An incredible way to think about life and its possibilities is to consider how you love yourself in every "time zone"—past, present, and future.
We often don't like the discomfort we feel in the present when it's time to work towards our goals or do hard things in order to change and evolve. But this is the key to creating the future we want.
It turns out that the better choices we make in the present, the more appreciation we can have for our past self and the more gifts we give our future self. This is how we love ourselves in all the time zones, and it is a powerful way to create an awesome life!
In this episode we'll talk about why we don't take action in the present, how buffering against present discomfort only makes things harder for us in the future, how "shortening the future" can help us take action now, and how the willingness to experience any feeling builds our present confidence and makes any future possible for us. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome!
One of my clients asked if I could make a transcript of my podcast available. I thought it was a great idea. So going forward, I will add the transcript here on the blog under each episode. I hope it helps you!
TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 18
Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it but every result in your life is 100% because of the thoughts you think...and that my friends is 100% awesome.
Hello podcast universe. Welcome to Episode 18 of the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price and I'm so glad to have you here today. I'm broadcasting from my new podcast studio. So welcome in. As more and more of my children leave home, more and more space is becoming mine and now I even have a dedicated podcasting space.
So I want you to know that I think about you and your lives and the challenges you face as I consider the topics and think about things that I want to share with you on this podcast. And even though I'm talking to you through an app in a completely different place and time, I still feel like we have a relationship, that we're good friends, and it means so much to me that you're out there listening. I think this whole thing is just 100% awesome.
So last week my son started his sophomore year in college and today one of my daughters started her freshman year in college and I have been thinking about them and their semesters and that has led me to think about how it is that we get things done. In other words how do we go from day one to the final exam successfully and accomplish all that we need to along the way.
And of course this applies not only to college but to life in general. Sometimes when we look at the length and breadth of our lives it seems like there is a lot of time and space to reach our dreams and achieve our goals. But when it comes to actually making progress we find that maybe we aren't really getting things done in our life the way we want to. So today I want to talk to you about some ideas that may help you as you work to accomplish things in your life.
And I want to start by introducing this idea of loving yourself in every time zone. Now what do I mean by that? So right now one of my daughters is working in China, teaching English to school-aged children, and where she is in Nantong, she is 15 hours ahead of us in the time zone, which means that as her days are ending just as ours are just barely starting. And this has given me a little bit of a different perspective. And when I wake up and I think about the day that is ahead of me, my mind goes to my daughter and I think about how her day has already occurred. All the things that are going to happen in her day have already happened. It's already unfolded and she already knows what she was able to do what she was able to accomplish and her work for the day is already done. Her day is written when mine is just starting.
And this has made me think about me at the end of every day, "future me," if you will, the "me "that will be 15 hours from now. And I think like "Will the future me 15 hours from now me be happy with the way I spent my day? Will future me me in 15 hours be satisfied with what I accomplished and what I learned and how I loved the people in my life?" And what would I do differently if I knew what I will know 15 hours from now. And it's made me realize that I don't spend very much time thinking about "future me" and considering what she wants. In fact maybe I love "present me" more than "future me" and maybe I consider "present me's" priorities way more important than "future me's" priorities.
OK. Is this already too weird? Alright, just stay with me. So I started thinking about the idea: What if I could love myself in every time zone and honor myself and my priorities in every time zone? Past me, present me, and future me— and prioritize the needs of future me above all the other me's.
So let me give you a little example of this. When I decided to lose weight it required doing hard things. I had to give up eating unconsciously and I had to start weighing my food and tracking my food and planning my food. I had to be intentional and I had to start consciously thinking about something that I had previously used to go unconscious with—I had used it to soothe myself when I didn't want to think or feel anything. And so this required enormous effort and energy and planning. And even though I never restricted any one food group, I did have to limit the amount of the food I was eating— the amount of carbs and fats and proteins that I had. And so this sometimes made me feel hungry and deprived. It made me feel disappointed and sometimes it made me feel restless and anxious. Right?
Because let's be honest. Nothing soothes like carbs and fats all wrapped up. I still remember two years ago at Halloween planning to eat an entire Snickers bar at the end of the day and how good that nugget and caramel, peanuts, and chocolate tasted altogether. Anyway, that was a good day.
Anyway, my point is that as I was going through this process "present me" was experiencing discomfort and deprivation. "Present me" was having to do things that I didn't want to do and I had to spend time and energy doing things I had never done before. Back then, "present me" wasn't always happy with the situation. "Present me" today is so incredibly grateful that I was willing to to do those hard things and be deprived and being comfortable and build the habits one day at a time. Right now I have an incredible amount of love and respect and gratitude for that "past me" and the choices that I made two years ago. Even on this day two years ago.
