2024 March 19 Updating your vision throughout life

Mar 19, 2024

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me today to talk about reimagining your life. If you like what you hear today, please leave a like, tell your friends, and send me a message.


Thanks for joining me tonight to talk about keeping your perspective, and also remembering to reimagine your life and update your vision. Most of us are pretty familiar with the cycle. We get a little busy. Some things slip by the wayside, and that causes us to postpone other things. That leads us into cutting some non-essential things out of our schedule to catch up.


You know, those non-essential things like taking care of ourselves, remembering our vision and our goals, planning, exercising, taking time off, all those other things that we throw to the wayside. In what seems like the blink of an eye, all our carefully laid plans lie in shambles under a pile of should-haves and disappointment. 


The hard part is recognizing that this is happening and stepping back, forcing ourselves to make time, and restarting the process.  I would say it also tends to get a little more difficult as we get older and have more experiences, because much of what we do, we've done before. We think we should be immune to falling into the same old traps again. There's a subtle aspect that we often overlook though. The world has probably changed since we first formed those experiences. It could be in obvious ways, or subtle ways, but chances are some, much has changed.


I was watching a video today of this fellow who, for the last ten years, has been making his living teaching people how to make these spectacular time lapse videos. Unfortunately, it was only financially successful for the first eight years, and the last two years have really been a struggle. 


As I listened to him, I thought about what lessons from his story could apply to me and to my peers. It occurred to me as I listened to him talking about how technology in his audience has changed, and he wasn't good about adapting to those changes.


Most of his instructional videos are at least 15 minutes long. Recently, the trend has been toward short video reels, often under a minute. I listen to my grandkids talk about the information they pick up and the content they consume to get it. It's all extremely short-form content, but they're attuned to listening to many short things. If you're older, you're more attuned to listening to a single longer thing. 


I then started thinking about how the changing world has affected my work situation. The landscape has changed and continues to change, even day to day. Things a year ago were considerably different than they are now. The rate of change is surprising. The workplace is evolving right in front of our eyes. 


This means our experiences have to evolve as well, and we have to be aware that our experience may no longer be relevant in this context. We spend our whole lives becoming experts in something, and then that expertise no longer matters. This can lead us into one of two likely outcomes. We can recognize the need to adapt and to evolve with the world around us, or we can get annoyed at the changes and complain and withdraw. 


We already know that one of the things that can reliably guide us through this type of situation is keeping sight of our vision and reimagining our lives in the context of the current world. To be very clear, this isn't changing our principles, or necessarily even our ultimate vision, but our goals and the paths to our vision were built upon a world that has evolved over the past  30, 40, 50, 60 years or more.


If you're flying from New York to San Francisco, you don't just aim the plane in one direction and hope for the best. You have to keep making little changes, sometimes big changes, as the winds shift, and you have to move around storms in the way, and just everything moves the plane a little off course.


If you never made any corrections, who knows where you might end up. Might be a great place, maybe not. You really have no way of knowing. Similarly, when you re-envision your future self, that's a specific outcome with many parts, but it's also in the context of the world around you. As the world changes, your vision and relationship to the world will likely evolve as well.


This brings us back to the previous decision. Should you adapt to the new world or get annoyed and bitter? It's probably in your own best interest to stay connected to the world and fine tune your vision. My mother started using email when she was 90-something. Then she started surfing the internet shortly thereafter to pick up recipes and things. She could have been like a lot of her friends and just said, I don't want to be involved in any of that.


But she wanted to talk to her grandkids, and that motivated her to stay current - not super current, but current enough with the technology, because she wanted to. It was completely in her control. What do you have control over? You will have control over how you react to the world. There are many things in the world that you just cannot control, but you can change your reaction to them, and try to act in a way that will both reduce their effect upon you, and make it more likely that those bad things will be stopped.


If you withdraw and isolate yourself, you'll just be miserable, and the evil will have no resistance. Another reason to update your vision is because, if you keep this rock-solid vision that can never evolve, you may very likely end up with significant cognitive dissonance and land quite off course from where you had planned to be.


Few things will really drive you to distraction faster than trying to force yourself to try and do something that you feel is truly wrong or just a waste of time or not consistent with your vision. For this reason, it's really important to continually contemplate and continually reenvision your life.


It isn't a one-and-done sort of task. You should really be visiting it every day. Think about. Is this consistent with what I want to be doing? Every time you set a goal, obviously the goal should be consistent with where you ultimately want to end up. Especially on a regular, longer term basis, once a month, once every couple months, you have to make sure that your vision is still consistent with how you see yourself in the world as it is today.


As the world evolves for very many reasons, you may realize that your previous vision, this personal perfection, only made sense in a different context.  Your updated vision may be bigger. It might be smaller. It might be different. Maybe it is identical, but it will be what it is because you've revisited it and checked that it's still relevant.


Life is all about learning in every way. Learning about others, learning about life, and learning about ourselves. I remember reading a story last year about this dude, and he always wanted to be an ocean beach lifeguard. Well, he retired from finance in his fifties. He talked to the town, worked out all winter, and passed the very strenuous physical to be an official lifeguard that following summer. He was like two or three times the age of all the other lifeguards. Now, if it truly meant that much to him, more power to him. But if it was an old vision that he just felt he had to satisfy, hopefully he balanced that all out and it brought him a summer of fun.


But it's one of those things. He was now quite a bit older, his life had changed, he was wealthy.  Was this still a relevant goal? Only he can answer that. You want to keep track of what your vision really is and make sure it stays current to where you are in your life. It's never too late to live towards our vision, but it's also never too late to check and make sure our vision's still relevant. As the world and life evolve, we have to evolve with it. Part of that is to make sure that we're still living life in a way that brings joy to us and to those around us. 


It doesn't mean embracing things we think are wrong, but we have to be careful that we aren't unhappy just because the world has changed. Different isn't necessarily bad. Learning new techniques keeps us mentally sharp and socially engaged. That will tend to lead to a much happier and satisfying life. 


If you've been feeling overwhelmed or cranky, try and step back and make sure you're still living life in a way consistent with your overall vision. Remember to take time to take care of yourself. Don't be immediately upset if something has changed. The reason it may be annoying to you is because of cognitive dissonance between the current world and your experiences. Try to remember how much the world has changed in every way.


Many changes can be useful, even good. Your homework (always optional) is to think about some things you find annoying in the modern world and write them down.  Think about why you find them annoying. Does it go against your vision? Extra points if you take at least one of those annoyances and try and recast it into something positive that supports your vision.


If it doesn't support your vision, check that your vision is still relevant, both to yourself and to the world as it is now. Do you really want to listen to baseball games on AM radio? That might have been fun 50 years ago, but life has changed.


That's all for tonight. As always, UKR7.com is still up with links to various donation sites to help Ukraine. To support people in Ukraine or other locations, you can also visit the World Central Kitchen at WCK.org. As we've said before, one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. You can do it financially or just by being supportive of people you meet around you. Bring a little cheer into somebody else's life. Make the world a little bit better place. 


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you. 


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