How to Deal With the Most Annoying Person in the World (Your Past Self) There is someone significant in your life who is lowering your self-esteem and squashing your productivity. Learn how to change that person so you can thrive.

By Mike Moyer

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Imagine there is a person who comes to your office and interrupts you by talking about politics all the time and showing you funny memes on his phone and maybe some pictures that he thinks might interest you. He distracts you from getting work done and causes you to miss deadlines, which leads to you having to ask for extensions on your work. Even if you do produce something, the results are less than your best, because he wastes so much of your time.

He follows you home, eats your food and leaves his dishes out for you to clean up. He uses your clothes and leaves laundry all over the floor. He uses your stuff and leaves it out for you to pick up. Whenever he looks at you, he is critical of your looks, your style and your success. He misplaces your keys, shoes, phone, wallet and all sorts of things that make you late to appointments and generally stressed out all the time.

How much patience would you have for this guy? Would you like him? Probably not. Would you hate him? Probably so.

If you haven't figured it out yet, this is you from the past. Your past self is the one who hit snooze ten times this morning making you late for work. Your past self is the one who used your credit card to splurge on workout gear that your past self never used and the gym membership that your past self never visited. Now, you are out of shape and going broke. Your past self is stressing you out and making you do all the work!

Related: 3 Powerful Ways to Keep Your Past From Dictating Your Future

What are you?

Your past self is the most annoying person in the world. The question is: What are you? The good news is that you can choose what kind of person you want to be and how you want to treat others, including your future self. Are you going to be nice to others, or are you going to saddle them with stress and a pile of work to be done?

Imagine that you show up to the office tomorrow morning and find everything neat and organized the way you like it. There is a little note on your desk outlining your top priorities for the day, along with some encouraging words. Throughout the day, there are minimal interruptions from social media, and there are no distracting arguments about politics.

When you get home, the house is tidy, the dishes are done, and there is a cold beer waiting for you in the fridge. These are the kinds of things that people do for those they love and care about. All of these things were made possible by your past self.

How do you feel about your past self now? When your past self does nice things for you, your current self feels good and grateful. Your current self pays it forward by doing nice things for your future self.

Related: How to Break Frustrating Patterns in Your Life

Faulty logic

When your past self leaves you to clean up the messes they made, they're assuming that you will be in a better mood, less tired, smarter, richer and in better shape than them. This assumption isn't true, because after all, you are just you.

If your past self is always undermining your current self, how can you ever like yourself or trust yourself with important work? If your current self is always picking up after your past self, how will your current self ever get ahead? If your past self is always taking advantage of you, your self-esteem is going to be in the toilet.

Being nice

There is absolutely no possible way to improve your self-esteem or productivity if your past self doesn't shape up, start pulling his weight and being useful and cooperative.

Unfortunately, you can't change your past self — just like you can't change other people. You can, however, change your current self. If you are nicer to other people, they will be nicer to you. If you cooperate with other people, they will be more likely to cooperate with you. If you pick up the messes you make, other people — including your future self — will have more respect for you and like you better.

Related: Only You Can Change Your Life

Getting started

If you want a better life, you must change yourself — regardless of how you were treated by your past self. No matter how horrible or abusive your past self is, you must set aside your differences, and you have to make the first move. Treat your future self the way you wish your past self had treated you.

If you wanted someone else to like you, or even love you, what would you do? Would you help him out at work? Would you mow his lawn? Would you help him get in shape? Would you always be fair?

When you love someone, what do you do for them? Are you there for them when they need you? Do you work hard so they can have a better future? You are not your past self, and you are not your future self. You are simply you, and that's all you have to work with. Change the way you treat your future self, and all the mistakes made by your past self will stay in the past!

Mike Moyer

Inventor of Slicing Pie

Mike Moyer has started and run companies ranging from clothing manufacturing to marketing technology. Today, he runs Slicing Pie, a SaaS company that helps startup founders create fair equity splits. He teaches at Northwestern University. His books include "The Slicing Pie Handbook."

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