So here's the thing. Without trying to get too metaphysical on you your "future you" is relying on your "present you" and if you love yourself in every time zone—the past you, the present you, and the future you—then that will allow you to create the exact life you want.
Sometimes we think that loving ourselves in the present looks like giving ourselves a pass or taking the easy way or letting up and not doing the hard things. Like we think it means eating the Snickers bar and the donut and the enchiladas rather than experiencing deprivation, right? Like two years ago when I felt uncomfortable and uneasy and deprived, it would have been easy to tell myself that loving myself meant that I should just eat whatever I want and not keep track of anything. "Treat yourself," right? That "present me" would have said. But that's not really loving myself.
It is not considering the me in every time zone. It is not considering future me and it will never allow me to appreciate past me. Like let's just break this down and take one day as an example. So if I decide that loving myself in the present means sticking to my eating plan then that means that I am loving and taking care of future me. At the end of the day and it will allow me to look back and appreciate the past me that showed up for myself all the way along during the day.
And not only that. Now this is getting a little woo-woo, but you can handle it. I know it, right? So not only that but future me always eventually becomes present me. Whatever I did in the past I always do it for my present me. So if we go back two years ago on September 4th present me was feeling deprived which maybe you wouldn't think felt like love. But right now on this September 4th present me knows it was love because of how I get to feel today in the present.
Okay, so I know this is just kind of like a mental puzzle and really. past. present. and future you are just constructs. You are all of them, right? They are all of us. They are all created by us but by thinking about future you and loving future you as much as you love present you, it can change how you're showing up and and the way you're accomplishing things today in the present.
So a couple of weeks ago my brother completed an event that was created by Jesse Itzler where he rents out a mountain and they set up a base camp and competitors summit the mountain over and over and over again until they go a total of 29,029 feet, which is the same height as Everest, and they have to do this summuting in 36 hours. So my brother had to summit the peak at Snowbasin in Utah, 13 times within 36 hours. And this is an incredibly grueling event. You have to go up the mountain 13 times and some of it is in the dark and a lot of it is on legs that have been climbing for hours and hours and hours. And it's just you and the mountain, just you and your brain arguing over whether or not you're going to take one more step.
Essentially it's just present you doing something for future you—36 hours away. So when Jessie Itzler set this event up he said he wanted an event that people would remember. He said In order for it to mean something and for people to remember it has to be hard, it has to be a struggle. He said that when you do the thing that you don't want to do— when you're conflicted between comfort and the goal and then you overcome your own need for comfort in the present moment for future you, that's when you start making progress towards your goals.
And he even said in one interview that it's not just about the mountain, right? It's not just about the climbing. But it's just learning to differentiate between the comfort in the present and the goal in the future. And he said sometimes you just have to face the discomfort in your life. I have to sit and answer emails rather than meeting my friends at the bar because I am choosing my future goals over the present comfort. So my brother said that there were these moments, right, when he was just so tired and so exhausted that he couldn't really even talk that he just felt like he needed to cry.
The event is over now, right? Matt climbed the mountain. His present self is experiencing the joy of accomplishing that because of what his past self did for him. The Matt that climbed the mountain is now past Matt and his present is so grateful for his own willingness to do the hard things in that other present.
Now some of you maybe have things in your life that you want to do and accomplish. Maybe it's getting a degree like my kids. Maybe it's improving a relationship or running a marathon or establishing a habit that you've wanted to do for a really, really long time. The key to doing any of it is to love yourself in all the time zones and being willing to even do the hard things out of love in the present to create gifts for future you.
At this Everesting event, my brother had to put one foot in front of the other over and over and over again in the present to create a gift for future him. The gift was the final summit, the gift was accomplishing this incredible feat, the gift was everesting 29,029 feet. Whatever our goal is ,our present self sometimes has to experience discomfort and not wanting to do a thing in order to give those gifts to future us.
So this week I got an email from a friend who I am going through coach certification with and she was celebrating the last podcast that I did with Jody Moore that aired last week. And she wrote me this note and she's said, "your present self must be thanking your past self for thinking thoughts that ultimately brought you to your podcast with Jody Moore."
So I know it seems like we're such nerds as coaches, right? But what if you thought about your life in this way? What if you were always thinking in the present moment about future you? What if you were thinking in that present moment when you didn't want to eat right or get up early or go for that run or talk patiently—what if you were thinking, "My future self will thank me for this?" What if you lived your present so that future you was always thanking you for the work that you did?
