That rock in the header picture is older than any of the things you’ll read about in this post, btw. During *everything* you’ll read about in this post, it was just sitting there and nobody pushed it over. Thought that would make a metaphorically resonant way to kick off my 1000 year goals.
Every year I write goals I’d like to achieve in the upcoming years of my life, and I review the goals I set last year.
In this post I’ll be setting goals, in a future post I’ll review my previous year’s goals, since I haven’t posted an update since my original 2016 goals.
As we launch into a long goal setting post, let me frame goal setting in a way you’ve never thought about it:
The fun thing about the future is that it takes almost no energy at all to change it.
I can say “I’d like to live on a space station” or “I’m going to live on Mars” and it costs $0 and takes almost no effort to do and undo that decision. Goal setting is by far the most efficient form of production.
This stands in stark contrast to changing the past, which takes an unlimited amount of energy (and a time machine) to change, or at the very least, years of therapy.
What’s most surprising about goal setting is that it works. In 2016 I set the goal of buying a tesla by 2021 with no clue how I could afford it, and in 2018 I got a Tesla. Voila. In 2016 I also set less obvious, easy to describe goals about spending time with my family, friends, traveling, and income, and all of them have been reached or exceeded just a few years later. Much of this has to do with luck and privilege, but I can tell you none of it would have happened if I hadn’t also set a goal. You’ve got to work hard to create the environment for good luck to happen.
This fact about goal setting as a way to shape reality with your mind is abslutely absurd when you take a moment to stop and think about it. It’s mind control. It’s telepathy. The data on this is really clear by the way, there’s a remarkable increase in the likelihood of an event coming to pass if you write down your intention about it ahead of time. Prayer works in much the same way. So I like to think of this practice as my annual prayer about the world I’d like to live in. I also think it’s marvelously entertaining for people to read, and hopefully, it challenges you to take your own goals more seriously than you already do and gives you permission to dream bigger.
By setting goals – that is by using your mind to change and shape the future – allows you to build and shape reality in a way that is fun, easy, and free. Too few people practice actively changing their future.
This blog post and the process it illustrates is my annual practice for shaping my future.
In contrast to what might be referred to as a “common” goal-setting practice, I like to set goals that help me imagine an entire lifetime of my contribution and beyond. This helps me imagine the forces at play between my different short term and long term goals more effectively.
This complicated goalsetting practice isn’t common because for any reasonable, realistic human it’s stupid and way too much work and it takes a long time ? I love it, and I only do it once a year, and I find that even the goals I don’t reach inform important decisions I make about how I spend my time each year – so it’s always worth doing. With that context set, please enjoy reading my process.
I set goals each year in 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 80, and 100-year increments. I have done this every year since 2016.
Why I Set Big Goals
I’ve always held a deep dissatisfaction with the way things are, and an admiration for people who mold the world to make it more equitable, better, cooler, and more fun from their perspective.
I often say that it’s easy to change the world, the trouble is that we wake up every day and make the same decisions.
This past year we saw how true that really is – everyone around the world woke up in Feb & March and collaboratively decided to change EVERYTHING about how the world works. By April the world was unrecognizable.
Changing the world took a matter of weeks, not months or years. Changing the world took a small group of thoughtful, curious people. Changing the world required a powerful, compelling story that threatened to affect everyone’s lives on a daily basis.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you changing the world takes anything more than that. It doesn’t.
If it’s taking longer, you’re asking the wrong questions or telling the wrong story. Simple as that.
When you find and effectively communicate a better way, people will adapt to it. But it’s up to each of us to search for better ways and communicate them generously.
Everyone has worked from home on Zoom all year, and this time last January few people even knew what Zoom was. If someone had already invented something better than Zoom in VR, we would have used that instead.
I set these goals because it helps me imagine what is worth dreaming about and building. It gives me a rubric for yesses and noes to difficult long-term decisions that don’t have clear answers.
