One day I was listening to a podcast where the host interviews a businessman. At the end of the interview the host asked, “What are the things you do that make you successful?“. The businessman answered: “The reason I am successful is not because of what I do today. I owe everything to 2011 me. All his hard work, his grit, and his networking efforts paid off.

That got me thinking: am I thankful for past me? Do my actions decades ago produce something good today?

I thank 2012 me. I accepted a job from something that I have not tried before, and I was not really expecting much. It turns out to be work that boosted my income and still something I enjoy even after seven years.

I thank me from a decade ago. Back then I was out of a job and almost out of options. I took an opportunity that paid lower than my previous job, but gave me a chance to pursue a career in software development. There I learned web development and it changed my life dramatically since.

I thank me from fourteen years ago. I had my first job in the “real world”. Thanks to my colleagues, I was introduced to the world of investments and insurance. It was back then when I bought my first life insurance policy (which I still hold today). I also bought my first equity fund which definitely taught me a great deal as that time was mere months before the global recession. I am glad I did not sell out as it proved to be worth it in the long run.

That was the time when I also started boxing after work. I thank a good friend of mine for coming with me to the boxing gym regularly and for having someone to encourage me during times when I would rather go home and be lazy.

I thank me from two decades ago. I somehow ended up studying far from home, which was scary at first. This experience taught me precious life skills like grit, self-discipline, and perseverance. Life was hard back then but I would not trade it for an easier route. The challenges and hardships I faced prepared me for success in the years down the road.

How about you? Can you think of anything in your past that you did which you are grateful for today? If you can’t think of anything you are thankful for, would you like your future self think the same way too?

Is there anything that you can do today, no matter how small, that would make life a little bit happier for the future you? Perhaps by investing in your health, finances or your relationship with others?

There is a quote that sums this up quite nicely:

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard

None of us can know for sure what will happen to us in the future. There can also be things that we do today which we think is beneficial but in the long run turns out to be something we might regret.

An example for this is this great song composed by Harry Chapin.

The song tells a story about a father who is a hard working person. He prioritized his career so he can provide for his family. However, he was so busy that when his son (as a young boy) asked him to play with him, he said that there were lots to do at work so maybe they will play next time. Still, his son looked up to his father and said, “One day I am going to be like him“.

The years passed and his son is already in college. The father, now older, wanted to connect with his son and spend time with him. The son though, in the verge of adulthood, had his own life going on. His son’s responses echoed what he said to him when he was younger:

When you coming home, son?

I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then, dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

When the father retired and his son has his own family, the same thing happened again when he wanted to see his son:

I’d like to see you if you don’t mind

I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you

The father realized in the end that his son did grew up just like him.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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