So I love the work that my past self did on losing weight. I love the work that my past self did in the gym two years ago and two months ago and two days ago. I love the work my past self did in creating 17 other podcasts and the fears that I had to overcome in order to do it. I love the work my past self did in signing up for coach training and earning the money to pay for it and setting up my coaching business. And the better I make choices in the present the more appreciation I have for my past self and the more gifts I give my future self, right? Think of that. That's what it means to love yourself in every time zone. When I make awesome choices in the present it allows me to appreciate my past self who did the work and then give my future self an awesome life.
So I got an email last week from James Clear who's the author of Atomic Habits, which is totally awesome book I recommend. And in that email he shared that he had heard something from a friend's grandmother and she said: Life is short but life is also long. You have to live with your choices. And this is the crux of what I'm talking about here. Life is long enough that every day counts. Every day makes a difference. Right? Your present self is creating your future and you have to live with what your past self created. So it's all up to you right here right now in the present.
So here's the thing. Why don't we do this? Why is it hard to do what we should in the present? So we've talked about this in the podcast before but it bears repeating. Our brains are programmed to avoid pain. We would always rather do something else instead. As humans, instead of experiencing discomfort and unease in any moment we like to buffer against it and make it a little less uncomfortable.
And you can think of a buffer like padding or like insulation from the discomfort of Earth-life and the discomfort that is required to accomplish anything in our lives. And there are all kinds of buffers out there that pad or negative feelings, right? There's Netflix and Snickers bars and alcohol and drugs and pornography; there's shopping and knitting. Right? I have a friend who likes to hole up and knit rather than doing things that she says she wants to do in her life. She uses the knitting as a buffer and we all do it. I have no judgment for your buffer of choice. We all have a buffer that we love. Just last night after I had been working for weeks and weeks to be able to put a video course up on my website, I thought that I had finally figured it out. I edited it. I loaded it. It was ready to go and I had my husband test it out. Only to find that it still didn't work.
Back to the drawing board, right? And I thought, "I need a cookie. I need a worm chocolate chip cookies to ease the pain of this disappointment and frustration." Now obviously a chocolate chip cookie is not the logical solution to your video not working on your website, right? But that's what we do. We don't like feeling any of the various degrees of pain or discomfort and so we buffer instead. We watch 10 episodes of the offers and we drink two liters of Diet Coke or we take heroin—all of it reduces the pain that we're experiencing in our present.
So how you can identify a buffer is that a buffer always has a net negative consequence, meaning that the consequence that comes after you indulge in the buffer is always worse than just feeling the feelings of the negative emotion. So if I eat the cookie, which I did, not only am I still frustrated with my website and my inability to make the technology work, then I'm also eating more calories than I planned for the day. And over time I would gain weight.
So what's happening essentially here is that present us is unwilling to feel discomfort. So instead of present us suffering it's going to make future us suffer too. Right? In this case future me still had to be frustrated with the website and then I was disappointed that I had eaten off my eating plan. So it can be really helpful, when you aren't showing up in your life the way you want, to ask yourself, "What is present me avoiding that future me is going to have to pay for?" Another way to look at it is, "What am I willing to do now and feel now in order to take care of future me?"
Any action we take or any discomfort that we're willing to feel and experience in the present is a gift for future you. So, this is really powerful and you might need to think about it and listen to it a few times but I also wanted to just give you a couple of practical applications of these ideas that can help you as you try to harness the power of prioritizing future you as highly as the needs and desires of present you.
So the first thing that you need to remember is that your present self never wants to do anything hard but that doesn't matter. It doesn't want to do hard things because your brain wants to avoid pain but you get to be the boss and decide what you're going to experience.
So I have another brother who is preparing to run a 100 miler race in a couple of months. I know it makes you wonder what I'm doing with my life. I am surrounded by all these people who don't care about present pain. But anyway, so the other day it was my brother's birthday and my dad asked him what he was going to do for his birthday and he said, "Well I'm going to go running I'm going to start at 8 o'clock and I'm going to end at 6 o'clock, and I'm hoping to get 60 miles." So like I like to get my nails done and eat birthday cake on my birthday. And actually, I've had 45 birthdays and I have not once run 60 miles in order to celebrate, right? But we're all at different levels.
