Replicate your Yesterday and Day-Before-That out over a few hundred days. That’s a year or two. Is what you’re doing today going to get you from Where-You-Are to Where-You-Want-To-Be? Have you invested sufficiently into the relationships you have with the people you care for? Did the people you engaged with form part of your future vision of success? What does the recipe of a single day look like that’s a solid and eligible template to compound out over a few years to get you closer to your life’s aspirations?
“You are what you repeatedly do.” — Will Durant
I’ve recently been stuck in a bit of a lull of repetition – a case of wash, rinse and repeat in life with limited diversity and change. It’s part of an “operating” mindset at work and home that’s fairly steady state. It’s not “the jungle of disruption,” there aren’t enormously challenging tasks like I experienced in 2017 – namely having our first child and focussing our business on being a tech platform and unwinding an agency, all of which have definitely contributed to a head of grey hair. It’s the “country roads” of operating in steady state.
But therein lies the trap, or so I’ve come to think about a lot lately.
As a future-focused personality type, I’ve become increasingly aware of what I do in a day and how it might affect my future. Einstein said that interest is the eighth wonder of the world. But it’s a reflex to think that only applies to your money. It’s applicable to your money and your time.
So I’ve recently become very conscious about this compound effect of my actions and how these form my habits and my habits form my future. So easily, I get caught in the belief that replying to emails is my job, so here are a few areas in life I’m focussing on to leverage my future through small investments made today.
Sleep, Eat and Exercise
“If you were given a new car today and told that it’s the car that you’ll be keeping for the rest of your life, the way you treat it would be a little different”, said Warren Buffet. The same applies to your body. Care about the type of food you put into it and how you keep it fit and operating at its best. We’re all probably going to live longer than we’re expecting to given the advances in healthcare. Spending thirty years in your sunset years with health issues is not a fun way I’d like to finish my life.
Books compress a lifetime’s worth of someone’s most impactful knowledge into a format that demands just a few hours of our time. They provide the ultimate return on investment. I’ve found myself enjoying books on philosophy (particularly stoicism), artificial intelligence and biographies from business and sports legends. Ray Dalio, Phil Knight and Andre Aggasi, most recently. I’ve also started listening to audiobooks and podcasts while in the car. I’m amazed at the time that’s otherwise lost in a week driving that I’m now putting towards more knowledge.
There’s the saying that you’re the sum of the parts of the people you spend most of your time with. I’ve found in my thirties that I have fewer, close relationships, but many more “people that want to meet up for coffee”. With time being my most precious resource, I’m challenged by who to connect with and how much time to spend with them, but am also aware that there’s a very high likelihood that my existing network will almost certainly be the biggest influence on my future path. So investing into the people I aspire to be like and can learn from is my go-to, with a healthy dose of staying in touch with my peer group is my current approach.
Remember how mentally taxing varsity was? But that you’d still have the capacity for a party? I miss how plastic my mind was then, and am aware of how it’s becoming an old dog not able to take well to new tricks that easily. Given the monumental changes in the way the world works because of computing and the need to be globally competitive, if you’re not forcing yourself to stretch your mind and take small bets on the future through investments in time and money, I can’t imagine it’s a recipe for a hockey-stick success life.
“Given a ten percent chance of a 100 times payoff, you should take that bet every time. But you’re still going to be wrong nine times out of ten. We all know that if you swing for the fences, you’re going to strike out a lot, but you’re also going to hit some home runs. The difference between baseball and business, however, is that baseball has a truncated outcome distribution. When you swing, no matter how well you connect with the ball, the most runs you can get is four. In business, every once in awhile, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1,000 runs.” Jeff Bezos.
In summary, there are probably a dozen more things in life that need attention and I hope to build awareness about them. I heard a great quote this week, “Success is adding value to yourself. Significance is adding value to others.” It’s my prerogative to stay focused on adding value to my family and myself, and in the end, it looks like there’s a return in quality of life that’s would savouring in the decades ahead. Even though it means some habit forming commitments, today.