“What’s the me in ten years going to think about what I did today?” – Hugh Howie, TKP Interview
I wrote a 500 word post Friday night about what I was going to do, read it and tucked it away in the drafts folder. I won’t write about what I’m going to do, I’m just going to do it and write about it after I’ve accomplished something. I have nothing against planning, but I’ve been caught in the trap of making bold claims and not getting there. No more “We will go to the moon” proclamations, just set the goal and get it done. And then I listened to a couple of The Knowledge Project (TKP) podcast interviews I’ve been meaning to get to, and it clarified my thoughts on the matter. I’ve noted my short-term goals, and I’ll pursue them earnestly, but quietly.
“A lot of our calcification, the inability to break our stasis and launch our lives in a different direction is the feeling that we should have done it ten years ago and we’ve lost the opportunity and now we can’t do it. But ten years from now we’re going to think the same thing about this very moment, today… whatever you think you could have done five or ten years ago to change the direction of your life, you can do that right now, today, and make that deflection point, that decision…” – Hugh Howie, TKP Interview
I can look back and see deflection points throughout my life. Places where I did something that led me to something else that led me here. We all can, really. And sometimes you’ll wish you’d done this or that other thing along the way, or done more of something that clearly would have brought you further down the path to where you wish you were at. But Howie turns that around and points to the future you looking back on you today. Today is your deflection point – what will you do with it?
And that brings me to another TKP podcast that the interviewer Shane Parrish highlighted in his newsletter; Robert Greene’s concept of alive time. It’s been borrowed and amplified by Ryan Holiday as well. I keep coming back to this concept, and the words “alive time” chirp in my ear whenever I waste time playing one-too-many games of computer chess or watching television or scrolling through political opinions on Twitter. No, you were meant for more than this, get to it already.
“You really don’t own anything in life. When you’re born, and you come out of your mother’s womb, and you’re kicking and screaming, and you go through your 60, 70, 80, 90 years of life, you think that you own stock and money, and this, that, and the other, but really, you don’t own anything, because it all disappears, it all goes away, and you die, and there’s nothing left. The only thing, the only thing that you own, the only thing that we can say is that you own time. You have so much time to live. … Let’s just say you have 85 years to live. That is yours … Alive time is time that’s your own. Nobody tells you what to do, nobody is commanding you how to spend it. … Taking ownership of your time means I only have this much time to live, I’d better make the most of it, I’d better make it alive time, I’d better be urgent, have a bit of an edge, be aware of each moment as it’s passing and not in a fog.” – Robert Greene, TKP Interview
So when we talk about this pandemic in ten years, how did it serve as a deflection point in your life? How did you use your alive time to pivot into a new and exciting pursuit? How did you use the extra time with family? What did you learn? What workout did you do that proved foundational in your path to better fitness? What’s the me in ten years going to think about what I did today?