So my brother is going to run 60 miles on his birthday and keep in mind this is just an ordinary day, right? There's no race, there's no like finish line. It's just ten hours of running. There's no one cheering. There's no tape at the end. No one's counting or keeping records or even noticing. But here's the thing. Nobody else is going to see it, but future him, the future him that will run 100 miles on October 28th, willl be so grateful for that August 22nd him and the September 15th him and the July 17th one—all the past hims that laced up his shoes and went out and went running—all the past hims that showed up in the present and did the hard thing, that showed up and did the thing he didn't necessarily want to do. But did it anyway. And I'm telling you this is the only way.
So last fall around this time I was totally obsessed with Ross Edgley. Anyway I talked about him nonstop. Last fall everyone I talked to I was like, "Have you seen this guy?" Last fall he was attempting to swim around Great Britain which is like nearly 2000 miles. And it took him 157 days. He thought when he started out he thought he could do it 100. He ended up being in the water 157 days and it required him to be swimming in the icy cold Atlantic for 12 to 14 hours a day. And he was in the water, the salt water, for so long his tongue disintegrated from the salt water. And he he had to eat 15,000 calories a day just to survive the swim. And so they would just hand him bananas over the side of the boat or they would put pudding in cake decorating bags and he would just squirt them into his mouth while he was treading water over the side of the boat because his tongue was so disintegrated. He had huge sores from the wetsuit and they estimated that he took over two and a half million strokes in this wetsuit. And you can imagine the rubbing that went on and the sores that he developed. He was in the water for so long. The muscles on his legs atrophied from being in the water so long and not being on land and being used.
And the most incredible part is that for most of this swim nobody knew he was out there. He was just out there in the water with the jellyfish stings and the whirlpools and the tides and the huge swells. All by himself; present him taking stroke after stroke after stroke through the water.
So when he gets to the end at Margate, at the very end of all this, you can imagine what that present Ross Edgley thought about the him, the past him, that had gotten in the water day after day after day when he didn't want to. And he said it was the hardest thing he'd ever done and he said the transmitters in his brain were always just like, "What are you doing?"But present him just ignored it, got in the water, and kept swimming.
So one thing that Edgley talks a lot about is the Central Governor Theory and the idea is that he says we all have this central governor inside of us that regulates our bodies and all the systems and energy systems inside of us. But the central governor is super conservative and always thinks it's going to die. And I call this the lower brain, right? And it's always concerned we're gonna die and so Edgley's central governor was always telling him to stop. "You're going to die."What Edgley said is you can just ignore the central governor. You can just ignore your lower brain just go ahead. You're not going to die.
So now what about the rest of us? Those of us who are not running a 100 miler in two months or planning to swim around Great Britain? Those of us who just want to get through the day without yelling at our kids or like demolishing the pantry in one go. Does this still apply? I think it really does because all this means is that whatever challenge we have in our life, whatever goal we have, whatever we want to accomplish requires discomfort of some kind and what we have to learn, in our own ways and in our own situations, is to simply sit with the discomfort in the present. To sit with irritation rather than react to it and yell at your children, to sit with stress and feel it rather than eat the house, to sit with discomfort in the present in order to love and give a gift to future you.
So I was thinking about even this moment that I'm in right now, recording this podcast. I'm here because of the discomfort I was willing to endure earlier this year. So at the start of the new year I decided I wanted to start teaching these concepts and teaching thought work and doing coaching and so I organized a little neighborhood class for anybody who wanted to learn about thought work and make changes in their lives. So I put together a course and a workbook and I invited everybody I knew. I put it on Instagram. And the day I was supposed to teach my first class. I woke up in great discomfort. I was so nervous and so sick and just like I was irritated with myself for even organizing the idea or having the idea and for getting this whole thing going. And all day. I asked myself, "Why did I do that?" Right? And I berated myself for even just like daring to think that I could do this.
So in that present moment my brain didn't want to do what I had decided I wanted in my life. And this is always how it is. The brain doesn't want to do the hard thing when it comes time to do it, it doesn't want to do things outside of its comfort zone. Okay, so that day though, I did it anyway and I taught one class after another which led to formal coach training at The Life Coach School which led to having coaching clients and starting a podcast and sharing these ideas on an even bigger platform. And today my present self is so grateful that my past self did that hard thing on that day in January. Even though I didn't want to.
So let me give you just one more quick example. So I had very very difficult pregnancies. That is an understatement but I spent most of them thinking "I'm going to die." And then I spent the rest of the time wishing that I could die. I was just miserably, miserably sick and mostly unable to keep food down and unable to function in my daily life. But when I look back at that, my present self is so grateful that I endured the pain long enough to bring four gorgeous, brilliant children into the world. And I am grateful for every sick day and every sick hour my past self was willing to endure. And sometimes I look at my children and their amazing lives and all they have taught me and I think, "Good job, me. You did a hard thing, you did a painful thing— a thing that not everyone would do. And now that is a gift for your present self."
