Everything is blowing around … palm trees are bending, giant waves are crashing and spraying, wind is whistling, and the hurricane shutters are rattling loudly as a huge storm makes its way across the state. In the distance I can faintly see the towers at Cape Canaveral, and this week I’ve had the treat of watching rockets soar into space while the air around me vibrates.
When I was a kid, I went to the 1965 New York World’s Fair, where we saw prototypes of Dick Tracy-style talking watches, flying cars, phones with TV screens so you could see the person you’re talking with, and robots who would do your work for you. We were told that one day TVs would hang on the wall like pictures. Rockets were something that happened annually, if we were lucky, and now rockets go up more than weekly. Now I can talk on my Apple Watch just like Dick Tracy, and my phone is the communicator from Star Trek (the only thing missing is the ability to beam me up). I can talk to anyone in the world on my screen. Flying drone cars are available now, as are jetpacks so you can fly, and rockets are going up frequently to put satellites in so we can have high-speed Starlink Internet and TV anywhere in the world. AI robots can do a lot of our work for us, freeing up time. We are living in the future.
The rate of change we’ve seen in the last five years is greater than any change we’ve seen in our lifetimes — greater than any time in history. What happens in the next five or 10 years will blow your mind. You and I have to be ready for an unknown future, which is very exciting but also a little intimidating. For instance, I went to a conference that said, “If you can live 10 more years, you’re likely to live 30 to 50 more years.” Imagine how that impacts our lives. I know people who know their great-grandchildren, but they might end up knowing another generation or two.
When I mention such things, I’ve had people tell me they don’t want to live that long. But what if you could do it and be healthy, vibrant, relevant, happy, and have plenty of money? Google says someday you’ll be able to transfer your brain to a new 3D-printed body, eliminating death altogether. (That brings up lots of social discussions I’ll avoid for the moment.) But at bare minimum, tech has changed so much that even now, you can reverse aging with a simple supplement protocol that is proven to lengthen telomeres on your DNA strands, and within just one or two years from now, a person who is 70 could reverse to 65, then 60, then 55. All within a few years. Again, this isn’t science fiction, it’s today.
Maybe today, thinking about the next 30 years is too overwhelming. But what about the next five or 10?
Programmed to Assume Age Causes Problems
I was recently with an elderly couple who were experiencing some health issues, and when I asked about why that was happening, the answer was, “Well, of course it’s because of our age.” What I wanted to say (but resisted) was, “I know people 10 years older than you who are not having these problems.” Old age was blamed when the reality is that the culprit was lack of exercise, poor diet, and bad attitude. Of course we can’t control the expression of our predetermined genes, but we can slow it, or reverse it. Physically, I’m younger today than I was a year ago; I’ve actually reversed my aging by following that protocol, and the result is that I’ve lost 40 pounds, I’m stronger with more muscle mass — stronger than I’ve probably ever been — and I have boundless amounts of energy.
I’ll Take What I’m Given
I’m not sure I want to live forever, and I’m not even sure what age I’ll want to live to, and I know I can only control it up to a point. I know it’s ultimately in the hands of my Maker. But I love the idea of knowing grandkids, great-grandkids, and maybe more. My brother has his photo with his mother, his grandmother, his great-grandmother, and his great-great-grandmother. People used to live to meet five generations.
So now I’m faced with a new challenge … I have to plan for my future. How do I make enough to live several more decades? And what do I want my future life to look like? Do I want to do more of the same? Do I want to occupy my time with new things?
Get to Know the New You
Whether you’re 20 or 70, it’s a good practice to think about your future self and lay out a plan. If you’re 70 and vibrant, how do you remain vibrant and relevant and healthy? How do you get healthier and in better shape? As my friend Tom told me the other day, “My trainer asked me why I never worked out when I was younger so I could prevent the issues I’m having now, and I answered that I did not need it then; I could do everything I wanted to do. Now I can’t.”
If you’re 25, you want to make a plan to get where you want to be as rapidly as possible so you can begin living the life you dream of. The more you exercise and eat right now, the more you’re buying quality of life when you’re older.
Write a Letter
I like to start with a letter to myself: “Dear Future Eric.” For starters, I want to focus on the next decade, so my letter will address that. How do I want to define my next 10 years? Do I want to work? Paint every day? Play Pickleball? Start a couple of new businesses? Your letter can address the next two or five years, or the next 50. But things change so rapidly, I like starting with 10 at a time.
