I was thinking about and progressing a five year goal of mine this morning and I realised something cool.
Did you know that in 5 years it will be almost 2020? That is THE FUTURE. All of a sudden it felt to me that the future is almost here. You know, the real future. 2020. It sounds like a real futuristic year. After the year 2000 we went into this period of lame years. Not that the years were lame in content, but the numbers just sucked. First of all we went through that period where no one was really sure what to call the years in short hand. “oh-one”, “two-double-oh-seven”? Then Twenty Ten arrived and it sounded better, and I was expecting it to be impactful in some way. The sound of it was quite punchy, and you could imagine a sci-fi film from the 80′s leading with “It was the year Twenty Ten!” and it would be all future and shit. But it didn’t happen. Twenty Ten just felt like any year.
I got to thinking about Twenty Twenty over coffee this morning as I pondered my 5 year goal I am working on (I will share at a later date). Other than an assessment of how well you can see, this year 2020 sounds like it will, finally, be an impressive future year. I have high hopes because today, right now, we live in an age now where the future feels just around the corner. We have Elon Musk and Richard Branson (and others) going into space. We are entering a golden era of manufacturing, with electric cars (Musk again), Makerbots and Kickstarters for almost anything you can imagine. Innovation used to be “The Internet”, now it’s real stuff of the future, and anyone can build it. Things you can touch, and sure that are connected via The Internet, but finally the future is almost tangible.
Five years is not that long. Like, if you had a five year goal to do something, then you would do that, THEN IT WOULD BE THE FUTURE. And this excited me no end. This is what excites me about 5 year goals, amazingness waits at the other end. But there is another reason I get excited about the impending and exciting future, because there is a dark side of five year goals that people don’t usually contemplate. It is something I have known about for a while, and probably explains some things about me and what motivates me.
Five year goals are awesome. 5 years is long enough to achieve something pretty cool, and because it feels like half a decade is a good nice rounded (yes I know it isn’t a round number) period of time. People always tend to think in terms of 5 years. It is a tidy number. You can fit two in a decade. And you can do all sorts of things in a 5 year goal.
Start a business.
Learn a language.
Move to a new city.
Wait for kids to move out of home.
Change some aspect of you physically.
Build a house.
Travel the world.
Change some part of the world.
Fall in love.
Achieve great things in your career.
There are all sorts of more interesting things you will think of as you contemplate what you want to achieve most in a 5 year goal.
There is one reason in particular I love the 5 year goal. I want to share it with you and this may be a little depressing. But it’s super important to contemplate and I ask you to contemplate this. Not to depress you, but hopefully to get you to think about 5 year goals a little differently. I am a little nervous about this, because it took me by surprise about 10 years back and I didn’t want to leave my room for a week.
Using the 5 year goal as a rough unit to achieve all the great things in life you want to achieve. Big chunky meaningful things. How many can you do? I mean think about it, and assume you can’t do many of the goals in parallel. And some of them may just be unattainable. The reality is life is all consuming and if you want to achieve something big you need to give it 100% of your focus. So if you had to give 100% of your focus on achieving amazing new things, outside of the noise of regular daily life, how many could you do before you, you know, die? Kick the bucket.
Say you are 30. You can do two chunky 5 year goals then you are 40. That is cool. 40 is cool. I am 40. It IS cool. Then you can do two more the you are 50. I am sure 50 is cool too, but at 50 you will find that perhaps the options of goals in your list shrinks somewhat. It is kinda late to be thinking about growing kids or climbing Everest, not too late, but you know what I mean. Not the optimal time to do it. Two more then you are 60. That business you wanted to start? You can still travel, but not backpack like when you were 30.
You have a finite number of 5 year goals. Pick the wrong ones, or get them in the wrong order, and you find yourself wondering where all the years and your dreams to spend them on went.
Sucks huh? Sorry.
I personally hate thinking about the fact I have perhaps 6 – 8 big goals I can achieve, and all the ones I am most excited about doing right now have an expiry of perhaps 55 years of age. So I only have 2 or 3 of these I can do. Arggggh! What? CHEATED!
But I don’t think about that, you can’t because it is just depressing. Instead I think about what if you only had 3 things you could achieve in your life. Not an infinite number, just 3. What would they be? This I find incredibly liberating as it really focusses me on the things I want to do with my life. Before I use it all up. It focusses me on the future constantly, wondering what the next 5 years will bring, and how I will maximise them. And that’s why I am pretty excited about 2020. I have the feeling there will be some pretty cool stuff to do in the future. Perhaps some new goals will become apparent, like go to space! But one thing that won’t change is I have only a fixed number of goals left to achieve.
And that is why I get impatient in life. And why when I find myself procrastinating I get on with living it and achieving one of those 5 year goals.