Now, for a moment, I want you to look over your life with some compassion. What are you grateful your past self has done? What are some of the hard things that you endured in the present to give your future self a gift? What gift has your past self given you that you get to enjoy today? And then this is the powerful part. Consider the gifts you want to give out of love to your future self. What price are you willing to pay now, in the present, despite the pain and discomfort and the effort that's going to be required in order to create that for future you?
Okay, the second thing I want to give you that can help you focus on the priorities of your future self is the power of shortening the lens. All right. So what do I mean by this? So when the goal is long, when the finish line is far away, like the end of the semester or the end of the year or even ten year goals, it's really easy to discount the power of action in the present moment by our present self. In fact the longer the goal, the more we want to just delegate all the action to future us. We just think like, "Oh that's so far away. Future us will take care of it," rather than thinking about what we need to do in the present. So at the beginning of the semester finals are still so far away that we kind of delegate any action to future us. Somehow we'll take care of that in the future. Right?
But what we need to remember is that future us can never act. The only time zone with the power to act is present us. And this is why we need to shorten the lens. So this means breaking the goal down to present actions and shortening the future. So just this morning it was leg day, right? So I went to the gym my first circuit was a ladder circuit that alternated between back squats and front squats. And immediately when I saw that present me was like, "No. I'm out." I was like, "That sounds painful. Count me out." Right? And present me started to project into the future immediately, right? If that's just circuit 1, how am I going to do circuit 2 and 3 and 4, and then I still need to get my steps for the day? And so I was like "I'm out."
So what I did in order to get present me into action is I shortened the future, and I stopped thinking about the whole workout and I thought about how future me would feel—not at the end of the day or even at the end of the workout, but I started thinking about how future me would feel in 20 minutes. How is future me going to feel after I'm done with circuit 1? I shortened the future. I shorten the lens and I knew that future me in 20 minutes would be grateful that I loaded the bar and stepped underneath it and did the reps.
So that's exactly what happened. I put myself under the bar and I did the reps for future me in 20 minutes. So if you can't think how will feel at the end of the year or at the end of 10 years or at the end of the semester, shorten your future. How will future you feel at the end of the week or at the end of the day or at the end of the hour after the present you does the work required? Future you doesn't have to be six months away. Future you is a moment away. So just shorten the future and the more discomfort and fear that you're in, just shorten that future and think just ahead.
I've done the same thing with my writing projects. So here's the thing about writing. I have writing goals that need work but they don't actually have a deadline and when don't have a deadline, it's really easy for your brain to talk you into not doing work in the present because the work is hard and your brain doesn't like anything that's hard or painful. And so I had a writing goal at the beginning of this year to produce a chapter a week and so like whenever you start a chapter you start with a blank page and at the end of the week there needs to be four to six thousand compelling, meaningful, well- written words on that page, and my lower brain was always saying, "You don't need to do it. Who will know? Who will care? It's hard. Where do we start? I don't know how." And it would just go on and on and on.
So I used this idea of future me to get a lot of writing done and I would think about how I wanted to feel on Friday night when David and I went out for pizza. I wanted to feel proud that I was the kind of person that kept her commitments to herself and that kept her own commitments and not just her commitments to others. And so whenever my brain tried to talk me out of doing the work I just shortened the future to that moment when I got in the car for date night and how I wanted to feel in that moment and that allowed me to put present me to work.
So I just want to say one more thing before I close about present you. So we've talked about how sometimes present you has to face a lot of discomfort and sometimes we try to buffer and avoid that instead. But what I want you to know is that when you experience that discomfort not only are you creating a gift for future you there is also a side benefit for present you in doing that hard work. And that side benefit is confidence. When you learn that you can handle any emotion, feel any emotion, and do the work anyway, then you build your confidence in present you. You start to trust yourself. Keeping those commitments to yourself when it's hard, when it's painful, is one of the most powerful things you can do for your relationship with you and it will increase the love you have for present you.
So we think giving into our lower brain looks like love to our present self but the opposite is true. Holding ourselves accountable in the present is the real way to love that present self and build your own confidence.
Okay that's what I have for you today. When you learn to love future you enough to have present you do hard things and be uncomfortable then you will be able to look back with gratitude at what past you has done for you, one uncomfortable action at a time. This is such a powerful way to see your life and the possibilities in it. You are creating future you and all the gifts that it contains for you right here in this present...and that my friends is 100% awesome.
Go create something incredible for future you and I'll see you next week.