It reminds me that like the billionaires and governments of the world, I am just as powerful and capable of leaving a legacy and making an impact. I am just as powerful now with online video, online learning, and online commerce to institutionalize my worldview in a way that changes the world for the better. The Founders of the United States were my age. So were the engineers who worked on the Apollo project.
In fact, I see these sort of absurd illusions of grandeur – these intentions for grandeur even – as my responsibility. When people I revile leave billions of dollars in trusts to institutionalize their world view – a world view meant to make it harder for people I love to get healthcare or vote, it’s my responsibility to build trillions of dollars of value to express MY point of view if I truly believe it will make the world a better, fairer place. If the people I hate were cocky enough to do it that way, by god, two can play at that game!!!
The problem I see with the world is that the kind, loving people are too quiet.
They doubt themselves.
They second guess.
I’ve been there.
But if the loud, careless, assholes are going to set the rules for our existence I’ll be absolutely damned. I’ve written at length about this.
When I dream, I want to change the world. I’ll settle for nothing less. I find it hard to be inspired by simple financial or life-achievement goals. I could not care less about being a millionaire or graduating or whatever.
So instead let’s reach for the stars together today.
Setting 80-year goals that push me to dream about a time I might not even be here is important. It helps me align what will satisfy me today with what will allow me to build something deeply rewarding long term, even if I don’t live to see it fulfilled. It will allow me to make the kind of impact that actually changes the world, and isn’t just fancy words. For now, it’s fancy words, but hopefully…
On Inviting Other People To Join My Goalsetting Practice
This year, because I’ve gotten some pushback from people who are in the second half of their lives about how it’s “unrealistic” for them to set 80-year goals, so I will be setting 500 and 1000 year goals as well.
I want to be very plain about this change I am making so that the point I intend to make here is ultra-clear:
We cannot afford to live on a planet where the people with the most experience in life, the most intelligence, and the most self-awareness stop dreaming. We need your dreams maybe even more so than young people’s dreams. Your context is so valuable.
So I’ll be making a 1000 year goal this year, an age no one can possibly realistically hope to live to without almost certainly getting hit by a truck or something silly, even if you do get frozen and sent into the future. Because I want to make a point. I am choosing my life’s work based on my view of the world because I have seen that generations after me can benefit hugely from that kind of behavior, and I am the beneficiary of countless people making similar legacy-based decisions before me.
As always, I’ll be challenging everyone in my life of every age to make a document with these sort of goals for their own lives, from 1 to 1000 years from now, just as I will do now. I write these from biggest number to most near, so that I get to surprise myself at every step as I write my life backward.
This year I’ll be paying especially close attention to how my long-term goals shape my short-term decision-making and tying each thing back to something I can do daily this year. It’s important to dream big, but nothing happens if you don’t configure those dreams in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly routines you must establish to achieve them.
This past year I lost TWO friends who were still younger than age 30. I was lucky to talk with them about their long-term goals and deeply hurt to see those goals go unfulfilled. They left those charged with preserving their legacies largely without instruction. I intend to go out satisfied with my life if I join them for an early departure, with clear instructions and inspiration for the people who knew me and PLENTY of capital left in my wake to achieve these goals.
That said, I’m still gonna stick around for a few hundred years if I have any say in the matter 🙂
So after writing from the 1000 year goals down to next year’s agenda, I’ll go back and read my goals from last year to compare how they’ve changed, and reply to those with how I did!
Keep in mind that I write most of this in jest as a learning tool for myself, realizing that it’s likely that nothing at all about our world will be recognize-able in as few as 5 or 10 years. Especially given how the last 10 years or so have gone.
Also, given the huge spans of time, we’ll be taking a bit of a retrospective approach this year as well, adding in some historical details for fun and context along the way.
1000 years is a stupid amount of time from now.
As I know from my hours of contemplation writing this, it’s still really tricky to realistically imagine 1000 years ahead even if you think about it way too hard for way too long.
