I was driving home from the beach earlier this week, and something I saw made me think about the choices we make each and every day, and how they impact our future selves.
We make choices to STEAL from our future selves. All. The. Time. But WHY? What motivates us to make those choices? What are the consequences of those choices? How can we stop this harmful practice and make better choices that support our future selves instead?
Take a listen. It’s all in here.
With love and gratitude,
WORK WITH ME – Israel Smith – Well-Being Coach & Speaker
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Welcome to the Illuminating Lives podcast. I’m Israel Smith mindset and performance coach for successful high achievers. Just like you, we want more meaning and purpose in your life without the stress, burnout and overwork. I’ll share how you can make simple changes to your mindset, habits and choices to stop those racing thoughts or angry outbursts and create more time, more energy, more balance, and a lighter, calmer head and heart.
This podcast is for you. If you’re ready to learn how to thrive in our uncertain world. Prioritize your own well-being and mental health. Improve your relationships with your partner and kids. Rediscover some fun, and just get back on track to living your best life every day. I’m stoked that you’re here.
Hey, dear listener. Welcome back. It’s Israel here for another episode of the Illuminating Lives podcast. And today I have a genuine question for you. Are you a future thief? What do I mean by that? Well, I’m going to get into that. But first, let me tell you a story. I was driving home from the beach of my lovely wife yesterday and I saw a couple of guys doing some work on a roof.
Now, these were really safe, well secured tradesmen are up there with their PPE on. They had, I think, like a safety harness. That was I think it was like a torso harness with a little guy rope or safety rope back to some sort of anchor point. I saw them walking around sort of lifting the rope out of the way and doing their thing anyway.
Seeing them up there with their safety ropes reminded me of my dad, and it reminded me of when he used to build houses and when he used to complain about all of these new in his day, newer occupational health and safety regulations coming in. So you can imagine, right, Like my dad was, I think he was an apprentice in I’m going to guess, like the early 1970s and through the majority of his career, including when I lived with him in the mid 1990s, there was a significant lack of real occupational health and safety and eventually in the nineties and into the 2000, some of these regulations really caught up with the industry for everyone’s benefit
and safety, right? Like after some horrific accidents, a lot of rules changed, a lot of things became safer. Now, as I was chatting to Belinda about this, I said, you know, this makes me think everyone winches and minds about these things and like in my dad’s day would have been, are what do we need that for? That’s just a waste of time.
It’s a waste of money. It’s a pain in the butt. Having to sort of navigate all this extra safety gear until you fall off the roof. And then you’re like, Yeah, that’s actually not a bad idea, right? As it turns out, not many years before he was due to retire in his late fifties, my dad fell through a roof.
And if I’m being really honest, knowing the kind of person he was, he was probably cutting a couple of corners in terms of his safety. Right? In terms of the genius kind of behaviour on the job site. But what ended up happening was he injured his right shoulder so badly that he was really like struggling for several months.
His right bicep was pretty much torn apart and didn’t really ever recover from it. And so as he retired, things that he used to be able to do easily and really enjoy, like play golf, you know, throw a fishing rod, all that like throw cast caster. You can tell I’m a fisherman, cast a fishing line with a rod.
These sorts of things became really difficult because his arm and his shoulder had never healed. And I spoke to about this not long after that happened. And the conversation was something like, I don’t have time for that. I’ve got to keep the business going. I’ve got to kind of keep, you know, pushing on, pushing through. And that was very much his generation, which I’m sure you can appreciate.
I’m not sure how old you are, but you have either experienced this yourself or with your parents or with their parents or friends or what have you. You know, it’s like this whole we just got to push through. We’ve got to suck it up. We’ve got to kind of put our bodies on the line and just do the work.
It seems far more common, I suppose, from a physical labour point of view, like with tradespeople, but it also occurs in, you know, professionals in their corporate lives. Usually it’s more about how little people in professional roles move their bodies and the impacts that has on their health. Anyway, long story short, here to try and bring this back to the point of today’s episode, it occurred to me that this is not a unique thing, and it reminded me of another person I know who lives locally, who I spoke to at one point where they’d been doing some some sort of martial arts and had injured their chest and, you know, partially torn their pectoral muscle.
And as a consequence of that, they were, you know, injured and struggling. And they are a tradesperson, as it turns out. And they had much the same response. I don’t have time to stop work. I’ve got to keep this business going over to keep making money, da da, da da. And the net result now is when I see this person down the beach, I can see in the chest a slight divot like a little chunk missing out of their pec muscle on one side because they never healed properly.
