To save you decades of life or hours of research paper reading, what is the best way to think about your life and time if you want to be happy and successful? Have a very positive and nostalgic view of your past, be balanced in your enjoyment of today and planning for tomorrow, and absolutely avoid a negative view of your past and a fatalistic view of the present. Some of this is common sense to successful people, bad attitudes and a lack of planning result in bad outcomes, but what about this past stuff? I have discovered that it’s not so much our past as our view of our own past that has a huge impact on the present and future. Family members with nearly identical life experiences can have very different views of their past and as a result, very different life satisfaction. Of course, there is no doubt that some aspect of our past-view is colored by our outcomes, so that people with unhappy lives connect the causal dots to unhappy past events. But I firmly believe that in order to be happy and broadly successful in all areas of our lives, we need to view our past as a series of events that lead to a positive and happy life. Said another way, as we write the unfolding story of our lives we have the power to choose the chapter titles, to select the turning points and the shaping factors that best explain a happy and successful present and future, and in so doing, make our lives a story worth living. – Michael W. Boone, CFP, CFA

 

*Albright, Robert and John McDermott. 2015. “Time Perspective and the Practice of Financial Planning.” Journal of Financial Planning 28 (1): 46–52.