In 1000 years it will be January 24th, 3021, and I will be 1028 years old. If I am still alive, I will have just thrown a very silly base-two birthday party just a few years before when I turned 1024. Perhaps people will be confused about the archaic tradition of earth-year birthday celebrations. Only a few billion of us will celebrate them at most, among potentially trillions of people by then, assuming the population moves off the earth and doesn’t plateau – and uh, nothing super-bad happens. Seems likely that no matter what, birthdays will be a part of ancient history, but maybe not. Hopefully, at least the birthday song will get an update by then, if not the whole English language.
1000 years ago it was 1021. In 1021 literally, nothing happened to anyone I’ve ever heard of, which is absolutely wild to conceive of. Not a single one of the 400 million people on earth did anything that ENTIRE YEAR that anyone still talks about. I mean there was, like, King Henry II, but it honestly wasn’t a huge year for him.
Guido of Arezzo, an Italian music theorist was my age in 1021. He was pretty involved in the inception of “do-re-me-fa…” etc. and is the only westerner I can find born in 992, 1000 years before me.
A guy named Senachereim (real tongue twister, that one) surrendered to the byzantine empire, but like, what do you do with that? He died a few years later. It’s what happens when you surrender to the Byzantines and they annex your entire realm, you know? His throne made it to 1880 though, and it was photographed and put on Wikipedia. So that’s cool.
I’d be so entertained if the only thing about me that made it 1000 years into the future was the stupid red IKEA chair I’m sitting on right now.
I hope that in 1000 years literally no one has any clue what happened last year, though I know that’s hopeless. We still remember plagues from thousands of years ago. Dumb. What a waste of memory space that would be. I wonder if history will be better preserved by then. I give these words i write now an optimistic 10% chance of making it 1000 years from now, given how easy it is to archive the whole written internet and shoot it into space now, but only because of my 1-year goal this year. But I’ll write that later.
ON THE OFF CHANCE that anyone remembers anything about anything I do in my entire life in 1000 years, here’s what I hope it would be:
I hope that everyone in the universe realizes that true wealth is made whenever we make life easier, more fun, simpler, more profitable, or more enjoyable for each other. That our own service to each other is the foundation of a satisfying, fulfilling life, and it’s the foundation of all economic and spiritual growth. I think that’s a simple message to send 1000 years into the future.
How is that different from just “be a good person?” – notice the words I’m using.
It took me two months to figure out how to phrase that. Reread it a couple of times as you continue here.
To be BLUNT, this statement is about money. Read that whole phrase again in the context of CASH. In 2021 we live in a world where Janet Yellen is back in a new job but is essentially just a wizard controlling levers that the average American does not understand nor care about outside of how it affects their ability to refinance their mortgage.
WEALTH is something we create by how we treat each other. Whenever you buy a coffee you create wealth for both YOU and the BARISTA. Every value exchange is a realization that a greater value was created and some of it was captured and exchanged. If this seems like magical thinking to you – it’s because it was designed that way. We now live in a world where in the next few years apps will crop up that reflect this creation of value during an exchange and it’ll start to make sense as people use cryptocurrency and programmable asset classes for more and more daily business. As UBI begins and payments from the government continue, this will all just click.
For now, have a read through Wikipedia’s list of theories of value to better understand how much great intellectual work still remains to be done here! This is just the beginning.
In 1000 years… well. just reread my statement now with that in mind. Notice that I reference spirituality. We have so far to grow in our understanding of capital. Imagine how much you’d pay to go relive your favorite memory. Realize that that feeling is what money feels like. That’s what value creation is. This intuition for the inherent value of enjoyable experiences is how we make capital and leverage it!
While I’m being a rabid idealist, and because this is an exercise in goal setting – here is what I’d ideally like:
Every person grows up having a great time, learning how to treat their body well for long life (if all people still have bodies lol), and learning how to develop their intelligence into something new and exciting to more effectively and entertainingly commune with other people. They get paid to follow their curiosity and become enormously wealthy and powerful building things they think are cool and fun, and that power is effectively distributed and checked to prevent cruelty and enhance equity.
Noticeably absent in 1000 years (but hopefully sooner) are conversations about non-consensual experiences like poverty or hunger. Instead, we spend our time practicing treating each other more thoughtfully and building wealth together.