Now, over the years, my dad started to look at, Oh, well, what would it take for me to fix this up? But by that time his bicep had atrophied. So far that is the kind of the ends of it had almost shrunk all the way back to at one end, his elbow at the other in his shoulder, and there was no meat of the muscle left for him to have surgery, to reconnect it and to fix it.
So it was basically done and dusted, see, no muscle left. Too bad. So sad, you know, and it’s probably the same situation for this other person. I know. And you know, this this whole thing got me really reflecting on this notion that we regularly steal from our future selves by making short term decisions really with our thinking. We steal from our future selves by making decisions based purely on the short term.
So for my dad, for this other friend of mine who lives locally, they both made a decision to keep working and push through the pain and discomfort and not heal themselves properly, not allow their bodies to recover, seek whatever treatment or surgery or what have you to get to make a full recovery. Instead, they just took the right kind of approach when in fact it’s not right, mate, and there is a cost to their future selves.
For my dad, the legacy impact of him abusing his body for 45 years as a construction worker in building houses was that his retirement was physically challenging. He had a knee replacement. He had a sore back from as long as I can remember. Plus, he had this shoulder injury, so he couldn’t cast a fishing line with his right hand.
Despite being right handed, he had to learn how to do left handed. He could no longer play golf. He certainly couldn’t surf, which was one of his passions and something that he shared with me at one point in my teenage years and then was no longer able to do so. That was like a beautiful gift he gave me.
But it was an activity we could no longer partake in together. And so those costs were costs his future self had to pay for. If he had taken the time in his younger life to love and respect his body more and to perhaps seek the treatment and to contend with the discomfort of perhaps the ah, I guess the time out of work or the time out of business or whatever.
Then he might have been able to live a more fulfilling and more satisfying life into his retirement with less physical difficulty, less pain, more ease, more flexibility, more, you know, physical mobility. And so this really got me thinking about how so often in our lives we make choices based extremely like really myopic choices, really short sighted choices that are purely, purely focussed on the short term.
And it’s not just us personally. I mean, you could throw a rock and hit plenty of current issues in the world that are also suffering from this. But change starts at home, right? So if we want the world to be better, we need to really get this lesson and start to embody it ourselves. And then ripple effect that out model that to other people.
So I’m sharing this insight with you with the hope that you recognise where in your life you are perhaps stealing from your future self. And I want to talk about the other ways that we do this and some of the motivations for it, but then recognising and acknowledging where you are, being a future thief, where you are stealing from your future self, that you can then begin to shift those behaviours and make decisions in your life based on a slightly more long term view.
Now whereabouts are some of the areas we do this where we do it with money by spending frivolously now instead of perhaps being a little bit more frugal and investing for our future self, we do it with our health all the time, every time we choose to eat food that does not serve our body or that does not help us.
Every time we choose to forgo moving and exercising and maintaining this incredible vessel that we have every time we ignore pain, every time we ignore tiredness, and we don’t rest and give our bodies the nourishment and the recovery that they need. Any other health choice you care to mention? It was pointed out to me by my lovely coach that my process this year of choosing my physical and emotional and mental and spiritual wellbeing and prioritising that and simple things like jumping on the scales every day, doing some meditation, doing a bit of movement exercise every single day.
That’s actually not just for me right now. Primarily that is an investment in my future self. That is a gift to my future self so that me in a week or a month or a year from now has a better experience of life. And me in 30 years from now has an even better experience of life because of the actions I take today.
It also has an immediate payoff, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I would love to eat the family sized block of chocolate and just sit on the couch all day, you know, getting stuck into the French fries and burgers. And from time to time I do that because, you know, we have a life that we need to live.
But if you prioritise that more often than not, if I were to do that all the time, never move my body, eat all the wrong things, never look after my mind, never look after my sense of spirituality, connection to nature being a part of something bigger than myself, then I would really, really be stealing my vitality, my health, my mobility, my wellbeing, my mental health.
I’d be stealing those things from my future self and I would be imparting a large cost. That’s health. What about relationships when we don’t speak about the things that need to be spoken about when we prioritise the short term things at the expense of the long term quality of the relationship in our workplaces, when we perhaps make short term decisions that longer term we’d perhaps be better doing something slightly different in terms of the longer term sustainability of the company or longer term sustainability of us in the work.
Like you get the idea right? We do it with boundaries, as in not setting boundaries, not enforcing boundaries because that short term decision, it’s easier to let that slide. But long term we create for our future selves a problem where the boundaries have never been set, never been enforced, and behaviours that we’re not happy with show up more repeatedly.
A really big, obvious and glaring one is the climate situation in the world. I’ve been following this really closely for a very long time since my daughter was born and I had this epiphany sitting at Coogee Beach thinking if nothing changes in my lifetime, this beach will be underwater and that is possibly the best, most obvious, most self-evident example of stealing from our future selves.
