Have you ever heard of ‘shiny object syndrome’? It’s a totally made up condition based on the idea that you can set out to achieve something, often with the best intentions, yet fall short because something else will always grab your attention. Like a Magpie, just less beaky.
I’m one of these people. I want everything and I want it right now. Impatience is my (anti) virtue and for as long as I can remember I’ve always been distracted by the new and the wondrous.
I start learning German and I get side tracked by a cool Spanish movie – hence I want to learn Spanish.
I spend 6 weeks losing weight so I can look sexy on the beach but I will bump into a friend who looks beefier than the last time I saw him – so I want to suddenly gain more muscle.
I want to live in Vancouver but I also want to live in Medellin, oh wait, I quite fancy Vienna but you know what? Stockholm looks lovely.
The problem is that I confuse my short term plans with my long term goals. The two aren’t mutually exclusive but they are different enough to cause conflict with each other and I believe this is what trips a lot of people up.
We are almost afraid to look too far into our future because we can’t relate with the person we want to be. Science shows that the plans we make for tomorrow are difficult enough for us to hold on to let alone those we want to make for our future selves. Our brains see this person as a total stranger and thus we lack the motivation to complete the deal.
Of course it’s easier to plan for a short term goal because the result is close enough to our current timeline to make sense to us, but the problem being that we don’t think short term goals are important enough to follow. We always want that dream job, to get married, to have kids, to travel the world and to achieve happiness – stuff that you just can’t get sorted in a few weeks, barring winning the lottery or enjoying a rather shady weekend in Vegas.
But what if short term and long term goals can be merged together to vastly improve our chances of success?
The answer = two years.
Two years is the perfect time frame to achieve almost anything. It is short enough that you can easily visualise but long enough to get some serious stuff done.
Think about it – as school leavers we struggled to imagine ourselves at 30 years old but we could easily think about our first real job after college, simply because it’s within reach – it’s just a couple of years away and providing we don’t waste away our student loans in a drunken haze, most of us can achieve it.
The beauty about a two year time frame is that while most people are running around like headless chickens trying to do too much too soon or totally giving up because they don’t believe in their long term goals, you can focus on the next 730 days of your life and make significant life-long changes.
In two years you can;
- Achieve conversational fluency in any language
- Transform your physique by losing 100lbs of fat or gaining 30lbs of muscle
- Fall in love/get married/start a family
- Double/triple your current income or start a successful business
- Have life changing surgery
- Write a novel and get a publishing deal
- Learn a musical instrument to grade 8 level
- Travel the world, visit countless countries and embrace many new cultures
- Achieve two thirds of a degree or gain a diploma in any subject
- Take up a martial art and have your first professional fight
- Overcome your depression, your lack of confidence or your anxiety
That’s just off the top of my head but I’m willing to bet there is something that you really want to do that could easily be achieved, or at least well on your way to achieving in just two short years.
The stuff that you spend most of your waking hours daydreaming about – it’s just two years away!
Not 10 years, not a lifetime – it’s there, waiting for you to grab it by the balls and as soon as you realise that two years is enough time to get almost anything accomplished, you will have a massive advantage over the rest of the world.
While everyone else is dithering and dreaming you are out there living. While they are thinking, you are doing. When they are merely talking, you are walking.
This isn’t just a superpower, you will be entering God mode – the ability to mould yourself into whatever you choose before anyone even notices what just happened.
I’m writing this in August 2013 so that means that by the summer of 2015 any one of you reading this right now could easily achieve something from the above list, or anything else that you set your mind to.
That one thing you want more than anything else. Are you going to take those first steps towards achieving it today or are you going to let time kick your ass and waste away your opportunity for greatness?
Two years… I’ve taken longer dumps than that.
It’s up to you…
That’s brilliant, Jamie. 2 years really does sound like a long time but yet it goes by quick. Looking back just 2 years I can agree with you that a lot can happen. Hell, even in just the past seven months for me have been insane.
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The last year has gone by so quick yet in some ways I don’t think I have even achieved that much, it’s a sobering thought. We tend to put things off because we feel there is a better day to get started – there isn’t. Time will pass regardless of what we do and while we dither, someone else is doing it instead. Carpe Diem as they say! Thanks for dropping by!
Nice post. With determination and planned execution, we can achieve tangible success in 2 years. It’s good period for self transformation.
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Thanks Naveen, 2 years is a great time frame to get almost anything done!
Ok, I’ll take a shot. I think the same way you do.
The main goal is just start living life according to one’s own standars, one’s own ideals.
I really doubt that we ever have any control in the usual sence over life or reality, that’s why I try not to daydream or make long term plans. But at the same time I do know that a powerful enough will can take anybody to the where they want to be; So I guess at the end one has to do whatever they wish to do with their lives, and also learn to part, learn to let go, to accept the trip life really is.
Hi Alvaro, That’s an interesting philosophy to have there – surrendering control in the grand scope of things but still attempting to change the path you take. I totally agree that we should always do whatever makes us happy (as long as it isn’t harming others).
To me, that amount of time is quite soothing.
It means that if I don’t see instant changes that it’s ok.
That as long as I’m chipping away and marking off milestones towards major things that at the end of the 2 years I will be there (or darn close).
The only issue with me on this is that I want to do 5-7 major things in the next 2 years. I know that I can’t do them all in 2 years, but I’m willing to make minor progress in each of them in order to work on them all 🙂
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The beauty about 2 years is that if you double it, it’s still only the length of a full time degree (with a placement year). Split those 5-7 things in half and you can do 3 of them in the first 2 year period, and then the other 3 in the following 2 year period.
That way you can focus intently on a few things instead of spreading everything out and not putting enough effort into it.
6 major things in 4 years.
That’s not so long is it? 😉
Materialism really is the beckoning of all that is selfish….which leads to anger and self doubt.
good point ,Mike !
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