I hope the concept of “education” is gone and that learning about the universe (maybe the multiverse? Maybe other concepts of reality!?) and how it all works doesn’t feel like work. I hope it all feels like play.
I hope people play their way around the universe, flying through stars, building beautiful things, and discovering new questions to ask about existence.
We will still each be a small part of the universe continuing to contemplate itself more beautifully. In some way, no matter where I am, I know I’ll be there.
I would like that to be a direct result of institutions, practices, and social norms that come into vogue in my lifetime in some part because of my work here on Earth. Whether that takes 20 years or 200 remains to be seen. But I know we can get there.
I can’t tell you I’ve learned anything from Henry II or Senekerim’s throne he surrendered to Basil II though, so I’ll be alright if all that gets forgotten for some other more important lesson. This was a joy to write though. I never knew I could dream that big.
In order to establish this goal as a daily routine, I’m going to project manage an Ethereum app this year. I’ve added a daily reminder to myself to push that conversation forward some each week. 300 moments of attention and at least 52 steps forward scheduled and ready to go.
And now, 500 years.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere even more interesting. It’s 2521, and everyone still makes jokes about 2020, and they’re worried about 2525 because of the same pattern of numbers. Because people are that way.
In 1521 things were absolutely lit. (Honestly, I wonder if they’ll be able to translate that sentence in 2521. I hope the term Lit dies out way before then.) Just in January 1521 ALONE, we have a lot of news to cover because OUR BOY GUTENBERG had just finished his whole printing press thing not much earlier. So someone could finally write and distribute what the town criers kept yelling about.
In particular, we had a very heavy-metal-sounding catholic church event called the DIET OF WORMS going on in Worms, Germany. This was of course, back when Germany wasn’t a thing. It was the Holy Roman Empire. And of course, by 2521 we expect the same piece of land there to be the Holy Taylor Swift Empire, along with the rest of the landmasses still above the water on earth. People just call earth the HTSE now.
As for me and my progeny (genetic or intellectual), we will be living among the stars.
Do you know what 500 years of compound interest can do? It can buy some planets, Mormon style. It can use AI to build spaceships to go physically acquire some planets. Swipe the Barclay card I’d like pluto please! Name it Steve. (please don’t actually do that unless it’s just for the meme)
I just have to hope, for the sake of being able to make any realistic projections here, that economic expansion & growth continues at the ‘ol 3% pace and not some crazy 30% YOY AI-driven nonsense. I think regardless of what happens I’ll be off on my predictions by several orders of magnitude imagining the future of economic growth.
Let’s just imagine for a second that things will work predictably for the next 500 years and GDP keeps going up by 3% per annum and the S&P 500 goes up by 12% and that’s just how life is on average for 1000 more years. Unlikely but useful for setting silly goals.
Mind you, not a SINGLE BANK from 1521 is still in operation. Banking was pretty new. And I’ll bet you given how J.P. Morgan Chase & Bank of America, etc. are behaving they won’t make it quite to 2521.
But I’ll bet Barclays will. Can you imagine founding a company in 1690 and having it make it to 2021 and have partnerships with Apple!?
When Barclays was founded the planet’s GDP was probably smaller than Apple’s market cap right now. We probably hit like 500 million people total population that year. Pretty sure about as many people got the free U2 album on iTunes a few years ago.
Did you know Barclays is SO OLD MOST CUSTOMERS COULDN’T READ so they survived on the strength of their logo alone? True story. Look up their website.
Anyway this year I’ll be setting up both a trust fund at Barclays and on Ethereum and leaving them both to generate interest for the person who has the coolest song and dance to perform on a VR holo Livestream for the entire universe in 2521. The universe will vote and whoever wins gets the bag. Let’s see how much that’ll be…
I’ll just open like a $2m life insurance policy or something easy that doubles as a low dollar savings account / backup overseas IRA for me, and I’ll put it in trust to auto-pay the payments for the rest of my life then whether I die young or old, either that principal or the policy itself will be worth a couple million when I pass away.
