make it. I am very happy with what I do today. I could’ve been much worse off really (remembering the way I used to be in college). BUT
I could’ve been something much better.
With each decision you take, you cut down the possible outcomes by a factor of millions if not billions. With each passing day, the final destination, does not always come closer, but starts getting moulded into a very identifiable shape. With such caveats about decision taking in the picture, how do you make that SWOT chart for life ? There is no series A, B or C. There was capital that you got born with and it is only now diminishing. With this heavy thought always floating at the back of your head, how do you make sure that all you decide to do today, will reap the best rewards for you ?
“So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
I need to trust my faculties to stop my over-correcting, over-thinking of the future. It is this trust that is so hard to build. While trust in others is touted as something that our generation is poor with, trust in myself is what I feel I am poorer at. I am always outside looking for inspiration, motivation and guidance to get my present life in order, but I forget that the motivator has only figured out the solution for only one combination out of the possible billions^billions. In such a case, I need to be my own yardstick. What I need is not persistent questioning of the decision I took, but precise questioning of why I took the same and if it aligns with what I am. This trust in my own self is something I seek and I feel will become instrumental in cutting down time which I spend in concocting reassurance that help me soothe my nerves and freeing up some head-space which is in a perennial state of unrest.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
All the talk about being here today and trusting yourself is encouraging but Abraham Lincoln very very clearly tells us to pause and stare into that realm of uncertainty and chalk our plans accordingly. Worrying for tomorrow should be given up, but keeping a blind eye to what could happen tomorrow because of what you do today is sad. If it was not for vision, Apple would not be what it is today, Virat Kohli would be just another batsman and BJP would not be winning in 90% of all elections post 2014. A clear vision is necessary in keeping the present comfortable to live in and being happy with the decisions you took in the past. As humans, we are doomed to think about where we end up in 5,10 and 15 years time. To be honest HR rounds haven’t been real helpful either. But this doom liberates us from being too shot-sighted and burning all that capital in one single GO. While keeping a fixed target is foolish, defining tenets (if not a single vision) for future helps reduce the anxiety to a great extent. The tenet could be as simple as : I should be able to buy bread and coffee every day from Starbucks to as complex as : I should be able to let go of everything 10 years down the line.
A clear tenet tends to shape into a crispier and definitive FORESIGHT much more easily if I take my present decisions based on the INSIGHTS that I have gathered while evaluating everything in my HINDSIGHT.2019
PS : Getting back to writing after a long long while. Chose this tough topic cause I wanted to get all your insights on how you deal with this perpetual thought cycle at a personal level.
A graduate from BITS Pilani, class of 2019, I am currently working as a Product Manager at Flipkart. I like to write about things that get stuck in my head. By writing I make sure everyone knows what absurd thoughts I have :P Thanks for visiting.