“The best way to predict the future is to create it” ~ Peter Drucker
I know it sounds weird, but a few years back I fell deeply in love with my morning coffee ritual. It’s true. I’m also not sure how it happened; just that one day my relationship with coffee went from casual fling to a lifelong, till-death-do-us-part relationship, one which I happily consummate (or more accurately, consume) each morning, one cup at a time.
For me, those first few minutes each morning between my waking up and first sip of coffee are the longest hours of each day. The space between them is so painstakingly long I understand how astronauts feel waiting to blast off to the moon. It’s frickin’ unbearable!
Every morning this caffeine-driven love affair begins at 4:30 AM sharp when the sweet sound of my Breville grinder sparks to life, whirring and pulverizing dark roast organic beans into perfect-sized granules for brewing. The split-second the grinder stops is my cue to leap out of my warm bed (which I always enthusiastically do) and begin frothing part two of the perfect coffee – the milk; skim, of course.
After the beans have been ground, they make their way into the filter-lined basket where they’ll spend the next ten minutes (or is it ten hours?) having near-boiling water slowly drip, drip, drip on them and through them, thereby releasing their strong, bold flavours into the world. From there, beautiful coffee dribbles it’s way from the bottom of the basket into the stainless steel carafe that waits below. It’s like the ballet, only with coffee.
All the while, the best smell in the world – the strong, sweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee- fills the room. For me it’s catnip, and I can’t get enough of it. And when the brewing cycle counts down to its final few seconds—12, 11, 10,—I eagerly begin smacking my chops in anticipation for that first cup of liquid perfection. Finally, the machine will chirp out three firm beeps, meaning the moment has finally arrived – It’s coffee time!
I fill up my designated coffee cup (no tea or hot chocolate allowed) and top it with freshly frothed milk which, having the colour and consistency of a fluffy cloud, means it can be finished off it with DQ style peak. And with this, it’s coffee time!
My first sip is usually long and decadent, lasting for several seconds. I’ll often savour it with my eyes closed, swirling it around in my mouth like fine brandy, and being all alone, usually murmur out a satisfying “Ahhhh…” before taking a second sip. When I open my eyes, the truth is staring me in the face. In this delicious moment, a somber truth is evident. In terms of satisfying daily experiences, this will be the moment that needs to be topped. Or not. Either way, I always have tomorrow morning’s coffee to look forward to, right? Boom!
But here’s the thing: I also know this perfect moment each morning doesn’t happen by chance; it’s the result of my having foresight enough to (a) know the result I want, (b) when I want it, and (c) taking the individual steps required to ensure it happens as planned.
Ironically, it was while drinking coffee when I stumbled upon an article that outlined my coffee-preparation mindset in vivid detail; even more impressive, it did so without mentioning coffee! This leads me to believe that maybe there’s more to fanatical preparedness than meets the bean. I mean the eye.
Titled “Take Care of Your Future Self”, the premise was simple: It suggested that in order to achieve a specific result tomorrow, (or next month, or next year, etc.) we must perform certain tasks today; you know, like in order to wake up to fabulous coffee in the morning, one needs to prepare our coffeemaker the night before.
The article said that the best way to ensure we do the required tasks (today) to get our result (tomorrow) is to see ourselves as two separate people: Person One is us today; and Person Two is us tomorrow–a.k.a. the future us. It said anytime we can get these two working together, we’ll usually get the results we want, when we want them.
By that rationale, if (Future me) wants to wake up tomorrow morning to a perfect cup of joe, then (Today me) must take certain actions before bed to ensure it happens. Here’s what this looks like.
Before hitting the pillow at night, I must ensure my coffee machine is ready for the morning. This means I (a) topped the bean hopper up, (b) filled the water reservoir to my desire cup level (8 cups–don’t judge) and (c) set the timer for 4:30 AM.
Once this is done, I jump into bed and count sheep until several hours later when the automatic whirr of the grinder goes off letting me know hot, fresh coffee is only ten minutes away. But wait, there’s more:
For my coffee to be perfect each time also means my coffeemaker must be in tip-top shape at all times. As such, (Today me) will take it apart and clean out the grinder once a week to ensure everything is working whenever (Future me) wants coffee.
Oh, and let’s not forget calcium build up! To avoid my morning coffee tasting like a couple of blackboard chalk brushes—yuck— (Today me) routinely descales the coffee machine each month. Combined with my nightly routine, (Today me) always ensures (Future me) brews perfect coffee with no issues. Yay! Well done, (Today me)!
But as much as I love a great coffee (and I do), this idea is about much more. Viewing one-self as two people -each playing a distinctive role- helps create the quality of life we want. It means we take responsibility for our situations by preparing for, and then taking steps that help create the results we want. Again, these roles are:
- “Future me” who gets to enjoy a predetermined result or desired outcome
- “Today me” who takes the actions required to ensure those results and outcomes
Here are a few other examples how (Today me) can support (Future me) in creating a smoother, happier life:
- If before leaving in the morning (Today me) makes the bed and does the dishes, (Future me) doesn’t have to clean up after a long day’s work. Cocktail time!
- When (Today me) sees the “check engine” light go on in his car, he doesn’t ignore it; he takes the vehicle in and has the engine checked! Duh! He certainly doesn’t want (Future me) to be stuck on the side of the road in the rain when it could have easily been avoided, right? While he’s at it, (Today me) always gets regular oil changes!
- (Today me) puts some of his pay away each month, knowing that (Future me) can use the savings to enjoy a vacation, or add to his growing nest egg.
- (Today me) doesn’t miss any days of his exercise routine, because he doesn’t want (Future me) to get fat and flabby. He also doesn’t want to saddle him with tight-fitting clothes, low self-esteem, or the notion that he can’t keep his commitment to himself. He likes (Future me) too much to do that to him.
I like this idea of being two separate entities who plan for each other. It seems to work well, and makes perfect sense to me.
Best of all, since I know that (Today me) is always looking out for (Future me), it means I’m thinking ahead and considering my options. Except with coffee.
(Today me) AND (Future me) already know where I stand with that; and by now, I suspect you do, too.
Author Bio: David Knapp-Fisher
As founder of The Inspired Humans Project, David loves sharing inspirational stories. His TEDx talk, “Discipline or Regret, a Father’s Decision” been viewed over 112,000 times, and his book, “Punch Failure in The Face, The Buy It a Beer” has 36 five star reviews on amazon.ca.
David lives in Victoria B.C. and spends most of his time trying (& usually failing) to stump his son with movie trivia or planning his next big adventure; both while drinking great coffee, of course.