I hadn’t heard this saying until recently. It’s commonly used in the addiction/recovery world as a technique to make you stop and think when you get an urge or craving to drink. It walks you through the likely stages that will follow on from ‘oh go on, one won’t hurt’. Because with all the good intentions and will power in the world, chances are it won’t just be the one!
I haven’t had that urge yet so I’m yet to play the tape forward in that sense. But it got me thinking that the analogy could be used in a different way. What if rather then play the tape forward on a night out with friends, we play it forward in life?
Let’s say the tape is pretty long, five years long. If you played your life tape forward from this exact point today, what would you see? Where are you? Who’s with you? What are you doing? If you made no changes to your life today, where would you be in 5 years?
When I was in my 20s I had one of those 5-10 year plans. When I got into my 30s my plan hadn’t quite gone to plan. In fact I may have hit rewind rather than play…or at least that’s what it felt like. You see, my plan didn’t materialize because I didn’t do anything to help it. I didn’t look at what I needed to do or what actions I needed to take in order for me to be living the life I desired by my mid 30s. Some things were out of my control but I can see now that most weren’t.
So here I am about to turn 40 but thankfully I have a new plan AND I’ve already set the wheels in motion.
So let me ask you a different way. Do you have goals, ambitions, dreams? Of course you do, everybody does. The likely problem is you might not think they are achievable and that’s not your fault. When we are born our mind is infinite, we believe that anything is possible. Then as we grow older society tells us different. Limits are put on things, doubt is installed and you resign yourself to the fact that you are just not meant for extraordinary. So you settle. Because it’s safer. Less scary. Yawn!
But what if you chose not to settle? What if you believed your dreams were achievable? What if you found a way of to make your life a little less ordinary? Imagine a vehicle sat in your driveway with the engine running and someone is handing you the keys and telling you that said vehicle’s destination is your dream life. Would you grab them, jump in and never look back? Of course you bloody would! But what if all the Karen’s and Susan’s of the world were looking at you with that ‘hmmmm, I’m not sure’ look on their face, telling you that it’s too risky and that you should get your head out of the clouds and just be happy with what you’ve got. What would you do then? Would you listen to them and turn off the engine? Would you let fear stop you? The correct answer here is that you would thank Karen and Susan for their opinion and kindly tell them to fuck off!
No one is going to hand you your dream life, BUT they might hand you the keys. All you have to do is the work to get that car moving. And you also have to dig deep and find that fearless inner child in you. The one who believed anything was possible, the one who wanted to grow up and be an astronaut (yep, me!) and the one who didn’t let the risk of failing stop them dreaming. Remember when you learned to walk? No, me neither. But I’m pretty sure we fell over many times, acquired some bumps and bruises all before we took those magical first steps.
If life continues as is and you play your tape forward can you see the life you hoped for? Now, rewind the tape and imagine being handed those keys. When you hit play this time, what do you see? Keep that picture in your mind, hold onto it and know that it is possible. But it starts with you. It starts with you making a choice. A choice to remain stationary or to start moving.
Nothing changes, if nothing changes *pause*