It's About Time
It is rare to find the time to sit down and watch a movie these days, but I recently happened upon a movie called “About Time” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2194499/
and was captivated. In this movie, the leading actor had the ability to travel back in time. No, this was not another “Back to the Future” because this guy used his gift in practical ways to live the best life he could envision. He went back to correct situations that didn’t turn out as planned the first go around - like meeting the woman that would become his wife. He also went back to relive moments of great personal value like time he spent earlier in life with his now dying father.
As an analytical type hell bent on perfection, at first glance this sounds like the ultimate super power. However, after further reflection, it may turn out to be a curse. Knowing me, I would probably grind through every scenario and decision over and over until I found each outcome perfect. A week would probably take an entire year or more to live out. Likewise, I would spend so much time going back to re-live moments of great enjoyment in my past that I may never make progress into the future to create a more excellent past to revisit. For these reasons, our only choice being to make the most out of the present is a gift in itself.
Interestingly when the protagonist was young, he used his ability many times to tweak situations into positive outcomes for himself and those he cared about, but as he got older he found himself rarely going back for a second take. Some would say that makes sense in terms of life’s timeline. The significant decisions that setup our life are made early on – where we will live, who we will marry, how many kids we will have and so on. It is true we must make good decisions when starting out, but the folks that get the most out of life are always contemplating big moves and making necessary adjustments rather than just settling into a track based on past choices and going through the motions.
So what is the planning implication? Although time travel is obviously not possible, using the concept to examine our past as if we had this ability can help us better plan for our future and make the most out of our present. So, if you were able to travel back in time, what three situations would you revisit to ensure an alternate outcome? What moments of great joy would you choose to go back and spend more time in? Finally, how can you apply the answers to these questions to upcoming forks in the road of life or decisions on how to best spend your precious time this very day?