My future self equation is as follows –
You grow at the rate of your learning and are limited by your self-belief. Both of these have compound effects – which I think are critical. Learning compounds. Start on the journey today and your mental models are going to be much better than me if I start ten years from now. We might both go through the same learning experience at that point but, you will learn a lot more on account of your superior mental models.
Self doubt acts as the discount rate in the whole process. This is because our belief in our own abilities and discipline directly influences whether we take on long-term learning challenges. The lesser our self belief, the more we will focus on the short term.
So, what is the rate of learning then? It can be broken down to three factors –
1. Rate of reflection. This is how much you extract from every experience you go through. There is so much learning in our own experiences if we take time to dig in and understand what they are.
2. Rate of learning from written work. This is what you learn from what others have shared in writing. This might just have been “learning from books” before blogs and the internet emerged. Books likely still dominate thanks to their generally solid signal to noise ratio.
3. Rate of learning from people. Your rate of learning is directly proportional to the kinds of people you spend time with. The more you spend time with people of value, the more you are likely to learn.
So, in summary, my thesis is – the growth in your future self as compared to your self today is directly proportional to the amount of learning you extract from your own experiences, from what you read and from the people you meet. This learning and growth compounds over time and is only limited by your own belief in yourself.