Recently, I finished reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.
The book is a summary of his interviews with hundreds of captains of industry and doers of amazing things.
Some of the interviews contained fantastic wisdom, while others consisted of advice regarding microdosing LSD – not my thing. Overall, though, I enjoyed reading the successful actions of successful people.
Of the hundreds of daily practices and aphorisms in the book, one stood out as terrifically useful advice. This is from Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal.
“So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?”
While this advice was framed in terms of running a business, it has a definite application to our personal lives.
What are we waiting to do until retirement? Is there any objective reason we couldn’t do it this year – or sooner? What actions could we take to get there?
Are there possessions that we want to have “eventually?” What could we do to acquire them this year – or sooner?
What’s on our bucket list? What’s stopping us from crossing some things off now?
I’ve watched friends retire. They’ve worked to do so for decades, delaying the gratification of a year-long golf trip, living in Florida for a few months of the year, or whatever other plans they had created for that time in their life.
It usually doesn’t go as planned. Our bodies are machines that wear over time, even with the best maintenance.
Why not do or own what we want now? We’re better equipped to enjoy our first skydiving trip or cruise around the world when our bodies and minds are young and pain-free.
If we find we’re short on money or time to accomplish these things, so what? At least we can work on them as things to get done now. We can think about them and solve them as something to accomplish now, not down the road.
Every day we wake up, and every day we roll the dice. As we get older, it becomes increasingly more likely that we will finally roll snake eyes. Eventually, we all do.
Delaying the gratification of a goal well-achieved is just asking for life’s irony to hit us in the face. Voltaire said, “God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh.” Let’s let God find someone else to play the “retire then die before you have any fun” joke. Let’s have fun now!