And from future generations. The shortsighted, politically weak, agreed, motivated decisions that have been made to continually stymie action on climate change, to continually avoid anything approaching meaningful policy, to make meaningful shifts in how we live. That’s a massive, massive theft from our future selves and from our kids future selves and from their kids and so on. All the way down the generations.
So what are some of the reasons for this that look, the most obvious one to my mind at the moment is we just don’t like feeling uncomfortable. We will do anything to avoid discomfort. Take a look at your loungeroom. How big is your TV? How many remote controls does it have? Because you no longer get up off the couch to change channels?
Who remembers those days? Do you have air conditioning because you just don’t like it a little bit too hot or a little bit too cold? There are so many examples. I’m not going to list them all, but think about how often we gear our lives toward avoiding discomfort or seeking comfort, how often we make choices about being comfortable as opposed to taking the perhaps effective or simple path that leads to a longer term, better solution, even if it means a little discomfort.
Right now. I touched on this a little a couple of episodes ago in how to handle Change Like a Legend, right? In that I go into a lot of detail about why we avoid change and a whole lot of resources and steps about how we can really handle change well, And this is just another example of that. But it’s actually about comfort and ease or easiness, like taking the easy, comfortable path as opposed to the right path.
So when we when we do these things, when we make these these short sighted or short term oriented decisions to avoid discomfort, to avoid financial loss, to avoid disharmony in our relationship, to avoid, to avoid uncomfortable conversations, whenever we do that, we are stealing from our future selves. We are stealing in the way of limiting our growth. We are stealing in the way of directly impacting our health and well-being.
The strength and quality of our relationships are our marriages. We are the making a decision that we don’t have to bear the costs of really, but that our future self has to bear the costs of. And that is a key piece of what I’ve been learning about myself this year and last year. And it’s a key piece that I really want to try and in part hear today that if you want a wonderful, thriving life, then raising your gaze to the horizon rather than to the three feet in front of you.
As you think about the choices that you’re making, that is the path, that is the way to get to a thriving life that you’re really happy with. When my wife and I decided that we wanted to travel Australia in a bus with the kids, honestly, it was a really simple choice, but it was so, so hard to stick with that choice in light of the different circumstance, since we had to navigate that.
That choice brought around. Not only that, though, at many points along the adventure to get on the road, even while we were on the road, the adventure to stay on the road and keep rolling and keep moving. So many times we were confronted with the choice of do we keep going or do we give up? Now giving up is the path of choosing comfort.
It’s more comfortable. It’s easier if we just give this up, go get jobs. Don’t worry about doing the work to try and transform children’s health one lunchbox at a time. Don’t worry about trying to have this incredible life experience for us and our two kids about travelling Australia full time for two and a half years. Don’t worry about all of the growth, all of the expansion, all the learning.
We will all get by seeing Australia in such detail for such a long period of time. All of its diversity, all of its incredible beauty. Sorry about that. Told it hard. Just go get a job and retire to a quiet, you know, life in modern suburbia. Alternatively, we chose to give our future selves the gift of this experience.
We we chose to give our future selves the gift of an incredible relationship with each other and with each of our children. And when I say we, I mean my wife and I. So we didn’t steal from our future selves. We chose our future selves. We gave our future selves this incredible gift by making challenging, difficult, uncomfortable decisions, by leaning into discomfort over and over again.
And we keep doing it. My wife gets trolled in her work all the damn time people come out of the woodwork and attack her because she actually believes that we need to generate a healthy generation of kids, that the way our kids are currently eating is not going to give us and our country and our future the sort of health that it will require.
But Belinda gets so much, you know, hate and trolling online and it really takes something to keep going. And even this last few months, there’s been moments for Belinda to go, Do I have what it takes to keep grappling with this, to keep going against the stream here? This is not uncommon, but when you choose a life, as I hope you do, that becomes a gift to your future self.
Because the stories you can tell and because of the growth that you can experience and because of the wild and wonderful adventures you can enjoy that gift to your future self takes something. And so I want to talk now about how do we get there, how do we get to that place where we can make these choices robustly, easily.
And I suppose in a way, how do we avoid becoming a future thief? So the first thing, as with so many of these and I did an episode on this a couple of weeks ago, is work out what we want, what do we value, what are our priorities? Right? You can kick back a couple of episodes to the one literally called What do you Want?
Working out what you want is imperative. You need to know where you’re going before you start. You need to know what kind of future you want to have so you can determine, am I in fact adding to that future or stealing from that future? And then my belief as with funny how much stuff from the root cause. Belinda kind of created that I readapt.
