Trajectory: How important is the decision you make today on your future?
Don’t freak out, but it can be a little scary how important a rocketship is to your daily decisions.
I sound like a fortune teller. But I’m more of a rocket scientist. Maybe they’re plotting together.
I’m really more of a math guy and I see a straight line that starts today and goes out towards the future. But the rocket scientist in me sees that even the slightest change this close in makes a monumental change as the course continues.
There’s the obvious stuff: you take a particular road and you get in an accident and total your car, you’re OK, but you ran over (and killed) a dog. It changes you. Or you decided to take on your first paper route and learned the value of a hard-earned dollar (or euro!). Of course, there are loads of decisions that might have zero impact in your future, but which ones are they? Or do they all have an impact it’s just hard to tell which ones do and which ones don’t?
Closer to home, think of the bow and arrow. If you’ve ever shot an arrow, you know that a fraction of an adjustment with your fingers is the difference between a bullseye and a complete miss.
Now bring that over to a decision you made today. How might that affect your day? Your year? Your future?
Speaking of math, I once purposely failed a math test so I could stay with my friends. First of all, the fact that I even remember this tells me that it had an impact on me. But one little decision when I was 12 years-old had lasting effects:
- I got to stay in class with my friends. Important at the time, but short lived as no one really cared–or at least they didn’t value the sacrifice I made. (To this day, I don’t know if I thought about it much in the following years.)
- Did I sabotage a trajectory that might have taken me further, faster or even somewhere different in math? Or another field? We’ll never know.
- Without a doubt, I learned that you shouldn’t live your life by other’s measurements and do what you need to do and excel where you naturally excel.
- To this day, I base decisions on how it will help me first and then how I can help others. Think of the oxygen mask in the airplane–I need to be the best I can be before I can help to raise up anyone else.
That’s one example. Of literally billions. Too many to count, too many to worry about. So don’t count. Don’t worry. But make those decisions today with a thought about how it will impact your future.
Or let’s bring it to parenting: make the decision not based on the outcome of what it’s going to do for the month or the year, but what’s it’s going to do when he’s 24. I know, it’s hard and not always applicable, but now that you’ve read this–and understood the impact–you won’t be able to unlearn it and it will help you make decisions. In fact, it just made the tiniest switch in your unconscious by reading this and now knowing it.