If I set up a trust to automatically put that in an indexed average of economic growth like whatever the S&P 500 equivalent is in 2121, I suppose given the S&P average of 10% annually that’ll be worth around $43 billion in 2221, and four hundred sixty-eight sextillion in 2521. So yeah, a couple of planets at least. That’s enough to buy 3 billion ENTIRE EARTHS worth of GDP in 2020 dollars. Of course, after you pay 1 billion earth in taxes for closing the account.
I’m counting on you Barclays.
Perhaps by then, people will feel about climate change, pets, eating animals, wage work, advertising, or eating plants as we do about slavery today. Either way, you’ve still got blood on your hands Barclays.
Anyway, yeah. Compound interest, man. Einstein wasn’t kidding about the most powerful force in the universe. Though I doubt counting on my passive investment to outpace the GDP of the universe is a viable long-term strategy, it’s fun to think about.
I just learned that the oldest continuously managed fund in history is 97 years old. The first shared public fund was only founded in 1774. Crazy. There are people. HUMAN BEINGS. that are older than the entire professional discipline of INVESTING right now. And people still talk about investing like it’s been figured out and we know everything there is to know about moving capital around and building companies. Lol. This is why I don’t watch TV.
I read a great book last year called Debt by David Graeber, who passed away from COVID. Highly recommend you look it up and slap on the audiobook next time you go on a walk. It’s about 6000 years of the history of money and value in a single book.
What would I like to have done other than building that fund that bought a few planets?
That’s a pretty interesting question actually. Culturally not a ton has changed since 1521. Actually, on a day-to-day level more has changed since 1921 than had changed the 400 years before that. I think this is the difficulty of a project like setting 500-year goals, but I think a safe one that will actually have some meaning for myself and for you reading this is this:
I would like a company, institution, or social group I had some hand in starting to still be around making a positive contribution.
People say a good rule of thumb is that things can be expected to last about as long as they have already lasted, on average. Countries, companies, practices, technologies. Email as a service will probably be around for at least another 30 years. Planes seem like a safe bet for the next 100 years. Books are definitely here to stay until 2521. By 2521 Barclay’s will be coming up on their 1000th year in business, and I’d like Lander or something related to my work to have been around 500 or so years. I hope that people feel hopeful about the impact that my company’s work will continue to have on society for the next 500 years to come, just like I’m pretty stoked about my new Barclay’s managed life insurance trust fund.
I will be thinking hard this year about how I can design an institution that will withstand the test of time like Barclay’s has. I will think about how I can maybe adopt an institution that precedes me and contribute something meaningful to it. The Antlers comes to mind.
On top of the Ethereum app for my 1,000 year goal, I now have a monthly reminder to establish that trust. Should happen sometime over the summer. In the meantime, I’ve added a line to my daily review next to “did you build equity today” (thanks for the suggestion Dane, StartFromZero.com) that simply says “Did you institutionalize your views today in some form of writing or video?”
Okay, now we get down to the part of this document where timelines start falling within some of my reader’s experience! Some of you reading this will remember bits of the 1920s or 1930s, and certainly knew many people born in those times.
Steve Allen, the first host of the Tonight Show, was born in 1921. He wrote 8500 jazz songs. I’ve never heard of him until now.
The author of the book I’m book clubbing with Mom in Feb & March this year, Mysticism was born in 1893. Nearly 100 years my senior.
In 1921, Georgia gets invaded again, just like in 1021 (funny…). Two days from now in 1921 Women’s suffrage is attained in Sweden. Nice work Sweden. On my birthday that year, Bessie Coleman becomes the first person of color to have an international pilot’s license.