Belinda’s work is about health and nutrition, especially with kids Lunchbox Foods, better dialogue as parents, better role modelling, better environment for kids to choose real food, to feel empowered to understand what they’re putting in their body as fuel. And Belinda’s approach with parents is to say, Listen, just pick one thing. Don’t try and do everything all at once.
You get overwhelmed and overloaded and it will crash and burn horribly because no one’s ready for wholesale massive change. Start with one thing. Make it simple, make it small, and make it something you can commit to and make it a way of life. And I take the same approach here. First thing, figure out what you want, figure out what your values are, what your priorities are, what is the future that you want for your future self?
And then secondly, choose one area of your life where you can actually reflect upon what choices am I making for my future self? Now I will tell you possibly the single easiest and single most impactful thing we can all do. I willing to generalise on this one is choose better health. Now I believe there are four pillars to how our wellbeing overall.
Thank you. Steve Biddulph in his book Fully Human Our Physical, Our Emotional and Mental and Spiritual. If we address all four of these areas of our wellbeing and boost and improve all four of them holistically, we will experience a sense of personal wellbeing unlike we ever have before. But don’t tackle everything all at once. So pick one thing is it your physical health?
Is it your emotional health? Is it your mental health? And then maybe just choose one little area within that and make a little micro commitment. Okay. But for me, I’ve said this in last week’s episode as well, and I’ve said it already in this episode, I get on the scales every single day because I want to make sure I am keeping a handle on what is my objective mass, what is my weight.
I know that it fluctuates. I know that there are many factors that are going to play between the weight of muscle versus the weight of fat versus a little bit more fluid in my system. Or I eat too much just the day or whatever. But I have learned through repetition and constant exposure to this to eliminate any emotion from it and to look at it purely as data from an emotional place, from a data point place.
I can look at what I see on the scales every morning. I Oh, okay, that’s interesting. I didn’t need as much as that I and that I can see reflected today. So my body burned a little bit more of its excess mass or I went to town at the wedding last week and way too much of all the wrong things.
And I can see that reflected. But it’s not emotional. It’s purely a data point, and I make a micro commitment to take that action every day because that micro commitment directly correlate to my awareness of my health. And unless you are aware of something, you cannot change it. So bring your awareness to something by making a little micro commitment, sticking to it every day.
And then the third thing, So number one, what do you want? Where are you going? What are your values? What’s the future self you want to create? Number two, make a micro commitment, something simple, something small you can stick with. And I have a couple of episodes back in the archives about commitment. So if you type in that keyword, you’ll probably find those third step build, take those micro commitments as the foundational pieces of new habits and new behaviours, gradual build upon them gradually increase.
Say if you’re doing I don’t know, I’ll use an example from my own life. I started doing five push ups as a little bit of movement or maybe 20 squats gradually built to turn that into ten push ups or 50 squats. If you look at one area of your health, maybe that’s how much you move your body, maybe start looking at another area of your health.
Once you’ve micro committed and made it a way of life to look at your maybe your movement habits, then look at, okay, what’s next? This is how you stop being a future thief. This is how you actually give a gift to your future self. Maybe it’s money. Maybe you realise you’ve been terrible at investing and you just spend a crapload of stuff on frivolous consumer purchases and you decide, You know what?
I want my future self to have a more robust financial security and well-being. So I’m going to curtail my frivolous expenses and don’t try and turn the whole thing upside down overnight. Just pick one thing, okay? I’m going to order coffee one day a week instead of five days a week or, you know, I’m going to eat out one less time per month and I’m going to put that money into a special savings account.
And when it reaches a certain threshold, then I’m going to chuck it into like a managed fund or some sort of investment vehicle. And that’s how I’m going to start the process of investing toward my future self. This is what it means to be disposable. It’s the opposite of a future thief, a future giver. I don’t know and thought about that.
This is what it means to not be the future thief, to not be stealing from our future selves. Just like the guy who gets up on the roof with the safety lawn and the harness he puts on his helmet, puts on his steel toed boots, puts on his safety goggles, is high vis vest the gloves, all of the things, all of the safety equipment.
He takes the time to set it up properly. The investment he makes is in his future self not being injured with a debilitating injury that could cost him his livelihood, that could cost him the use of one or more of his limbs. Well, they could cost him his life. So his future self is really grateful that he took that extra time.
So I want you to think about this. How and where are you stealing from your future self? And I’m again making a broad generalisation, and I firmly believe this is something we all do to a greater or lesser extent. I really do. I believe we always do this because we always attending toward comfort and avoiding discomfort. Take a look at your life.
