Scott H Young

My Goals for Life


I spend a lot of time writing about goals. But I realize I haven’t shared many of my own. Although I wouldn’t consider my dreams to be unique, I don’t know too many people that share them. Most of my friends are caught up in the mythology that you need to get a good job, settle down and chain yourself to a retirement package for the rest of your life.

I’m purposefully avoiding details such as deadlines and plans in this entry. Although I’m a big believer in writing out your goals and setting plans and deadlines, that isn’t useful here. I want to share the broader vision for my life, not the grittier implementation details.

Goal #1 – A Completely Digital Life

I don’t plan on downloading my brain into a computer. By a digital life I mean that all of my income will come without a location. This will probably mean the internet, but it might mean something completely different in ten years as technology continues to expand. This means I will be able to live anywhere I can bring a laptop.

I plan to make use of this freedom and I might easily be a wandering vagabond for most of my 20′s. I want to be in a position where I can say, “Hey, let’s live in Spain for 6 months,” without needing to worry about quitting a job or abandoning a physical business.

Progress:

This website is my primary income source right now. Although I’m not yet at a point of complete financial security, I’m fairly close. If things continue as they are now, I consider it likely that I’ll have achieved this dream before my 22nd birthday.

Goal #2 – Financial Freedom, Not Being Rich

I’m not a materialistic person. I don’t like buying things and I have very simple tastes. I like eating simple foods, living in simple houses and keeping simple items. Owning more stuff doesn’t make me happy and I place far more value on the things that can’t be bought.

As a result, the idea of being rich interests me, but I’m not driven by it. If I had a billion dollars, I’d be living almost the same way I am today. Perhaps I’d travel more and worry less about financing necessities, but my life wouldn’t change.

My true goal is financial freedom. This means never having to worry about money because my lifestyle is far below my means. With this freedom I could start a new business, without worrying about losing the money from an old venture. I want money to be removed from my life.

Progress:

This one is much further off. I think it will probably be at least 10-15 years before I completely reach this point and it may be longer. But it is all a matter of degrees. My next step is setting up an investment account and trying to build an emergency fund of at least 1 year of income.

Goal #3 – Learn Everything

This is a goal I’m never going to be able to realize. However, I’ve made a lot of progress. Self-education is something I will keep doing for the rest of my life. With each subject I learn more about, three more opportunities branch off. There are few subjects I’m completely uninterested in and too many I’m fascinated by.

Progress:

I’ve read close to 300 books in the last several years and I’m always trying to read more. Books are a good way, but projects and classes are great for learning ideas that books can’t cover. A few of the things on my To-Learn list:

  • Read the collected works of Shakespeare.
  • Read the Bible, Dao De Jin and Upanishads.
  • Study more advanced computer programming topics.
  • Read a few books on Bayes Theorem.

Goal #4 – Marathon Running and Physical Fitness

I’ve made a lot of improvements in my physical fitness over the last few years. But a few of the individual fitness goals I have:

  1. Run a marathon.
  2. Be able to do 10 one-arm push-ups with each arm (5 was my previous max)
  3. Benchpress 200 lbs (I’m stuck on 185)
  4. Run a 5 minute mile.
  5. Do a “Superman” pushup (a pushup from a handstand position)

I don’t do all this fitness stuff just to be healthy. And it’s way too much work for the point of looking good (buying nicer clothes is way easier). I just have a lot of fun working out. I’ve never been great at sports, but I really enjoy the incremental goal setting of lifting weights, running and staying in shape.

Progress:

The most I’ve ran before is 17 km. I would like to do a marathon next year. In most aspects of physical fitness I’d say I’m above average. Flexibility is something I’d like to spend more time on since it is neglected by my current routine.

Goal #5 – Relationship & Social Success

As someone who wasn’t very outgoing as a kid, this is an area that required more work to get good at. My ultimate goal here is to be able to easily make new friends and relationships in any place I go to.

Living a digital life and traveling the world can create a whole new batch of problems. One of them being that you can’t rely on a workplace environment to provide your social contacts. This is doubly true if I plan on traveling to many different countries where language and cultural barriers will add an additional challenge.

Progress:

I think most the people who have met me in the last 2-3 years would say I’m outgoing. I’m always happy to meet new people and I have a large group of friends. Last week I went with my roommate to knock on doors in our building to introduce ourselves. I don’t think anyone would say I’m shy.

But there is still a lot more I need to learn. It’s easier to build connections when you already know a few people. I’m trying to master the ability to quickly make friends out of a crowd of strangers.

