A couple days ago, during a rest period of a workout, Leo asked me if I was different now than I was ten years ago. My gut reaction was to say that, no, I was pretty much exactly the same, but even a quick scan of changes in that time made me realize that I bear little resemblance to who I was. I asked him the same, and he's changed even more than I have in the past ten years.
The two big themes I noticed in the changes I went through were first that they would have been pretty much impossible to predict, and second that they were all good surprises. Of course, I'm a happy person and I'm certainly biased, so I would probably think the changes were positive no matter what.
Even knowing that we would have been incapable of predicting the changes that happened over the past ten years, we couldn't resist trying to make predictions for the next ten. That's how we spent the remainder of the rest periods of our workout. I decided I'd make my predictions public so that we can marvel at how prescient I was, or, more likely, laugh about how I was dead wrong.
At the end of each section I'm going to give some odds for each outcome. That way we can see how accurate my predictions and confidences were, and I can make longshot predictions without messing up the record.
I'm putting family first because I think it's the most likely to happen and it's also one of my priorities. I predict that in ten years I am in a long-term committed relationship (married only if it makes sense for taxes/passports/etc) and have two or three children. My guess is that I'll have my first child in three or four years, but I wouldn't put too much confidence in that. It could happen within two years or seven years and I wouldn't be very surprised.
I also think that I'll have a very strong relationship. There are some counter-indicators for this (mainly that I'm stubborn and I've never been in a relationship over a year or so), but I won't settle for someone I don't have a good foundation of compatibility with, and I read tons of books on relationships and marriage, just because I find it fascinating.
Besides simply having a family, I think that my family will become my primary focus. We'll probably unschool our kids and travel around with them, which will take time and energy.
Have long term partner: 90%
Have at least one child: 85%
I think I'll be wealthy in the realm of $5-50M net worth by then. Sett is my most likely avenue to get there, but Bitcoin will have matured (or melted down) by then, and I'm sure I will have other interesting projects and investments. I would be surprised if I had any significant income beyond returns on investments, since I generally care about building assets and don't really care about income.
Even though I think I'll be wealthy, I still expect that I'll be a minimalist and live far below my means. Money will be used to enable my family and I to spend our time in meaningful ways, not to buy a bunch of junk.
Have net worth of >$5MM: 80%
Have net worth of >$40MM: 20%
Have a real job: 1%
One constant in my life, the inertia for which came from my parents at a young age, has been that I spend a ton of time learning. This is the hardest section for me to predict, though, because I don't plan my learning. Something catches my fancy and next thing I know I'm diving down the rabbit hole. For fun, though, I'll make a few guesses.
I'm currently on a plan to learn all of the major and medium languages in the next ten years. I believe that I will have at least 20 languages down at a basic level. I think I will also be fairly fluent in at least Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish. If I stick with my current plan for language learning, I could learn far more languages in ten years, so twenty may be conservative, unless I get sick of learning third-tier languages like Finnish.
I bet that I will learn some artistic skill to a relatively high level of proficiency. I have no natural artistic talent, but painting is probably the skill I have the least aptitude that I'm the most interested in. I'm also interested in Asian pottery, particularly Goryeo-style inlay pottery, but that might be too inaccessible for me to actually spend the time on.
As much as I like ballet and violin, I don't expect that I will be great at either of them, even in ten years. I probably won't get beyond being able to play one piece decently on violin, and I will probably stop advancing in ballet once I'm able to perform at an amateur level.
I would be very surprised if I did not become a fairly serious pilot in the next ten years. I bet I will have a VFR license, IFR license, and basic helicopter license. I also think I will buy a plane, probably a Mooney M20J 201 or M20K 252.
In softer skills, I hope to learn empathy. I've been making good progress, but it's probably the interpersonal skill I need the most work on. Because it's hard to quantify having learned empathy, I won't put odds on it.
Learn at least 5 total languages: 70%
Learn at least 20 total languages: 50%
Learn at least 50 total languages: 25%
Learn to paint: 70%
Learn ballet until I perform once for an audience: 75%
Learn to fly (IFR/VFR): 95%
I was unknown to absolutely everyone ten years ago, and now I'm a genuine Z-list celebrity. Lots of people at least know of me because of The Game, hundreds of thousands know about me because of my blog, and 2013 was by far my biggest year for press, which I don't actively solicit (Time Magazine, SF Chronicle, BBC, Gawker, etc). I think that momentum, continued blogging, and doing lots of new interesting things will continue to raise my profile.
I will never be an A-List celebrity, and I wouldn't really want to be one anyway, but I think that I will be pretty well known in ten years, hopefully due to accomplishments. To quantify it, I think that I will at least be well-known enough that most people I meet (which is a massively biased sample) will know of me. I don't think anything I do will result in people I'm unlikely to meet knowing who I am by sight or name.
