“I’m sure…I just know I put it here…”
Many times I am put into a situation where I need to make a decision based on what I did in the past; or, as it often appears, my “past self” did. I say this because in some of these instances I cannot fathom how my current self would come to do something my past self clearly did.
For example: I’m on my way out the door to go to class and turn in my assignment. I have the following dilemma—did my past self ensure that my important assignment was indeed stowed in my backpack for submission? Or did my past self neglect to be as responsible as surely my present self is?
In cases such as these I feel it’s healthy to have a healthy amount of distrust in your past self. Some may call this attitude simply being responsible by double checking. As imperfect humans, we usually benefit from this extra check. We live in a fallen world. It is absurd and unwise to trust your past self all the time.
I have the understanding that we, as humans, tend to idealize our past selves. Forgetting the challenges and struggles we went through, we look on memories (especially those of great accomplishments) and focus so much on the positive we forget the negative. This is great for our self-esteem, but not always for our responsibility.
Some of us would like to think we trust our own selves over all others. I know I fit into that group most of the time. I don’t like delegating because I don’t trust others to do as good of a job as I will. I assume extra responsibility because I want things to be done right (or at least right according to my own opinion). Such a trend in thought is ironic when I’m betrayed by my supposed closest confidant—myself.
When should you trust your past self? Only when there is no other choice? When it’s the last hour of the last day to turn your assignment in and there’s no time to go home and get it?
Perhaps when you feel particularly confident in your past self? When you have specific and clear memories of putting the assignment in its place? Such an instance may convince me to trust my past self, but I still have memories, as I’m sure many do, of times like this yet my past self has still failed me.
I try to find a healthy balance between efficiency through forfeit of unneeded redundancy and efficiency through taking the care to avoid preventable disasters. In most cases I’d refrain from blindly trusting my past self (as amazing as he is) if it’s easy enough to double check. This goes for not only past responsibilities, but past claims, past promises, past ideas, and anything else that crazy devil did when I wasn’t looking. If you’re not careful, the things your past self did will bite you when you least expect.