Have you ever had a decision to make and you just can’t seem to figure out what to do? Oftentimes the intensity of our present circumstances cloud our judgement. Then later in life, you will hear yourself saying, “I wish I had…” As we all know, you can’t go back in time. There are no replays and being able to make the right decisions in the present is critical. I’ve used a simple tool over the years that helps me in those times and I call it the “5 year rule”.
We’ve all heard of the expression hindsight is 20/20. We all know that 20/20 refers to perfect vision, and when you are looking back at something that already occurred you have the clarity of perfect vision to see the entire situation precisely. We can see what went right and what could have been improved upon? When a situation presents itself we are consumed with the circumstances of the moment and we are often driven by negativity and the avoidance of fear or pain. We worry about what people are going to say, the challenges of the various options, and how we are feeling in that very moment. In the present, we do not always have the hindsight or the clarity to make the decision. The 5 year rule tool has worked for me over the years to provide perspective and clarity.
Photo credit @burst
When I have a decision to make, and I am not certain after weighing the options, I simply ask myself what will I wish I had done 5 years from now. Putting yourself in the future, looking back at the present, and incorporating my goals, has a way of removing all the trivial worries that clouds my judgement. It gives me the clarity and hindsight in the present. Last week I wrote about enjoying life’s journey. The idea that you want to live life to the fullest and not leave any opportunity unturned. The 5 year rule really helps with this.
I have an adventurous husband and 2 active boys. Although I consider myself active, there are times when I prefer to just relax with a glass of wine. You know… early morning, long work day, lots of juggling and time to chill. Then my son came along and said, “Mom will you come outside and play basketball with us.” My instinct is to say, “I’ve had a long day, why don’t you play without me.” BUT The 5 year rule, removes the perspective of the now, and all that is left is not doing it results in no fun memories. Will I remember sitting and just relaxing alone with a glass of wine? Probably not. If I go play with my kids outside, in 5 years from now, I will have the memory of playing with my kids. So, the decision is easy. This is a little example, but you can see how asking yourself what will I wish I had done 5 years from now, really does give you clarity in the moment.
Perspective is a powerful thing. When we look at things from different perspectives, we draw different conclusions. Our perspective shapes our decisions on a daily basis and ultimately shapes our lives. Sometimes you have to take yourself out of the present to have the best perspective.
So when life presents you with a little or big choice, stop and ask yourself what will you wish you had done in 5 years from now, and hopefully you will make a decision based on the right perspective!
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