Most people I meet know who I am: 65%
I think I will have seven total books written by 2024. I have three written now, another one that will be out in a couple months, and a fiction one I'm 30% done with that I would love to finish. That gets me to five, I can imagine writing a book about the island eventually, and I'm sure I'll come up with at least one more.
There's chance that I will focus enough on rapping to either get a record deal or a guest verse on an top-tier rapper's track. There are a lot of factors against this, but I can seriously imagine dedicating myself to it.
In the next ten years, I think we'll build the island up to become a really amazing place to spend time with friends and family, and that I'll spend at least a month there per year.
This may be naive, I bet that I will not take medicine once in the next ten years. The last (and only) time I took medicine was in 2000, when I took some chewable pills for strep throat. I haven't ever taken even an aspirin, although I did take eye drops when I got my eyes lasered (but refused the valium). Odds for this are low only because despite excellent health, I know things start to get tricky soon.
I'm almost certainly I will have been to all seven continents. Missing right now are Oceania and Antarctica. Oceania's easy, and I'm dying to go to Antarctica. I think I've been to 35-40 countries so far, and I bet that will be up to around 70.
I will not still live in the RV in ten years (family), but I bet I'll keep it and still use it as an office or for trips. My guess is that I'll live in San Francisco at least six months out of the year, but all of my moves have been unexpected, so it's hard to be confident on that. I would be shocked if I didn't spend at least 2-3 months per year out of the country, even with a family.
I predict that I will eat even healthier than I do now. I think that quality ingredients will be easier to source, I'll have the finances to get high-end healthy food, which is easier to find sometimes. It's hard to say whether or not I'll still be working out, mainly because it takes so much time and effort away from other things. Then again, my priority at that point will probably be to be the best possible role model for my children, so I guess I'll have to.
I predict that I will still have never had alcohol or most other drugs. There is a good chance that I will try mushrooms or LSD.
The blog will live on forever. Should be another 500-1000 posts by then.
Seven or more books written: 80%
Record deal/Guest track: 5%
Island is really awesome: 99%
No medicine taken: 55%
No non-prescription medicine taken: 90%
All seven continents visited: 95%
Live in San Francisco: 80%
Eat healthier than now: 85%
Work out 3X/Week: 65%
Tried alcohol, pot, etc: 0.5%
Tried LSD or mushrooms: 50%
Blog still active weekly: 90%
Blog still active monthly: 99%
And all of this will be wrong
It's funny how certain I am of some of these things. Yet, if I were to write a similar list ten years ago, what could I have gotten right? I would have never predicted moving to California, becoming a pickup artist, buying an island (well, maybe), writing a blog for nine years, writing a bunch of books, traveling the world, building Sett, eating healthy, becoming minimalist, or living in an RV. Those are a lot of defining events that all came out of nowhere.
That's the wonderful thing about life, though. Over any reasonable time horizon, tons of crazy things can happen that you'd never expect. Most days are just solid days of producing some output and learning a little bit, but once in a while you have a day that changes everything. That day might even be today.
On the other hand, there are good things I would have predicted that haven't happened yet. I would have surely predicted that by now I'd have a permanent girlfriend/wife, become a millionaire, and bought a plane. Given how everything is, though, I can't say I'd trade.
Questions for You
Could you have predicted 10 years ago the broad strokes of where you are today? What do you predict for ten years from now? I will make sure to email everyone in this thread in ten years to remind you of your predictions.
Photo is an alley in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
I got to demo the virtual reality stuff that Valve is working on. WOW! The future is going to be awesome.
Last chance... if you want to see me, Sebastian, and a bunch of awesome people speak this Saturday in San Francisco for free, register here.
Self Improvement is a beaten up term. Such a pure and noble meaning, yet it's been dragged through the mud to connotate seminars in low end hotel conference rooms and people who chant, "I manifest everything for life's highest purpose", but live otherwise unremarkable lives.
Self improvement has a stigma to it. It's embarrassing to be into it. So embarrassing, in fact, that some of its modern day figureheads have tried to rename it. Personal Development. Lifestyle Design. Self Actualization. Fluffy euphemisms, some of which admittedly do sound pretty cool.
But I'll come out and say it. I love self improvement. I don't need to call it anything else,I like it for what it is.