An actress named Alice Brady, also 100 years my senior, had already been in dozens of films at age 28 and would only live until 1939, just 18 more years. Richard Hale, a contemporary actor, hadn’t yet starred in his first film. He lived to be 88. Maybe you saw him in 1962’s To Kill A Mockingbird or Star Trek. Kathy Davis who wrote The Little Drummer Boy was also my age now and still had 20 years to go until she’d actually write it. Perhaps I have about 20 years until I do the work I’m remembered for if I ever do any work I’m remembered for…
Mary Pickford (also 100 years my senior, and maybe the only person born that year famous enough to have had multiple pictures of her taken in 1921 and put up on Wikipedia…) had just co-founded United Artists (UA) with Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W.Griffith two years earlier. She and Fairbanks had just recently settled into their estate Pickfair, which they’d celebrate in with people from all over the world during the 20s. These are the people Gene Kelly regarded as his seniors. Hilarious. From a historical point of view, they were horrible people. In the same spirit, I fully expect something on this blog will get me canceled much sooner than 100 years from now. I, unfortunately, don’t know what that will be, or else I’d, like, not do it.
In 2121 we’ll be coming up on all bitcoins being mined, this will either be a Very Big Deal or people will have forgotten it. I expect bitcoin price above $1m-$10m well before then if it does end up averaging out as a tertiary hedge against gold & the dollar. Or it will be near-zero because someone found a fatal flaw or it was replaced in some other way. But I’ll bet most people know as much about Bitcoin in 2121 as the average person today knows about the history of the gold bullion reserves in the New York or Denver federal reserves. I don’t expect the US dollar to make it that long, but I’m not super worried, we seem fairly ready to replace it even now.
I would be surprised if the United States itself still existed unchanged. I expect at least a few more states by then (if history is anything to go by, DC, Puerto Rico, and some surprises). I hope we’ll have figured out sovereignty for space stations, etc. without violence. Seems like it could be messy getting there.
I imagine, as I’ve said, that advances in AI, virtual spaces, and discoveries about travel between now and then will make anything I could come up with now kind of moot.
During 2121 I would like to spend my time between the virtual and real worlds. Any management or design work will be done completely virtually, just as it has been for dozens of years at that point. I will decide how I want to spend my year and who I want to spend it with, and the universe will surprise me, just as it does now, with an outcome that’s sort of what I wanted but sort of different. This feels like something that could conceivably happen this year if the right forces come into play (and in some ways it almost happened last year) but if it’s not fully in place 100 years from now I’ll eat my hat.
Anything I can dream up will be delivered to me, rendered in real-time, with complete realism. Some of these experiences will involve other people, some won’t! I expect technologies will exist to re-render past events with spectacular realism and predict the future too. Engineering & community building will be more creative endeavors than technical.
The question of WHAT to build will finally be obviously far more pressing than “how” to build it – even though it already is the most pressing question for those who get how abundant things already are. How rich and lucky we already are.
As I’ve mentioned in previous years I still want to be an engaged part of a continuing global conversation, then as I am now. Along with virtual representations or simulations of some of my favorite people from the recent past, and synthesis versions of people from the future!
I wonder if by then there will be a way to experience time at a different speed. To slow down or speed up your perception, or expand the range of things you can experience at once. I wonder if we’ll have met and communicated with alien beings who live on different timescales than we do. Perhaps they live in Millenia or Minutes but are still intelligent learners who want to have conversations with us, slow or fast.
But that’s all I can give you for 100 years from now like 100 years ago it’s a bit of a blur. Perhaps it will echo much like last year’s pandemic did 100 years later.
I hope in 100 years the mission of Artists United I just learned about is fulfilled on a much broader scale, that people will understand that Art is a huge part of the value & heritage of our shared culture we make each year and that artists (not just the distributors of their work or platforms on which they share that work) will receive the lion’s share of the value they create for others. People are making a big deal about NFTs as I write this, funny that giving artists a cut of the work has been an ongoing intellectual rights issue for 100 years now…
To begin this practice this year I’ve bought VR headsets for my entire family and my team, though I haven’t given them out yet! They may learn that as they read this 🙂 We’ll be working in VR most days this year! 🙂
50 Years, 2071. I’ll turn 79, the age my friend Allen Rowe is right now. He still manages to stay exactly 50 years ahead of me, even as I catch up to our mutual friend Toni this year – who was two years older than me last year but this year we will turn the same age. Funny, that. Sad, too.