Where am I now?
Where do I want to be?
What are the most important things I want to accomplish?
What are the things that bring the most meaning in my life, and what can I plan to make sure those things occur?
Your letter should define what you want your life to look like so you know what to focus on, what goals to pursue.A Ship Adrift
According to Dr. Ben Hardy, a specialist in this field, research indicates that we tend not to understand how different our future selves will be from our current selves, because we don’t take the time to imagine a new, fresh future. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” But most of us take more time to plan dinner than we take to plan the next few years of our lives. And if you don’t make a plan, you’re a ship adrift at sea without a map, and you could end up in any port, or on the rocks.
Reinvention Is Reinvigoration
When we reinvent, we bring new excitement into our lives, giving ourselves new energy and a better outlook. I watched my own father do this.
When he was 60, he sold his business, reinvented himself, spent a year learning a new business, and then he launched it and ran it successfully for a decade. Then at 70, he sold that business and went a completely different direction, and did that for a decade. At 80, he did it again, and was actively doing it yet again when he died at 94. He never was one of those guys talking about the “good old days before he retired.” Instead, he retired, hated it, and then started a new business. When he got bored, or felt he had done all he could with it, he moved on to the next thing, then the next. As a result, his brain was pliable and sharp till his death. He even went to a Tony Robbins event at age 90 because he wanted to learn new things, and he left there with lots of new friends he stayed in contact with the rest of his life.
Just because you are doing something today does not mean you have to do it forever. It’s your choice. But finding new things to add to your life will reinvigorate you.
What have you always wanted to do but could not do because of your condition or other restrictions?
What would you do if you did not have to worry about anyone else?
What would you do if you did not have to worry about money or paying a mortgage?
What do you catch yourself dreaming of?
What do you think about that you’re telling yourself isn’t possible?
Write Just Two Pages Today
Again, research shows that people dramatically underestimate how DIFFERENT their future self will be from their current self. Dr. Daniel Gilbert explains that this is because people don’t take the time to imagine their future selves. Pull out some paper and write two pages. On the first page, write all the ways you’re different from who you were 10 years ago. On the second page, write about where your future self could be, and where you want to be 10 years from now, or what you want the next 10 years to look like.
This may sound overwhelming, but it’s not. Have fun with it. Be playful. Be truthful with yourself. And don’t judge yourself. Don’t avoid writing something down just because your brain is telling you, “That will never happen.” Write it down anyway. Then once you have your list exactly where you want it to be, read it every day. Suddenly your rudder will steer you toward the future.
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill
It’s Groundhog Day
In my letter to myself, I’m not only addressing the things mentioned above, but asking, “What are the things I do on autopilot? What are the things I’ve done over and over as a routine? Do I still want to do those? Do I still want to show up at the same places, with the same people?” (In my case, I love the people I interact with.) There are things in my life that feel like Groundhog Day, and it’s time to move on. What about you?
Perhaps you’re happy where you are. Great. Do the assessment and letter anyway, because it never hurts to have reinforcement. But if you want to live a rich, full life, exactly the life you’ve designed, or better, find a quiet spot and write a couple of pages. Look at it a couple of days later, and adjust it as needed, and then make it your guide. You’ll thank me later.
PS: I sent one of my kids and his friend to a Tony Robbins event in Dallas last weekend, and I’m already seeing transformation. I used to think TR was just a motivational speaker, but that’s not what he is at all. He presents valid research on techniques to improve your life, and it’s not the same drivel you hear elsewhere. I’ve been, I’ll go again, and one day, I’ll be onstage with him. Mark my words. If you want to kickstart your life, find a TR event and go. After you get over the sticker shock, do it anyway, because there is no better investment you can make in the rest of your life.
PS2: As you know, I have been flitting around Europe both on business and some play. I wrote about it here. You’ll learn about one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life … so simple, yet so meaningful to me.
PS 3: Do you know what is proven to lower your blood pressure, improve your attitude, remove your stress, and put a giant smile on your face? When I’m stressed, I go to my studio and paint, and because it’s using a different part of my brain, I forget I’m stressed. Every CEO, MD, lawyer, nurse, or anyone in a stressful job should do it. It has an amazing impact. And ANYONE can do it, and do it well. It’s not about talent, it’s a learned skill. (Maybe I should teach 10,000 people to do it from the stage at a TR event.) 🙂My next training is in January at WaterColorLive.com. It will change your life or I’ll refund your investment.