But how should you go about finding a direction? How to settle on a purpose that fits your current life stage? One technique turns out to be immensely valuable – and yet most people ignore it. If you are searching for a direction or purpose, interview your future self.
There are in fact a host of benefits to doing this. Experiments have shown that when people are made to think in detail about their future selves, they are more likely to make better financial planning decisions, show altruistic behaviour, and make more ethical choices. But it’s hard to do. A good deal of social science research over the past decade has shown that most people feel disconnected from their future selves. It takes work to imagine oneself a decade or two from now – let alone a half-century or more. Researchers have gone so far as to invent software that ‘morphs’ the reflection of a young subject to age 70 or 80.
But this is as far as time-travel technology seems to have got, so it’s sadly not possible to meet your real future self. Yet it’s astonishing how few people do the next best thing: interview an older person who embodies the ‘self’ you would like to be. This idea came to me from Barry Fine, a highly successful serial entrepreneur who still manages a business at 89. In fact, he didn’t use the term ‘future self’. He used a word he’d learned growing up on New York’s Lower East Side. His advice was to ‘find a maven’.
More here – Aeon