Other Goals and Thoughts on Life

This list is in constant flux. It wasn’t the list I had two years ago and it probably won’t be exactly the same in another two years. I don’t expect it to remain constant. I’m constantly seeking new experiences, so I need to be prepared if those new experiences change the aims I have in life.

Achieving these goals won’t make me happy. I don’t expect them to. Most of them are simply issues of comfort, they aren’t critical to the quality of my life. Working on challenging and meaningful goals accounts for 90% of my happiness. Only 10% is based on my comfort with external factors like money and location independence.

These goals are important to me. But I already have everything I want.


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33 Responses to “My Goals for Life”

  1. etavitom says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your goals. I think they are definitely within your grasp and wish you all the best.

  2. Mark says:

    Scott,

    I love your blog. I read it every day. We share some of the same goals. I am working towards a “digital life” and I was working towards a marathon until I aggravated a recurring back injury. I’m also a voracious learner.

    I’m not sure how much you know about investing, but you might like my blog, especially:
    Beat the Pros by Being a “Know-Nothing Investor”
    http://www.rationalwealth.net/2008-05-15-beat-the-pros-by-being-a-know-nothing-investor.html

    Anyway, keep up the great work.

  3. Ayomide! says:

    It’s cool that you shared your goals with us. What a leap of faith!

    I also aspire to one day living a “location independent” life as well. At least until I start my political career path. #1 on my list of goals is to become Canada’s Minister of Environmental Affairs by age 37.

    I’d also like to read more for fun. I put too much pressure on myself to perform, and I want to learn how to relax and be in the moment before I develop high blood pressure! :D

  4. Thor says:

    Yes, the location independent goal is a good one. That and other types of freedom are what attract me towards webpreneurship, not least creative freedom and chance of being self employed.

    You could get a head start on your goals by moving to rural China after you graduate: Live off your digital creations and be financially free due to lower cost of living, get closer to learning everything by learning to read Chinese, hire a kung-fu monk as your personal trainer for the fitness goals and work on social skills in environment where few speak your language.

  5. Adam says:

    I hope that you don’t mind a little bit of advice on goal number 4, involving fitness, from someone who has been there and done that.

    The real key to exercise is to push past your plateaus. It sucks, it hurts, but it is the only way to improve.

    If you’re stuck benching 185, have a friend put two more 2.5lbs weights on and work with those for a week… then add 5 more pounds… then 5 more. It will hurt, you will most certainly need a spotter, and your arms may give out on you, but it is the only way to push ahead.

    The same goes with running, except that in order to run a marathon, you have to have the strength of a sprinter and simply choose not to use it. Since you can already run 18k, you already have the endurance. The wall that you’re hitting isn’t endurance based, it is exhaustion based. You are running out of calories immediately available in your blood stream. The endurance wall, usually hit at 2 miles or 45 minutes, is based on how many calories are already in your muscles, can be overcome with training, and is best avoided by having a heavy meal the night before. The exhaustion wall, on the other hand, can’t be trained through, because you’re simply running out of energy. You can push this limit by having easily digested carbs available throughout the run, like salted sugar-water (a.k.a., Gatorade) and bread… Expect the new calories to start taking effect around 15 minutes after you eat/drink them.

    Another great way to push back the exhaustion wall is to lengthen your stride… Cover more area in the same amount of time. For instance, practice prolonged sprints, more than the standard 100 meter. Try to hold a good sprint for 1k. (Not a great sprint… just a good sprint… The goal is to finish that kilometer as quickly as possible with the key word being finish.)

    After a good exercise session, your muscles should be pleasantly tired. After a great exercise session, you should look at stairs with dread, but still be able to climb a flight or two of them.

    As far as push-ups… Nothing is better for push-ups than doing push-ups. Go find a military veteran who will demonstrate how to do proper push-ups. With a proper push-up, your arms should form right angles at the elbow with your upper arm parallel to the ground… Your back should make a straight line from the base of your neck to your ankles… To help in keeping your back straight, keep your eyes locked on a point on the horizon.

    To practice super-man push-ups, start by elevating your feet on a chair… then on a higher surface (bed of a truck?), then on a higher still surface until you can use a wall.

    And my advise with lifting weights still stands for push-ups (and applies for running as well): Push yourself past the plateaus. When doing sets of push-ups, try for muscle failure, where you simply can not push yourself up any more, no matter how hard you try. (Doing sit-ups after a set of push-ups is an excellent way to rest your arms. Also, stretch your arms immediately after a set of push-ups is great for getting the oxygen rich blood into your arms again.)

