What I Really Learned This Past Decade That Will Help Us Thrive In The Next One
I’m sure I’m not the only who feels like days move slow but decades move fast. I still have extremely vivid memories of what 2010 was like. I was in the final year of high school. Looking back, it’s amazing how much I’ve learned throughout these last ten years. About the world, about people, and most importantly, about myself.
I wouldn’t be where or who I am today if it weren’t for the shoulders of giants that I was fortunate to stand on these last ten years. People who have given me perspective and opportunities. Challenges I was fortunate to come across and overcome. And as with most people who get ready for the new year and new decade, I would like to reflect on some of the important things I’ve learned as a reminder to myself.
Slow Down And Figure Out What You Truly Want
If you want to be successful on paper, then maybe you can get away with treating life like a series of high intensity sprints. It was common for me in my college life and into my early twenties. Exams, schoolwork, jobs, social life. Go hard. Every day. YOLO. Get those high scores. Maximize your social life when you’re young. Sleep is for the weak. Rinse and repeat until you get outside validation that you’re doing the right thing.
The reality is that this creates confusion in the long run instead of deep satisfaction. Very few people know what they truly want early in life. I made this mistake and started sprinting with the pack without knowing which direction I really wanted to go.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m sure you’ve heard that one before. It’s true. Pivots will happen more than you think. Take some time and figure out what you want to do. Enjoy life while you can. It’s okay if it takes longer than you initially imagined. When what you want naturally comes, you will feel a deep satisfaction that you wouldn’t feel otherwise.
Make The Leap
If you’re unhappy with your career and wanted to explore a completely different field with no prior experience, do it.
If you spend a lot of time thinking about that one business idea, or turning a hobby into a career or side hustle, do it.
If you want to pick up a new hobby that requires a learning curve, stop procrastinating and do it.
If you feel genuinely bored of a city, state, or country and want to see what life is like in another part of the world, move.
If you want to write, but don’t know if people will enjoy reading it, write anyways 😉 .
Life is a game of musical chairs. A lot of these chairs are invisible at first, but they’re there when the music stops.
The Things You Want To Keep Will Require Maintenance
Let’s say you work out extremely hard for a few months and now you have an awesome body. If you want to keep it, then congratulations, you now have a gym routine and a healthy diet for the rest of your life.
You’ve found your dream partner. You love them and want to keep them around for as long as possible. Now it’s your turn to maintain those awesome habits that got them attracted to you in the first place. Don’t stop going on dates!
Tried meditation for a few months and you’re now totally present? Keep meditating or else it’ll slowly trickle away. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Everything we earn in life is through hard work and good habits. If we want to keep those things, we need to stay consistent or atrophy will accumulate.
Personal Values Matter Everywhere
The last ten years have challenged me and forced me to really think about what I want out of life aside from impressing other people. The most important thing was knowing that I can choose what values I want for myself and that other people’s expectations didn’t matter.
This meant that I had to stay consistent with my values and decide what is right and important for me no matter what external things were present. If I decide that my relationships with my significant other, my friends, and my family are the most important thing to me, I have to always decide this. Even when it might inconvenience me. Even when it might cost me a lot of money. Because at the end of the day staying true to your personal values pays massive dividends in the type of people and opportunities that come your way in the future.
Be Both System And Goal Oriented
The last few years consisted of these two concepts bouncing around in my mind. I started out being a goal oriented person. I set aggressive targets for everything. How was I going to get there? For some of my targets, I knew exactly how. Others, not so much. I just told myself I would figure it out later.
As you can guess, only having aggressive goals with no plan or system in place leads to many failed or delayed goals. Especially if you’re trying to accomplish multiple things at once. I knew I wanted xyz things, and I had a vague picture of what was needed to get there, but it was unsustainable and unrealistic for me.
Fast forward to system thinker me for the last two years. Goals are useless! Everything falls to the level of your systems! Optimize everything in your system and the accomplishments will naturally fall into place!
In reality even though this may be true for most people, it became very boring. Eliminating big goals and focusing on optimizing my daily habits killed my creativity and made me complacent. It was only after going through this experience that I understand one needs to be both goal and system oriented. Goals come first, but systems are more important.
You Have A Relationship With Yourself
This is the most important relationship you will have in your life.
How often do you consciously think about your relationship with yourself?
I’ve only begun thinking about my relationship with myself in the last two years. Being conscious about this actually helped me improve in all aspects of my life as a person. It makes me more forgiving. It makes me more honest and accountable.
Think about your relationship with yourself. What would you have improved on for yourself in the last few years? What do you want to do for yourself over the next decade?