50 years ago, in 1971 modern publishing had found its stride, so we finally know exactly what was happening on this day of that particular year. Charles Manson was being found guilty. Weird. NASDAQ was being founded, Rolls Royce was going bankrupt and getting nationalized. We were a week away from Apollo 14 liftoff, which launched the third successful moon landing mission.
Trees planted as an experiment during that third trip to the moon are called “moon trees” and can be found today around the world. They’re huge. There’s a Wikipedia list of them.
There are none in Colorado. Yet. The closest to me now is in the “International Forest of Friendship” in Atchison, Kansas. Might have to visit it this year.
1971 also featured the biggest increase in world population ever in history – 2.1% growth in a single year.
This is the first goal year that’s more likely to happen to me than not happen, actuarially speaking. So let’s get down to details:
I would like to have given away or invested my wealth in growth industries that inspire the outcomes I’d like to see in the world.
I want it to finally be common sense worldwide that if you make more than $10 a day ($4k a year) you’re RICH. Like RICH RICH. Rich enough to build a business, get a loan, and leverage your way into billions of dollars with some thoughtfulness and effort instead of squandering your time thinking small and selfish. Serve tens or hundreds of people and make their lives easier. Build millions in equity. Start to give that away & invest in causes you care about. And you have a responsibility to build something inspiring with your access to capital in developed countries.
I WILL hold you accountable to this responsibility if you are my friend. Your perspective is needed in the market. My friend Lewis built a whole course about this.
I’m not sure “giving my wealth away” in 50 years will look like charity does today. Maybe it will be giving equity to employees or similar, I imagine a large part of the wealth I develop later in life will be re-invested just like my early years, into the growth of the things I am most passionate about FAST. Charity is too inefficient and slow.
I’d like my day-to-day at this age to look pretty similar to the way Allen and I both spend our days now – surrounded by people we love, starting each morning with tea and meditation. In constant and ever-evolving discussions with people who inspire me, writing, and reading to better understand the world around me. Going on regular adventures. Still building toward a future that inspires me.
I’ll still be writing 1000 year goals, by then I imagine I’ll have done some serious world-building around those goals after having written them FIFTY times. This is only my fourth or fifth revision of them this year. Wow.
To achieve this goal (this one is rich) all I have to do is continue living as I already am. Identically. I love that so much.
20 Years, 2041 – I’ll turn 49.
This is the first one I remember. Wikipedia has launched 20 years ago, on Jan 15, 2001.
Yesterday 20 years ago Tiananmen Square happened – but not the one you’re thinking about. Self-immolation. That and the Tank moment are actually moments I asked a tour guide about while in Tiananmen Square when I was 20 years old. She denied that either was a big deal and said that people knew about them but didn’t really consider them often.
20 years from now, I can imagine political turmoil continues to be a theme, but in a much weirder space-force involved and china-related type of way. Maybe we’lll get some India and Russia in the fuss too, maybe not. By now there will have been the first privately owned space stations and starships parked in orbit. The space industry conferences in boulder and colorado springs that have private side rooms to discuss future planetary governance right now will be the subject of much intense debate & conspiracy-mongering online as Mars declares its independence and various space stations and companies or new nations try similar moves, or have already decades earlier!
Who knows what will happen, but I know the word “guardians” will come up a lot and it will still make me chuckle a little bit inside.
On a personal level, I’ve gone from 8 years old to 28 in this period of time. I expect a similar level of intellectual growth in this upcoming 20-year timeline, even if my height stays roughly the same give or take a few inches. I mentioned this in my 2016 goals, but I still notice myself becoming more “grown” and “experienced” each year, and it’s REALLY upsetting how it affects your thinking and natural inclination to curiosity. I didn’t expect to have to work hard to stay curious. But I am certainly willing to put in the work.
