My Time Machine has an Escape Hatch

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When it comes to time machine stories they always show people going back. Back to fix something with the knowledge we have now. Back to a moment they regret. Back to see a loved one. Even in Back to the Future they go back more than they go forward. Have you ever thought of why?

Confidence, familiarity and comfort.

For the most part we know what has happened or will happen. There is power in knowing how things turn out and the opportunity to fix things, whereas there is fear in not knowing what comes next.

If you consider using it to travel to the future, there is uncertainty. We are at a disadvantage. The future represents the unknown and for most people, this is uncomfortable, stressful and even frightening. In dealing with your self-doubt monster, you need to consider the present and future. The past is over. Done. Nothing you can do about it. The only thing you actually have control over is the present and in turn, the future. What you are doing right now? This exact moment. Okay, okay -- at this moment you’re reading this but stay with me. We spend far too much time in regret; the past. Shit happens! For some us often! Get over it.

There are only two things you should do with the past, 1) learn from it and 2) move on. If we spend too much time in regret and reflection we forget the present and miss out on so much. Soon, we’ll regret the wasted time we spent on regret. See the loop here?

Your self-destructive monster is built on the past. It’s built on fear. The fear of repeating past mistakes. The fear of the future. The fear of the unknown. The people that make up its pieces are all reflections of the past. Even the social media pieces that we judge ourselves by are in the past.

This is particularly important to keep in mind on your journey of self-improvement. The minute you stop your time machine in the past it will bring up insecurities, anxiety and regret. It can erode much of the positive changes that you have worked so hard to build.

Your monster is standing there, drink in hand with all of the cool kids, pointing at you. I remember going to my 10th year college reunion, excited to see my friends and find out what they were up to. I, too, had changed in many ways in those 10 years. I was proud to talk about all I had achieved and how my life was going.

But, the first thing that hit me was the memories that came flooding in once I entered the school. It was bitter sweet. I then spotted my group. The friends I had lived with in residence, partied and laughed with. What I expected to be an evening of reminiscing and laughing about the time we flooded the carpet floor in residence and used it like a water slide. Or when we put all of the sinks in the washroom on full hot, stuffed the vents with towels and created a “sauna”. What actually happened was their shock at how I had changed physically. Over and over, it kept coming back to that. Driving home I realized that at no point did they ask about what I was up to or how my life was. It was only about how I had changed. I felt myself losing the confidence that I had gained since graduating. The achievements that I have made melted away and I found myself facing the anxiety and insecurity of youth. Regretting the things I could have done and should have done back then. The celebration turned into a disappointing event that only served to fuel my monster and give it strength.

My time machine has an escape hatch so that I can leave the regret loop. If you find yourself constantly opening the door to the past, look for your escape hatch. Leave the past and enter the now. You don’t want to miss a minute!

 

Robert Smith