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Living Life Backwards New York Life Coaching

Living Backward

Woody Allen famously said:

”In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then.. Voila!…

This quote was forwarded to me by a friend working in the financial industry. With the investment climate at multi-year low, some analysts were passing on this quote, laughing at themselves and the peculiar hindsight bias with which all stock price movements are perfectly understandable and explicable. Provided you analyze them looking from the present time into the past.

Is our life more unpredictable than the stock market? How cool would it be if we could begin our life at the end, knowing that everything you desire is already a reality? If you can see yourself grow old happily with the person you love, would you feel the confidence, freedom and affection that is suddenly available to you?

Many people go about their lives without ever thinking what kind of life they really want, and they complain that life has not turned out the way it “should be”. I have encouraged clients to write down what their “perfect day “would look like. Use all your senses. Describe what you would experience from the moment you get up until going to bed.

However I have found that they often come up with something which is just a slightly twisted version of their daily life. I encouraged them to dream WILDER: if you don’t have to worry about money, if you don’t have all the limitations in your current reality, if you are already slim and sexy, what would you do? Do you want to lie down on the beach every day? Probably not.

This cartoon was reproduced by Harvard Psychologist Daniel Gilbert in his book “Stumble on Happiness”. It shows how ineffective we are trying to transcend our current experience with our minds.

The law of attraction encourages us to break through the boundaries of our circumstances to access the feeling states we desire for ideal future. Gilbert confirms the power of “prefeeling”: it allows us to predict our emotions better than thinking does. You need to engage all your senses to the feeling states and you can’t feel two things at once. I suppose that’s why Dr. Martha Beck prescribe her clients to take 10 minutes break every day to do NOTHING but to “treasure”, to prefeel your ideal future. How does it sound, look, smell, feel, taste?

Developing the ability to access your ideal future opens doors for you to access your magic.

Now imagine that you are a filmmaker and you are making a documentary of yourself. You got the chance to tell your story. Get fancy. Let your imagination run wild. See what you will come up with.

What would you imagine your family and friends would say about you when they toast your 80th birthday? “To your 300 pairs of fabulous Manolo Blahnik shoes”? or “What an amazing friend/partner you have been”?

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As Featured In Elle Magazine