I recently read an article that asked me to rate my life on a scale of 1-10, so I will ask you to do the same thing. Rate your life on a scale of 1-10.
This is a difficult task, condensing our complex lives into a single number. However, that is not the purpose of this exercise. Your current score is not the important part. What is important is what constitutes a 10 for you, and what you can do to achieve it. This exercise gets us to think about 1) where we want to go in life, 2) how to get there, and 3) actually doing it.
The first step is figuring out what “life at a 10” means. Think about what a 10 would look like for you. In your perfect life, what are you doing? Are you traveling around the world and experiencing new adventures, are you married and starting a family in your dream home, or are you starting your own business and building it into an empire? Whatever your answer is, you are going to have to prioritize and make some sacrifices. There is a saying, “You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want”. If your life at a 10 includes owning your own mansion, you probably aren’t going to be able to retire tomorrow. If it includes traveling the world, you probably aren’t going to be starting a family right beforehand. You have to prioritize and make sacrifices. You can have anything you want, but that doesn’t mean you can have everything. Think of it like the rocks, pebbles, and sand story. Start with what is most important to you and go from there, filling in the pebbles and sand. The answer will be different for everybody, but we all have to think about what makes us happy and what our “life at a 10” would be.
The second step is figuring out how to get there. If you want to be your own boss and work for yourself, you are likely going to start your own business. If you want to retire early in Hawaii, then you are going to need to find a way to save enough money to make it the rest of your life without a salary, or set up some passive income streams (e.g., investing your savings). You will need to make changes to your life, sometimes drastic changes, but that shouldn’t stop you. If you truly want to live out your life at a 10, there are going to be some changes that seem impossible: quitting your job, moving to a new city, etc. These changes aren’t going to be easy, but if you don’t make them, no one else will. This step is all about finding the path that connects where you currently are and where you want to go, about figuring out what it takes to get to a 10.
The third step is doing it. Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and is now a billionaire investor, has a quote that I really like: “Take your 10-year life plan and ask, Why can’t I do this in six months?”. If you want to start your own business, travel the world, or start your own Instagram channel, what are you waiting for? No one ever said it was going to be easy, or that it wasn’t going to be scary. Taking the first step is the hardest, but action must be taken.
For me, being my own boss and setting my own schedule was part of my dream, so I am starting my own business as well as this blog. Sure it was intimidating, and seems like a mountain so big that I’ll never be able to climb it, but you have to start somewhere. I didn’t want to have 5, 10, 20 years go by without me at least attempting to achieve my dreams. It is too easy to become complacent, to take the path of least resistance, to avoid change. Maybe this post is the motivation you need, or maybe it will be your New Year’s Resolution next year. Whatever the case, I really challenge you to make the change, to redirect your live and get on the path towards a 10.
As you go through this process you will learn that the third step, implementing the changes into your life, is the hardest, but it is also where you will find the most joy. The constant struggle (and yes, it will be a struggle) of bettering ourselves is where we derive satisfaction. Sure, if we bust our butt at work to get a bonus that will buy us a new house, that new house may bring us great joy. However, that won’t quench our thirst. After that, we’ll want a bigger house, with a pool, and a new car to go with it, and so on. When we reach what we once thought was a 10, it will no longer be a 10. We rarely stay satisfied, and our lives and situations change. The “things” are the motivation, but the joy truly comes from the journey. Step 3, the journey of getting that bonus, where we pushed ourselves harder than we ever had and became better everyday, that is what life is all about.
We can all get caught up in the weeds of life and lose sight of what our goals are. Take a step back to assess where your life is, where it is going, and where you want it to go. Do you need to change direction? I am on a path to get my life to a 10, and I will be sharing my insights on how best to get there.