It's a hazy, lazy day today. I'm in my pajamas yawning, groggy, and still really tired. Out of habit, I woke up at 6AM. I really should just sleep in, but I'm not wired that way right now. Ugh. I'm constantly thinking about the year ahead. I'll be promoting the new album, doing shows, traveling, and being as busy as humanly possible. I'm trying to remember to try to be happy and have fun through it all. In this context, what I mean by "Happy" would be stress-free, physically healthy, and full of enjoyment. There are certain key elements that I am thinking of in order to accomplish this. I've been thinking a lot lately about how to keep my life simple in spite of the madness of being a musician in the music business. Here are the thoughts in my head thus far: 1. Excercise regularly. Yup. I'd like to stay as thin as I have always been. I still fit in clothes that I wore in highschool and even just ten years ago. Besides, this helps me reduce stress. Going to the gym is also one of the few times in the week that I allow myself to watch TV. When I'm on the ellyptical at the YMCA down the road from my house, I plug in my headphones and watch HGTV (my current favorite network) on the attached monitor. I sip my coffee and walk about 3 miles. It's so much fun watching homes transform as I exercise. I love it. 2. No more stuff-itis In America at least, we are a capitalist, consumer-driven society. Everywhere you look, you are encouraged and coaxed into buying something. There are billboards out on highways selling cars. Quirky tv commercials touting big sales for the holidays. At the check-out aisle, there are rows of odds and ends encouraging you to buy something on impulse. You turn on the radio, and there's a song that you find out is available on i-tunes. When you log on to your myspace account, there are adds for weight-loss programs. All of it is inescapable. Now, mind you, I love to shop just like anyone else, but I've lately become much more selective about what I buy. I've come to a personal understanding that as a consumer I'm really just accumulating a bunch of stuff--most of which is really quite unnecessary. Conveniently, because I've been saving up money to pay for my album, I've sort of forced myself only to buy what I know I really need (along with an occasional treat once in blue crescent moon). This set of circumstances has lead to a few personal decisions. --From now on, I will only buy what I need and what is really useful and practical. This helps me majorly cut down on stuff-itis (the desire to want and buy too much useless crap). --From now on, I will make sure I save money before I spend money. I'd rather have the piece of mind in knowing that I have savings in case of an emergency or to get me something expensive that I REALLY want. This is a better alternative to having a bunch of useless nicknacks. 3. Live on a budget This might sound like a depressing notion, but I've been doing some research lately. Budgets don't have to be oppressive. If anything, it is a really useful tool to help you manage the way you spend money. I have a lot of goals that I want to accomplish in my life. This is a major step towards that end. Besides, there will be a "fun fund" in the budget. This is a small allowance of money spent only to reward myself for sticking to my budget. This is all a work in progress. 4. Stop eating so damn much!!! It may not look terribly obvious about me, but I eat a lot!!! Fortunately, I'm a very active person and somehow all of it dissipates instead of congealing into a role of bodily blubber fat. After doing the math, I spend more than I should on food. Those damn impulse buys get me every time--a small and oh-so-tasty little bag of Doritos, a yummy slim jim, those new flavored water drinks, gum, an espresso at Starbucks, those heavenly white chocolate/macadamia nut cookies at Subway, FREAKING SUSHI (!!!!!!!!!), a decadent Mcgriddle from McDonalds, the ENTIRE menu at dirt cheap Taco Bell, divine chicken nuggets and Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers from Wendy's, Oreo cookie shakes from Jack in the Box (THE BOMB, by the way!!), breakfast bacon burritos from Sonic------------------OH MY GOD!!! I'm getting hungry!!!!!!!!!!! Well, okay, I love food--maybe too much. So, yes, I must be more selective about what I eat. Not only will I save money, but I will also be much more healthy. Bacon McGriddles be damned!!!!!! By the way, I just ran downstairs to the kitchen to get a snack. How much do I suck? Eat less? Me? Oh, we'll just have to see. 5. No more TV!! This is actually something I've been practicing for a while now. It depresses me completely to think that millions of people sit in front of a tv screen for countless hours watching other people make something out of their lives. It numbs the mind and makes thinking much easier than it should be. Besides, I really just don't have the time. I would not have ever finished my album if I watched tv all day. I do make a couple of exceptions. Thanks to the cultural phenomenon that is Tivo, I am able to make the time to catch up on "Heroes". This is probably my favorite tv show right now. It's essentially a show about people who act upon the goodness and the greatness within themselves. It's purely brilliant. Then, there's the entire HGTV network. If anything has the power to get me to veg out for a day, it is HGTV!!! They should just rename the network. It should be called "FABULOUS!!!". Naturally, who could resist the occasional episode of the Golden Girls? I grew up on these seemingly harmless older women, but boy do they have sass!!! Everyone should have an Italian Grandma like Sophia. Aside from these glowing exceptions, no tv, period. I'm actually quite happy without it. 6. Finally, give myself time to relax. I suspect that I am a bit of a workaholic. I'll have to look up what constitutes workaholism, but I think I might fit the bill. In any case, I have a hard time getting myself to do nothing. I need to get better at this once in a while--just to frolic, hang with friends, have lunch with family/friends (okay, maybe not lunch!!), take Oreo and Buttercup out to the park. Oh well, we'll see. This, along with food, will be the biggest challenges. I think this covers the thoughts in my head about trying to simplify my life and enjoy it more. I think it helps most that I am at least aware of these things. In any case, I hope to have one of the best years of my life. Have a flower . . . Please have yourselves a lovely week and stay away from those McGriddles!! They'll get you every time. -g