    Please consult a physician before beginning or changing any diet or exercise routine… Everybody’s body is different, and what works for me may not and probably will not work for everybody. Learn to understand the different types of pain that your body produces and if you feel any tendon based pain, stop immediately. Always stretch out properly both before and after exercising. If using any free weights, always use a spotter. Avoid exercising alone, both so that you stay motivated, and to help with any unexpected injuries that may occur. I am not a medical professional, and even if I were, I would not be able to be responsible for the actions of others because no advice of a medical nature given out online can be accurate for all readers.

  6. Mark says:

    Being able to work from just about anywhere around the world would be cool. It never really occurred to me that this would be a realistic possibility until last year.

    I hope that I can make it a reality soon.

  7. Dave says:

    Hi Scott,

    I don’t want to spend time regretting what I did or didn’t do in the past, save to say that I wish I’d taken more time to set goals. I never asked myself what was important to me.

    Regardless of that my life took me in a particularl direction and I ended up achieving things anyway – only, not necessarily things that are now important to me.

    Now just about to turn forty, I find I’m finding my thoughts turning to setting goals more appropriate to my true desires in life – however now it’s not quite so easy because I have other people to consider in my decision making.

    I’m still going to do it though, because I want to enjoy my life and my family while I’m still young enough. I’m fed up with being a wage slave and want to explore a new way of living. I want to live life, instead of constantly putting it off.

    I’ve already made some changes in my life and I’m already happier. Reading your post gives me some added confidence that I’m doing the right thing. Thanks.

    Cheers

    Dave

  8. Mark says:

    Dave,

    I know how you feel. I just turned 39, and I’m fed up with being a wage slave too. I have actually known that I wanted to run my own business since I was 19, but I always ended up procrastinating. I’ve decided that blogging might be a great business to start up while I’m still a wage slave.

    Mark

  9. Scott Young says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Adam,

    I’m all about the progressive conditioning. So I readily agree with your suggestions.

    I believe I could probably run a marathon now (with some difficulty), as finishing an 18 km wasn’t to exhaustion. Training with such long distances eat up a lot of time, so I don’t get much chance to practice.

    Mark,

    Great article. I’m also a fan of index funds.

    -Scott

  10. Jay says:

    Very interesting goals, Scott. Your first one really got me thinking. I’m currently in the process of starting a company, with plans to raise VC funding to accelerate our time to market and increase the size of our success. That financial responsibility definitely ties me to Boston for a while, which I don’t mind, because it’s a place that I love and still have only scratched the surface of exploring (having moved here only ~18 months ago).

    But achieving success with my company is at least partially about providing myself with a financial foundation to build the rest of my life on. Even as the company rises, it may bring opportunities to travel, but after it’s reached a point where it needs more experienced hands to run it, that’s the point at which I’ll have both the financial foundation I desire, and the freedom to travel at will.

    To me, a digital life would mean that I’m free to seek opportunities in every corner of the Earth; but still have oversight over projects, and the ability to maintain relationships with people, that are tied to a location.

    Best of luck with your goals, Scott. I’ve been subscribed to your feed for a while, but this is my first time commenting.

    ~Jay

  11. Dave says:

    Mark,

    It’s only recently dawned on me that I want to own my own business (and possibly more than one).

    My interest started after reading ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ a couple of years ago. I think I managed to see past all the things other people willingly critised and take from the book the real message. Actually, I see that you have written a review of the book, and later today I fully intend to have a look at it. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see anywhere to offer comments? I really like what I’ve seen so far, and goodness knows I could use the help!!

    Cheers

    Dave

  12. Hi Scott,

    Nice… I wanna say that I have THE SAME 1-2-5 goals.

    And if i can suggest, I would say that goal #3 is kinda vague.

    Wish you all the best,
    Kaled.

  13. Ann M. says:

    Hi Scott,

    You have some great fitness goals. I don’t know as I’d want to run a marathon because I think I’d get bored of running that long!

    You might want to look into triathlons. They are great because of the variety. Plus, swimming is an excellent way to get a good workout in without stressing your joints.

    I just did a mini indoor one and had a great time. Now I’m training for an outdoor sprint-length one in June and I”m enjoying the training so far.

  14. Scott Young says:

    These goals aren’t the written down goals I have in my binder. I have more specific goals for finances, business and fitness actually written down. These are the more general directions I’d like to accomplish in life. So, yes, they are vague, but I didn’t want to clutter this post with the implementation details.

    Dave,

    I did a review of Rich Dad, Poor Dad? That’s news to me. I might have mentioned it in a Friday Links, but I haven’t done a full book review as I have with several others.

