I read an article today that suggested taking time to think about how your life (and business) have evolved over the course of 5 years.
I decided to do the exercise, and was floored by it.
The goal of this post is to align some of the causality in my own life, versus just rambling about the changes that have happened.
5 years feels like a while, but it’s not. Not really. It’s a solid chunk of time, but I also know the next 5 years are going to pass by in the blink of an eye, just as these last 5 have. They feel full of events, to be sure, and they’ve certainly been full of progress and change, but it still doesn’t really feel like 5 years has passed. It just feels like a series of phase-changes, without any “chronological rooting,” for lack of a better way to say it. In other words, that subconscious awareness of chronology that makes me feel like last week’s events happened a week ago doesn’t seem to exist with memories from the distant past — they’re just sorta thrown into the general category of “shit that happened a while ago.” That is to say, a memory from 1,256 days ago doesn’t feel like it happened 1,256 days ago to me; it truly just feels like it happened more than a month ago.
And I think that’s why I’m so floored thinking about the changes that these last 5 years have brought on: until now, I hadn’t actually taken the time to put myself in the shoes of where I was 5 years ago, because that whole period of time is in the timeless mental file cabinet of “shit that happened a while ago.” But now that I’ve put myself back there, I’m stunned to see how my thoughts, desires, and habits have played out. It’s really encouraging to think about how far I’ve come these past 5 years with respect to my goals, but it’s also a little unnerving to consider how I only have 13 more of these “5 year blinks” left before I die — and that’s assuming I’m fortunate enough to live to be 90.
But at the same time, I’ve had a veritable lifetime of experience crammed into these past 5 years. In a nutshell I’ve…
- Dropped out of college (might have technically been in ’09)
- Run a start-up out of my bedroom
- Had an office with employees
- Had a mental breakdown
- Downsized from 10 employees to just me, and got rid of the office
- Bought (and later sold) a house
- Repeatedly not had enough money to pay the mortgage
- Experienced love, as well as heartbreak
- Got a “real job” due to being burnt out with my business
- Experienced the tired, dejected, lazy monotony of commuting and working 9-5 at a job
- Re-structured my business and quit my real job
- Grew my business to multiple 6 figures
- Learned to love myself, and thereby to truly be able to love others
- Re-structured the business again to be able to travel the world
As I write this, I’m co-working at a London coffee shop with two friends whom I met in the Philippines and Iceland, respectively. And in a few hours, I’ll go home to my Londonite girlfriend, whom I met in Italy at a yoga retreat, and have been staying with. Who could have seen that coming 5 years ago?
It’s interesting… the very same business that was a stressful, soul-sucking bitch 5 years ago, and had me constantly feeling overworked, stressed, and broke is now the vehicle that allows me to travel the world, live well, and not ever have to worry about whether or not I’ll be able to pay the bills next month.
The most interesting thing of all, though, has been reflecting on how these changes correlate to my mindset. I think the dangerous trap most people fall into when they’re first exposed to the concept of the law of attraction is expecting an instant pay-off. We live in a culture where we’re conditioned to seek instant results. And yet, our present lives that we live are largely the result of many years of habits adding up. I distinctly remember a time in my life — probably around 2010 or so — where I had an idea to start writing a book on how to get rich, prior to getting rich, and then publishing it once I’d reached the level of success I held in my mind. The idea was that it would serve as an illustrative work to the disbelievers, and would show that all it really takes is the right mindset, coupled with patience and persistence. I don’t think I ever wrote more than a few pages, but it’s interesting thinking back to how confident I was that I’d “make it” eventually, even though my circumstances at the time were fairly shitty.
The message here is that today is a fantastic time for all of us to start sowing the seeds of a fantastic life that we will get to harvest in a few years. Consider this: we’re all constantly planting seeds that take 5 years to grow, and we harvest what grows without even noticing ourselves doing it — why not plant the seeds that will later grow into the life of your dreams? All it takes is the intention and belief.