With all the self-improvement overload of information we get, we’re told that we must have goals. Goals are important and I personally set them 12 months in advance.
What’s incorrect is thinking you can realistically plan your life 5 years in advance.
The question I hate the most which we’ve all had in a job interview is:
“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
In my head I’m thinking:
“Retired on the beach with a New York Times Best Selling Book? I don’t freaking know!”
Not knowing is the best bit.
Too much certainty makes life really boring. Not knowing where you’re going to be in five years is awesome! If I rewind to 2011 when everything fell apart around me, I would never have predicted where I am today.
Back then I hated writing, had no clue what personal development was and thought my life was going to be miserable forever.
The surprise of seeing myself turn it all around is what makes me so proud. No one came and gave me something for free. I worked for what I have and fostered the proper mindset for success and you can too.
The parts I love about my life now are things I treasure most.
Uncertainty can be your best friend if you let it be. Stop trying to know everything in advance.
You’ll probably be wrong anyway.
Yep, that’s the sad news ladies and gentlemen.
Break out the tissues, shed a tear with me, accept that fact and then get to work. Life is full of suffering and you will definitely encounter a left hook to the face that will knock you flat on your ass. It will take you by surprise and your “5-year plan will take an instant backseat.”
In that moment, you’ll realize what you truly value and what your life is all about. Then you’ll rise and then fall again when the next event happens. Life is made up of these patterns.
“Once you accept this and understand that you’re never going to be your own fortune teller, shit gets real”
The case for short-term goals.
So why I don’t advocate for having these big, difficult, goals that exist in the Neverever Land of 5-year’s time: I’m a big believer in a couple of short-term goals. You need a tiny bit of direction otherwise you’ll get lazy and watch Netflix thinking you’ve got everything covered.
As an example, my two goals right now are changing my career and doing some big public speaking gigs. These two goals are both joined at the hip with my life’s purpose. They motivate me every day to get my lazy ass out of bed and put in the work.
As for five years’ time, I have no clue. I know the direction but I welcome the surprises.
Your future is similar to mine. You’ll need some big goals to get you there but trying to predict it is pointless.
“Thinking you have it all figured out is the disease of someone that thinks they know it all”
This mindset will get you into deep trouble.
Part of being humble is knowing that you don’t have all the answers. What matters is that you have faith in yourself and genuinely believe you can achieve some great accomplishments. What those exact accomplishments are is detail that is not required.
Not getting what you want is all part of the game.
The stupid thing about 5-year plus goals and visions is that it doesn’t take into account one thing: not getting what you want is so important.
If I’d got the successful long-term business I wanted five years ago, then I would never have hit rock-bottom and discovered personal development or blogging. I’d be running a business that I hate, to impress friends that I don’t like, to buy rubbish that brings me no happiness.
When you fail or don’t get what you want, you should be happy. It means there is going to be another avenue. It’s a sign.
Thinking you’ve got it all figured out and in five years you’ll have done X forgets about this very important detail.
“It seems counter-intuitive but not getting what you want is how you get what you need”
What should you focus on then?
Two big short-term goals and a purpose for your life. Short and sharp, just the way I like it, amigo.
Once you know why you exist on this planet, everything else will fall into place and the need for a 5-year plus plan will go out the window.
For example, my life purpose of inspiring the world through entrepreneurship and personal development could be achieved through the following ways:
– Writing books
– Starting a podcast
– Running events
– Working for a global brand
There are so many ways to achieve my life’s purpose and who really cares how I do it. I’d like to think it will be blogging. If I were to back a winner today, it would be probably blogging although I have a habit of being wrong about such matters of life.
The hardest bit is knowing your life’s purpose. Once you know that, the rest is execution. Lose the obsession for caring about which vehicle you end up using to fulfil your purpose – it’s not so important.
I hope I’ve inspired you to rethink these long-term scenarios in which you’ll almost always be wrong. I hope you can see now how crucial the macro is compared with the micro.
Don’t get caught up in the details and quit being a wannabe fortune-teller. Those wrinkly old things never did serve any of us any good.
Get to work and remember to dream big.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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