Looking forward by looking back

Hong Kong, 2016

Hong Kong, 2016

We are the animals who always like prediction. When buying we think of whether the products are suitable and durable. We investigate if each option brings with us benefits or losses. We try to project the brighter or worse future with current trends. We think if our future life will be stable. For future’s safety we tend to focus on prediction and planning, even though we don’t have the capacity, since we believe it is always better than nothing.

But we spend too much energy and time on the future rather than looking at the moment and even looking back. Besides focusing on predictions and planning, do we think what kind of future we would like to see? What do we like to be? What have we been in the past and present?

The author of Thinking, Fast and Slow stated that we have two selfs: experiencing self and remembering self. The difference between two selfs is that people can't remember all the experience they had in the past except the happiness and the sadness. Nothing special will be the first to be forgotten. Thus what we only have is the fragmented pieces about the past, and some of them can be left as an impression in our mind, not the real fact. Our future is based on our decision which follows the impression.

Apart from the psychological explanation, personal experiences and social institutions play an important role. People who are small in age are always driven by curiosity like to explore things surrounding them, but they will end up with their own ‘experiences’ developed when growing up: judge before learning. The change has taken place so slowly that we can’t easily notice since childhood. We start complaining those who are younger than us. We start new innovations and thoughts with understanding them. We start being afraid of failure and losses. We won’t regard those as problems but try to make excuses by saying like ‘we are adults who have a lot of life experiences’, ‘we are parents who know what to do’ and ‘we are authorities’ in order to justify they are right. As a result we become conservatives.

One of my friends asked me if I will become those adults in my 40 to 50s.

Yes, I worried a lot, more than whether I will be poor. Losing curiosity means rejecting any kinds of possibilities including business opportunities.

We always think about our future in an emotional way rather than the rational. We also forgets how we think in the past, especially when we were able to make decisions easily. We don’t remember why we become hesitate now. We don’t realize we have more burdens and not enough money is not the real factor.

I suggest writing a diary with both everyday events and personal ideas/thoughts. Looking back is the main reasons for a diary, which allows you to review what have happened long time ago, how you thought and how you have become your self nowadays. You will see the better picture of yours from the past to the present. You can better understand yourself. Most important, you will not only prevent risks, but also become more mature and have a clearer idea about the future.

If you are busy, just write a few lines every day. If you require yourself to write too long, you will give up shortly.



去年十二月讀過一本叫Thinking, Fast and Slow(中譯《快思慢想》)的書,作者提到一個人有兩面:一個是正在經歷當下的自己(experiencing self),另一個是回憶了什麼的自己(remembering self)。經歷當下所有大大小小事情和情緒,並不代表將來能記住全部,因為我們只能選擇某些較為愉快(或較傷心)的事情作為回憶的一部分。平平淡淡且順利的,通常都會先被忘記。因此,即使我們聲稱記得過去的經歷,至少不是完整的,甚至可能是錯誤的。而我們帶著這些零碎的過去,決定了我們的未來,決定了未來的我們。







LifeAlvin Cheng