Your life one small step at a time
You agonize about finding the perfect career to last a lifetime; getting pushed in your 20s to declare a path expected to last until you die.
You lie down at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering why you haven’t yet found that relationship you were told should be the “for the rest of my life” choice you must have to define your life.
You lose sleep over your personal lifestyle, feeling compelled to choose now, today, where you will live forever, the home you need to buy you can’t afford, and where you will send the kids you haven’t had yet to school someday.
Your parents, and the culture they reflected from that generation, believed your life had to be planned in your 20s until the day you retired, or died
Statistically, most of you under 40 could live well into your 90s, and beyond, and there are gerontologists who believe there are people living under the age of 30 that could someday push the 150-year-old barrier.
But does anyone believe any 30-year-old person has to know now what he or she wants to do for the next 60 years of their life? We simply live too long to make a choice now with a forever outcome.
And who believes anyone who has 60 years, or more, of life yet to be lived has to stick with one career, one business, one place to live, and according to the numbers, even stick with just one person, since people getting married in their 20s have an over 50 percent chance of changing their significant person as well?
Stop worrying about the last step in life that might be decades ahead
Stop going crazy agonizing on why you are here, what your purpose is in life, and what you are supposed to be doing with every facet of the life you are still creating. Stop the pain of figuring out a future that will change a thousand times, and simply go out and live.
Instead of obsessing about the last step of hopefully a very long journey; simply focus everything on the next step and how you want to spend the next 3–5 years of your life?
You want to start a business? Then start one and sell it in a few years and make enough money for five years of traveling. A business isn’t forever; opening a business is just a step to move your life ahead and give you a chance to learn and grow doing something new while creating wealth.
Want to change careers? Do something new for a while and give it a chance. A new job, or career, isn’t forever; new beginnings can just be a short two or three-year bus ride until you get off at the next corner. You tried it, you gave it everything you had, but in the end you the choice wasn’t really you so time to move on to the next adventure.
Never get captured by the, “forever” trap
Life is a series of steps forward
The steps do not have to be sequential
The steps do not have to make sense to friends or parents
In the past, you would seek help with the big issues of life through the advice and guidance of an older generation. The problem today is the older generation, and the experiences of their life, is so generational specific that it does not apply to what you face.
Having someone tell you how a job or relationship should be handled today, based upon an experience that is 40 years old, usually doesn’t translate well. The culture of 40 years ago was different, and how people thought, and acted, in society, and personally, was far removed from what you will experience as an adult man or woman in your time and within your generation.
A few decades ago, our lives were culturally determined and everyone passed through most of the same layers of life. You went to high school, or if you were one of the lucky few, you went to college, you left school; then you started on your chosen career.
This career was often your life’s work, whether you wished it to be or not, and you would stay with this career until you retired in your mid-50s; then you spent your alleged “golden years” waiting to die, which statistically happened about six years or so after retirement.
The layers of life are different for you, and having even a simple model to think about might help you understand that what worked generations ago may not work for you, leaving you to discover your own paths in life.
No one has to experience these in any set order, and you might be the person who finds your own way in life by skipping a layer, but knowing these layers are out there, and part of a typical person’s life experience, will help you make better decisions for yourself.
This should be the time period where you explore your passion and try on lots of different jobs, experiences and relationships.
There is no need to decide too early what you want to do with your life, and the more of life’s experiences you have in your 20s, the easier it will be later to create a life based upon doing what you are truly passionate about.
Read, try different types of work; travel as much as you can, maybe live in a few big cities, but most importantly, take chances and try things.
The only failure you should ever think about at this stage of your life is not that you tried something and didn’t like it, but that you were too scared to try something new at all.
This is the age of experiencing the world. Try on new cities, new people, new jobs and commit to little but experience the most you can in life.
This is also the age where money is neglected, but choices made now will set you in motion for life. The goal at this age should be to invest as close as you can at about $400 a month in simple tools, such as index funds.
Student loans and other factors of life sometimes negate this, and everyone believes they can catch up later, but starting with the discipline to invest something each month in yourself now makes a tremendous difference in your life later.
This should be the time in your life where you declare your passion and begin to create a career based upon doing what you love. This career represents the next step in life, but will most likely not be the career you have to be doing out there in the future.
The best advice from generations pasts still applies here and that is to learn more about one thing than anyone else and you will never be poor or out of work. Generalists litter the sidewalks of failure these days: specialists who focus and concentrate will always find a way to make money.
This is the decade of your life where you become the master of what you choose to do. These is the age where you now have the experience and maturity to take the passion from your earlier years and start to create wealth, with the goal of becoming that expert or master at something you love.
The maturity of these years allows you to fully grasp the depth of your work and your life. Many people who don’t identify their passion by these years often struggle for the rest of their life.
You don’t want to the person still looking for something meaningful to do, and still blaming others for your failure, when you are in your 40s. Commit to your passion and commit to the quality of life you create for yourself.
This should be your wealth building years, although you might find that this can happen at any time in your life when you are working hard on your dream.
There are many people in their 20s who create wealth through the delivery of a good idea, and there will also be others who will find it later through the long, slow process of experience and maturity. Either way is right, as long as it is your way.
These are also the years where your actions and the way you live will determine the quality of the rest of your life. Each decade should lead to a bigger goal, and that goal is to live healthy by making choices that ensure no matter how many years you live, you will always live as an active participant in life, and not as someone regulated to watch life slip away due to bad choices.
Eat healthy, exercise everyday of your life, avoid the thieves of life, such as drugs and smoking, and build yourself into a person that just gets better with age rather than one who fades away decades earlier than they should of from not being smart enough to take care of themselves.
These are the years where you should be guiding others and paying back the universe for the success you have achieved. The most important way to do this is by helping others through your money and through giving your time.
This is when you start life all over again. This is the age where you can do those crazy things you didn’t get to earlier.
Some experiences or goals in life will have to be set aside to accomplish the ones you want most, but later you can revisit these other, not yet forgotten, passions that were less important at the time compared to your big dreams.
Your 70s can be the years where you live the great adventure, write the book you always wanted, take guitar lessons, learn to play a sport or just pack up everything and ride the trains of Europe. Life is not over when you are 70; it’s just a time in your life of rejuvenation and another start on the next adventure.
Ultimately, seek passion in life
Despite the hundreds of books, and thousands of articles written about finding your passion, all finding your passion means is find something important to you, something that has the potential to keep you in money during your life, and something that keeps you from being trapped doing meaningless or boring work.
Passion is finding something you want to willingly give your undivided attention every day, and the hours spent involved with what you love pass as the best hours of your life.
Life is about experiences, adventures, pushing your limits into something new and exciting, and about seeing where you fit into the world.
Life is about finding something new to challenge you to grow and expand your mind; challenges that blow you out of your own little world that we often let becomes narrow and so overly claustrophobic.
Life is about what is next. You will live with more intensity, more passion, and more depth, if you worry about “next,” and give up thinking you have to know now what you want to do forever.