    Jay,

    I’m probably going to be fixed into a location at some point. My goal of a digital life is more a requirement of my 20′s, where I want more freedom to explore without having to give up my desires to run a business. I may go for a change of pace if I start a family in my 30′s.

    -Scott

  15. Ash Menon says:

    Hey Scott,

    I think that your goals in life are wonderful, and I love how you don’t tie yourself down to the typical requirement of stable job+settling down. More people should learn to consider this option, in my opinion.

    As for #3, shall I say, I’ve finally found someone who agrees with me about this. That constant influx of information is one of the most wonderful things I can imagine. Even though we both know we’re never going to reach a point where there’s nothing left to learn, that isn’t going to stop us from trying, eh? : )

    Goal #5 is also exactly what I’m aiming for, having been a shy child myself. Let’s both do our best for this!

    Thanks for the inspiring blog entry. :)

  16. Dave says:

    Hi Scott,

    Sorry for the confusion. That comment was actually directed at Mark.

    But thanks for getting back to me. I do appreciate it.

    Cheers

    Dave.

  17. yavor says:

    Scott, as far as physical fitness is concerned, I can help you with reaching that elusive 200lb mark on the bench.

  18. [...] I shared my goals for life with the readers of this website. The first on the list was being able to live a completely digital [...]

  19. [...] I wrote about my goal of learning everything. This is more than a tad ambitious, and probably impossible. Even learning a small fraction of [...]

  20. [...] My Goals for Life | Scott Young A great case study for the lifestyle-centric career planning concept we’ve been discussing: Scott Young lays out the key pieces for his post-college ideal lifestyle. [...]

  21. Maks says:

    Hey, thank you for sharing such an important thing as goals, I liked your goals, and I’m gonna set my own goals, yours willserve me as an example. thanks.

  22. vincent says:

    Goal matters a lot in our life, so anyone without a goal is not yet to start with life achievement. so thank you for outlining this step for some people who do not know what it means to set up a goal in life. keep it up. So my dear friend go out there and set up your goals. Good luck in life.

  23. [...] of my major goals in life is financial freedom. For me, this doesn’t mean having a lot of money. Financial freedom simply means I’m secure [...]

  24. [...] My Goals for Life – If you’re interested in what my personal goals are, and why I care so much about goal setting and productivity. [...]

  25. frank says:

    The same goes with running, except that in order to run a marathon, you have to have the strength of a sprinter and simply choose not to use it. Since you can already run 18k, you already have the endurance. The wall that you’re hitting isn’t endurance based, it is exhaustion based. You are running out of calories immediately available in your blood stream. The endurance wall, usually hit at 2 miles or 45 minutes, is based on how many calories are already in your muscles, can be overcome with training, and is best avoided by having a heavy meal the night before. The exhaustion wall, on the other hand, can’t be trained through, because you’re simply running out of energy. You can push this limit by having easily digested carbs available throughout the run, like salted sugar-water (a.k.a., Gatorade) and bread… Expect the new calories to start taking effect around 15 minutes after you eat/drink them.

    Another great way to push back the exhaustion wall is to lengthen your stride… Cover more area in the same amount of time. For instance, practice prolonged sprints, more than the standard 100 meter. Try to hold a good sprint for 1k. (Not a great sprint… just a good sprint… The goal is to finish that kilo

  26. neil says:

    please help me to make my goal

  27. Abdul Rauf says:

    Well, my list of goals is also the as yours. One additional goal of mine is to be like you, Scott

  28. Goulash says:

    Scott,

    I came across your website by accident, but I’m glad that I did. Ironically we think alike in many things that you write about. I’m a little older than you but keep up the good work and works towards your goals. Your material is very inspirational and people need that.

    Goulash

  29. [...] while I was doing some keyword analysis I came across this website by Scott H. Youngwho preaches a similar philosophy as I do. I am sure that if you searched the web in detail you will [...]

  30. promise says:

    Hi Scott
    How are you! I hope that you are doing fine
    I would like to communicate with you requesting you help
    This is my email : promis.88@hotmail.com
    :)

  31. Abdul Rauf says:

    Well, Scot, honestly speaking you are my favorite reader and writer of life. I have always found wisdom through your encouragious words. This is an old post, I know. But at the start of 2014, I just looked at my bookmarks and found this post and re-read this post. Thanks a zillion for your words.

  32. Zeroxdan says:

    Hey Scott! I have been reading your blog for a while now, and I am happy to say that I share the same goals as you :D you are an incredible guy! keep up with all these amazing stuff, it really helps a lot to all your readers :D

    Greetings from Venezuela ;)
    Take care, y que tengas mucho éxito ;)

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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