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You’ll Know It Then

If You Knew Then…

Yesterday a friend told me about an event she attended where Michael J. Fox was a keynote speaker. He shared a story about how when he was in high school his “nanna” told him he’d be successful in the field of acting. Michael’s nanna was known to be right about such predictions so it was her certainty that caused his family to be supportive and bolstered his confidence in becoming an actor.

There are people you meet in your life who see through to the core of who you are and the possibility that your life holds for you. Their faith in you moves you forward and puts challenges in perspective. Sometimes though, we wish we could just know for ourselves, really know, which is the right way to turn. When we look back on our past that familiar expression comes to mind: If I knew then, what I know now…

What You Know Now

photo of childLocate a photograph of yourself at a younger age and look into your eyes. Perhaps even more significant than a particular age, is recalling a certain time: a difficult decision or challenging situation with which you grappled.

When I picture myself at 23 and learning to be corporate, I can see myself sitting in a cubicle and paging through a thick bound file of thin green sheets of paper with numbers on them swirling around in a big blurry dance. Believe me, all those numbers weighed heavily upon my liberal-arts-didn’t-take-a-math-class-in-college shoulders. If I could whisper in my younger self’s ear, I’d simply say: Don’t worry. You’ll learn it.

What would you say to your younger self? There are always those things you might have done differently; yet often the words of wisdom that accompany hindsight are simply those of reassurance and compassion.

What You’ll Know Later: From Hindsight to Foresight

Is it possible to tap into what you’ll know later in life to help you interpret what’s going on today? That is not meant to be a mystical question and I’m not suggesting that you pretend to be a fortune teller. While you cannot know what will happen in that next decade of your life or the next, there is a perspective to be gained by imagining yourself at some future point in time, having lived through whatever you are experiencing now.

What might your future self tell you at this moment in your life?

Here are two ways you can approach this Back to the Future exercise (and no, I wasn’t planning to make a Michael J. Fox pun from the beginning):

  • Close your eyes and picture yourself at some future point: a year from now, a decade from now, or more. Imagine your surroundings, what you’re doing, and how you feel at this point in your life. Now listen to what that older version of you wants to tell you now.


  • Write a few paragraphs describing a future point in time and use the present tense (further instructions here). When you are finished writing, take the pen in your non-dominant hand and write a “P.S.” adding what you’d like your current day self to keep in mind or to remember.

A glimpse backward or forward in time broadens your view and offers a valuable wisdom which can impact your life today.

This Week:

  • What would you tell your younger self today?
  • What does your future self want to tell you now?
  • How does the wisdom gleaned from either of these perspectives impact your outlook?

“It all depends on how we look at things,
and not how they are in themselves.”
— Carl Jung

Here's to you,
Ginny Kravitz's signature

© 2010, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to

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