In exactly two weeks I will turn 49, which means I have only one year left as a young man. (Turning 50 officially makes you an “old man.”)
So, what is a the life of a young man for? As far as I can tell, it can be boiled down to building the momentum that will carry you through old-manhood.
Momentum is a function of velocity and mass, which suggests that if I want to hit 50 with as much momentum as possible, I will need get going much faster and increase my mass. (It seems strange that we would need momentum going into the latter part of life since people talk about “going downhill,” but my observation of old men is that drag and friction seem to increase dramatically.)
Increasing Mass (Metaphorically)
I’ve noticed a lot of older men have greatly increase their mass, with pants sizes heading way north of 40 inches. But the mass building I’m thinking of is more like muscle than fat. I’m talking about habits.
Habits are momentum because the continue without any external input. I’ve been brushing my teeth for decades and don’t need to be motivated by scientific studies, public service announcements, or nagging from a dental hygienist to brush. The habit has momentum and I’m sure I will be brushing for as long as I have teeth.
So my final year of young-manhood will include a lot of mass building by developing habits.
Increasing Velocity (Metaphorically)
My young man life happened pretty much by accident, and as a result, has taken some interesting (as well as some boring) turns. But velocity is a function of speed and direction, so turns hurt velocity and decrease momentum.
Increasing velocity doesn’t mean going faster or proceeding at a more frenetic pace. It just requires putting an increasing amount of energy in one direction.
In past years, I have had as many as 15 goals at one time. One week, I would be apply energy in one direction, and the next I would be applying energy in a direction that was 30 (or even 120!) degrees different. This can’t happen in my final year. All the inputs need to be along the same vector.
Momentum to Where?
And so the question where will all this momentum drive toward?
There are a bunch of suggestions on how to measure a successful life. Benjamin Franklin has his three aspects (healthy, wealthy, wise); James Altucher has four pieces to his daily practice; and Michael Hyatt has ten life domains. I’ve chosen my goals (which I’m keeping to myself), but the old man I have decided to be will be someone extraordinary, and my limited number of final year goals have been selected to maximize momentum in that direction. Some of my goals are around building habits, and others are about achieving certain objectives. They all work together.
Had I started building momentum a decade ago, I would have a lot more of it. So I’m starting late.
But I’m starting.
And I’m not quite starting from zero. In 2011, I first read the Four Hour Work Week and discovered that there was a world of possibilities that I didn’t even know about. For the last five years I’ve been reading, stretching, warming up and even doing some practice laps; getting ready for a sprint.
Each week in 2017, I will post my progress, plans, lessons learned, and resources discovered, in the hope that these will be useful for others who are starting late. These posts will appear in the category of “Starting Late.”
Since money is what Tim Ferriss calls a “lead domino” that make all other goals and activities either easier or unnecessary, obtaining more money is a major focus of this last year, and will probably be the most common theme of my reports. Right now I am pursuing four different income increasing activities. I’ll report on them next week.