This week I was sent a video from my dad that was a speech given by the famous entrepreneur Eric Edmeades titled ‘Master Your State of Being‘. Did this video contain a potentially life-changing concept? Yes. Do I have one of the coolest dads ever? Yes.
Within the video, Eric describes this concept that he calls the ‘hindsight window’.
It is the time between a significant event happening and your perception of it changing for the better.
The shorter your hindsight window, the happier you will be and the less you will dwell on the past.
The example that Eric gives in the video is where he recalls a time when all of his possessions were stolen on a road trip he was on with his wife. Laptops, photos, $45,000 worth of kit gone in the blink of an eye.
It would have been extremely easy to dwell on it, to get angry, to get upset. His wife was doing all of those things. I for sure would have done all of those things. But first, he asked ‘is this reaction going to help me or hinder me?’. Obviously, getting angry wasn’t going to bring all of his stuff back. Worrying about what’s next wasn’t going to be much good either. So he brought the hindsight straight into that moment.
‘I know that this is a significant event and I know that my perception of it will change for the better over time. Why not make that time now?’
He managed to step out of the moment, pretend that it was something that had happened from the past and tried to imagine all of the benefits that he would experience as a result of the incident.
So at that moment, he thought of all of the time he was going to spend with his wife while they sorted things out. He thought about all of the freedom he was going to get now that he had no phone or laptop. The moment was the same, but his thoughts about it were different. The hindsight window went from being something that would possibly be a few months long to just a few seconds. In almost an instant, a curse changed to a blessing.
The power and beauty of hindsight
How many times have you had some seemingly traumatic event happen to you, only to realise somewhere down the line that you are actually glad that that thing happened to you because if it didn’t, x, y and z wouldn’t have happened? This is the power and beauty of hindsight and the quicker you can tease out all of the positives of a bad situation, even if they are just hypotheticals for the future, the more you can become emotionally impenetrable.
For example, in my first year of university, I worked night shift in a bar and I really didn’t enjoy it. It messed up my body clock, I was serving drunks until the early hours of the morning on minimum wage and was just settling into a new city to start my degree. It could have been worse, but it could have been better.
After my first year, I was determined not to go back and that’s when I ended up finding out about matched betting, which led me on to a blog that had some great content on matched betting as well as a huge variety of other entrepreneurial things. That blog led me on to the idea of financial independence, which led me to learn about blogging, passive income, Tim Ferriss and his ‘4-Hour Work Week’ and eventually to creating this blog.
In hindsight, had I not worked that job, I most likely would not have been writing this post for you. That whole chain of events wouldn’t have happened.
The beautiful thing about hindsight is that you can look back and apply meaning to everything that has happened to you. You can look back at the good, the bad and the ugly and see where you have ended up (so far) on your journey. Maybe I look back on this blog as one of the best things I ever did. Maybe I look back and realise that I should have been doing something else with my time. It doesn’t matter right now because I know that what I am doing at this moment, at each and every moment is just part of the journey through life. And I can take solace in that fact and just embrace it.
In hindsight, that is true of every moment that I have lived so far. Putting myself into the future and looking back, I know that everything will play out as it should.