How to... VI­SU­AL­IZE Your Fu­ture

ELLE (Canada) - - Special - aliyah shamsher

au­thor and mo­ti­va­tional speaker Adam “Smi­ley” Pos­wol­sky is con­tem­plat­ing the big­gest chal­lenges that may be stop­ping peo­ple from achiev­ing their goals. “So­cial me­dia,” he says over the phone from his San Francisco-based of­fice with­out miss­ing a beat. “First, it’s a huge time suck. We spend so much of our time on In­sta­gram, Face­book and Snapchat—and it’s even worse for Gen Z! There is also the is­sue of jeal­ousy and envy and not be­ing able to get past th­ese emo­tions.”

And Pos­wol­sky would know. Be­fore writ­ing The Quar­ter-Life Break­through— a Mil­len­nial man­i­festo that he self-pub­lished through an Indiegogo cam­paign—he had quit his job at the Peace Corps and would spend hours thumb­ing through his so­cial-me­dia ac­counts. “I spent a lot of time on Face­book be­ing like ‘Oh, my friend is do­ing this!’ or ‘My friend went to busi­ness school!’ or ‘My friend opened a food truck—I want to open a food truck!’ Then I thought, ‘I can’t cook, I’m a shitty driver—why do I want to open a food truck?’ Mostly be­cause it looks cool in a photo.”

But Pos­wol­sky be­lieves that th­ese can be teach­able mo­ments, help­ing us un­lock our key de­sires and aid in set­ting short- and long-term goals. “I think the first thought will al­ways be ‘I want to do some­thing dif­fer­ent—let me see what my friends are do­ing,’ but the key is mov­ing be­yond FOMO [fear of miss­ing out]. I started to re­al­ize that com­par­ing my­self to oth­ers was a waste of time. It only made the sit­u­a­tion worse be­cause I be­came stressed and jeal­ous of all my friends’ ac­com­plish­ments. In­stead, I changed my mind­set to fo­cus on what I cared about.” He be­gan by ask­ing him­self four key ques­tions that have be­come part of his man­i­festo: What am I in­ter­ested in? What are my unique gifts? What are the so­cial is­sues I am pas­sion­ate about? How do I want to im­pact oth­ers?

While Pos­wol­sky be­lieves that so­cial me­dia can stop peo­ple from go­ing af­ter their dreams, he also thinks it’s a good place to start if you need help an­swer­ing th­ese ques­tions. The first step is to rec­og­nize your own pat­terns. For in­stance, if your feed is mostly filled with peo­ple who travel the world, start think­ing about how to in­tro­duce ad­ven­ture into your day-to-day life. Or if you’re fol­low­ing a lot of cre­ative types, think about how you can be more cre­ative on a daily ba­sis. Then com­mit to weekly, monthly and six-month goals that will “get you closer to a job you ac­tu­ally want or a project you want to com­plete.”

Once you have your goals in place, your so­cial ac­counts may come in handy again. “Start fol­low­ing peo­ple on Twit­ter and LinkedIn and see what types of ar­ti­cles they post,” says Pos­wol­sky. “Look at their pho­tos to learn more about how they cre­ate and share their work. Com­ment and ask ques­tions about their con­tent. En­gag­ing with peo­ple on so­cial me­dia is a great way to reach out to some­one who might be a po­ten­tial men­tor or of­fer ca­reer ad­vice.”

So what lies be­yond FOMO? For Pos­wol­sky, it’s JOMO. “It means ‘joy of miss­ing out,’” he says. “I like it be­cause I think it’s more about the joy of self-aware­ness or self-love—that is, truly un­der­stand­ing your­self, your mo­ti­va­tions and your goals. Then you can spend time work­ing on projects you truly care about, projects that make you come alive.”

“It’s a de­ceiv­ingly sim­ple ques­tion—and one I’ve found most peo­ple can’t an­swer. What do you really want in your life? And are you on the path to­wards what you really want?”

– Oprah Win­frey

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