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.
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.
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.
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:
- Run a marathon.
- Be able to do 10 one-arm push-ups with each arm (5 was my previous max)
- Benchpress 200 lbs (I’m stuck on 185)
- Run a 5 minute mile.
- 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.
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.
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.