Where abouts is this hitting you? Whereabouts are you stealing from your future self and what can you change? I’m going to link a couple of things in the show Notes. How to handle change Like a legend. What do you want those two most recent episodic or not? Most recent, but two very recent episodes. And I’m going to dig out at least one episode about commitment.
In the meantime, I’m sending you all of the love and all of the gratitude, and I want you to know something. I’m available as a 1 to 1 coach, either for single consultations or for ongoing shifts. And I want to give you a couple of quick examples of how that looks. So I’ve had people contact me because they just have this one thing about their relationship that they need to understand and with the benefit of talking it through with me and my insights and my abilities as a coach, I was able to help them realise that they were second guessing their partner because of a deeply held belief that they weren’t actually worth having that
partner and that gave them enough in that one. On one breakthrough session for them to completely transform their relationship with their partner. Other people I’ve spoken with about the career path, where it literally came down to somebody almost asking permission, Is it okay if I take this path? And I said, Well, I can’t give you that permission. You need to give that to yourself.
But here’s what I’m telling you. This is costing you by not giving yourself this permission, that one on one breakthrough session, literally changed the trajectory of their career. So one on one breakthrough sessions are a one hour focussed, intensive opportunity for you to bring one problem, one area of your life that is driving you crazy or one issue that you really, really, really want to unpack and work through.
And we spend an hour together and focus on that and you get the breakthroughs you need and the belief shifts that you need to then take a completely new approach into that area of your life. They are available. I always have at least space for one or two of those a week on my calendar. My 1 to 1 coaching container is an ongoing thing that’s more like I’ve spent the last couple of years unwittingly digging myself into a pretty significant hole.
I’ve broken the trust in my relationship or I have been working way too much and neglecting everything about my family or my health is in really dire straits over the course of a range of really shitty choices. Or I’m completely overloaded because I’ve said yes to way too many things or my small business is really struggling and that’s causing me a lot of personal stress and anxiety and I need to be able to better handle the stress and anxiety as well as work on the business.
All of those things I can help you with. I’ve helped my clients build new habits, hold them accountable to start choosing themselves, to start loving themselves. I’ve helped my clients restore their marriages. I’ve helped my clients re-engineer their businesses because I have got 20 years of working for myself as a small business owner in my back pocket, and I’ve done a crap ton of business education and coaching along that way as well.
All of these things, if these are issues that you feel like you resonate with some or all or any of this and you want to make Signet, you can change in your life and you really want to shake things up and truly transform for the long term. Then we all to really have a conversation about my 1 to 1 Coming Home program.
That’s where we take a longer at least six month journey together in coach coaching relationship where I can help you look at all the different ways your behaviours are either helping or hindering your progress or the beliefs that are linked and give you the gentle, loving ass kicking that sometimes you need. All right. With my insight, with my experience, and with my ability to call bullshit on stuff that you’ve been hiding behind conveniently for a long time, I really want to help you wherever you are in life.
If this is really resonating with you about stealing from your future self, if you want to change that about your life, or if anything I’ve spoken about in my recent episodes or in what I’ve just shared now about the kind of work I do in my 1 to 1 or my six sorry, my one of my breakthrough sessions or my one on one coming Home program, the longest form, if any of that resonates, get in touch.
The details are in the show notes. It’s really easy to find me. Israel Smith dot com has all the right links and all the right information and you can make that choice to perhaps not steal from your future self perhaps give your future self the gift of working with me and getting guidance and support in a specific area or for a specific lifestyle, re-engineer or change.
It’s worth it, I promise you. It’s worth it. There is literally no downside to doing work on yourself because the benefits that you learn become skills you can carry with you for your entire life. So what’s the ROI of saving your marriage? What’s the ROI of having the tools to navigate a career change powerfully? What’s the ROI over a lifetime of learning to be more in control of your thoughts and better manage your mental health?
These are all things I help my clients with, and I can help you with these things too. So get in touch. Sending you lots of love wherever you are right now. Have an amazing day. I will speak to you soon.
Thank you so much for joining me on this episode. Since you’re still listening, you’re probably the kind of person who loves to get the most out of everything in life. So let’s have a conversation about that. I want to invite you to book in a 30 minute clarity session with me where we can talk about what you want, what’s in the way, and what the next steps look like.
Plus, we can also have a chat about how I work and if we’re the right fit to work together. So take a minute now jump over to my website at Israel Smith dot com slash coach me and grab a spot on my calendar. Let me help you get the most out of your life, your work and your relationships in the first place to start is with a clarity session.
That’s Israel Smith dot com slash coach me I look forward to hearing from you soon.