I’m getting older. And so are you. But if I were to pin down on that one thing that’s important to both of us, it will be — to live an extraordinary life! I’ve been at it since the day I graduated from high school, about 18 years ago, and believe me; I’m nowhere close to my destination. Heck, there are days when I feel I’m just getting started.
All of that is good. Over the years, life has taught me one valuable lesson — the decisions I make today are the ones that I will regret or rejoice about decades from now. So, living a remarkable life is all about thinking about your future and working backward. It’s a more intentional way to live your present.
Now, most people would argue that’s not the way to live. They think this is delaying gratification and “not living in the moment.” That’s not true. Living an intentional life is about being in the moment while making conscious decisions knowing that your future will be even better.
Managing your personal finance is a great example. You can start saving right now and build a great fortune. Even if you start tiny, rest assured, you will build a great habit and significant fortune overtime. That’s a conscious decision on your part to invest in the future.
Of course, taking stock of every decision you take on a day-to-day basis can be too much cognitive overload. But that’s why you need to have a system to guide your thinking. For me, asking thought-provoking questions does the trick (no wonder I’m a coach!). So, I often ask myself the following two questions:
- Would it matter 20 years from now? Useful in arguments, managing priorities, resolving individual differences, making a decision, exploring an opportunity, and the like.
- Would I regret not doing it 20 years from now? Useful in nailing those challenging, complicated, matters-of-the-heart, and emotional decisions. (Word to the wise: you’ll always regret not following your heart. No matter how “logical” you get. Just ask the folks you’re in the last phases of their lives.)
Yes, there are many more, but the idea isn’t to cram up a list of questions but clarify your future. Thinking through your decisions can help you make quality decisions that will have an impact on your life.
I love Benjamin Hardy’s rant (which inspired this post): “Make decisions now that will impress your peer group 20 years from now.” While I don’t give a hoot about my peer group, I value my opinion about my decisions. And I want to feel proud of them.