Between now and 48 I expect to learn just as many new things and meet just as many new people (which I estimate at around 10,000 for the last 2 decades. Perhaps I can do better in the next two decades, let’s say 100,000 people? Maybe a million. An order of magnitude or two up. That would be nice, especially after a pandemic). I want to continue to be wary of feeling “experienced” or getting bored. I want to be contributing to my legacy but never assuming I know how things work. I imagine the world will be changing faster in 2041 than it is now!
The most delightful part of the next 20 years, is that unlike the last 20 I don’t have to worry about:
- Other people spending my time. I have completed my obligations education and work-wise.
- I have figured out how to make enough that I can spend my time doing what I want, whenever I want, all of the time.
My biggest concern now is just what to work on next, and in what order to focus on growth and development in which part of my life. That’s part of why I make these goals in the first place.
I want to be able to maintain my local, short-term, very people-focused goals so I can continue to spend time cherishing special moments with friends and family that I love.
If I’d written a 20-year goal 20 years ago, I’m sure it would have involved never doing homework again, traveling, spending a good amount of time playing racing games or Morrowind (hello Cyberpunk 2077), and wishing VR were real. Here we are!
I probably also would have asked for a flying skateboard. Still working on that one. Here’s hoping 48 year old me figured that out.
Mom and I are literally attending an afterparty for a group in California hosted on the starship enterprise Monday evening in VR. This year. This week. Now. Tomorrow!
I have had trips with 3 different friends in the last 3 months, and several more planned before spring! I am living the dream and the chief difficulty now is remembering how grateful to be for this abundance and figuring out ways to share it.
To achieve this goal I’ve implemented processes around lifelong learning in the past year. I spent so much of 2020 reading and avoiding responsibility for what I’d learned, never putting it into practice. This year I’ve committed to taking written notes on (and PUBLISHING!) everything I listen to, watch, or read whether for leisure or work. Right here on this blog or in notion.
In 10 years. 2031.
This is the one that really spooks me.
In 2011 I had just moved into the dorm I would spend the rest of college in, overlooking downtown Savannah, Georgia. I was wrestling that winter with my faith and reading literally every written work of Christian apology I could find from the last 100 years. Today, I’m reading a book called “mysticism” that my mom gave me as a gift for Christmas, part of a conversation that has been ongoing now for 10 years. 10 YEARS of talking about the metaphysics of reality and what our current experience means and how our cultural traditions tie into those on a day-to-day basis and over the course of our lives.
Mom spent today watching Abundance 360 and hearing Sam Altman’s presentation on the future of AI. Dad spent today hand-assembling & printing his last home-delivery run of circuit boards he has for sale, as part of a company we founded together 10 years ago while we were taking iPhone Development classes together.
I am so lucky my parents are such cool people, especially in retirement and now that I’m out of school. I am so lucky they’re in good health and we get to spend a bit of every week together since we only live 15 minutes apart.
I hope that in 10 years these projects continue in some form. Perhaps dad has his own software that he owns for sale on a large scale. Perhaps Mom is presenting about her space Apartments at the Abundance 360 conference. Those are possibilities they’ve just floated for their lives this year.
I don’t think any of us in 2011 would have dreamed we’d arrive in 2021 in such style, all driving our own electric cars and discussing building space developments. This gives me so much hope for how much can happen between now and 2031 because it needs to.
By 2031 I want my online learning conference & online learning platform to be built & thriving. I want people around the world(s) to be reconsidering what they want to learn, and not sweating getting a degree unless they want to for genuine curiosity’s sake. I hope getting a stable source of financial support that’s truly secure (or multiple such sources) is simple, step by step, and is achievable for anyone no matter their ability, skill set, talent, background, or desires, with no up-front cost of any kind or ongoing obligation if you fail.
I hope that as a planet we’ve shifted from conservation & sustainability to imagining how we can all thrive best in a world of true abundance. Where everyone is fed when they are hungry & have a means of exchange that THEY control the supply of to account for goods and services they want. I hope the economy continues to expand dramatically as we redefine what’s economically valuable and redefine GDP.
I hope that I still have conversations going with elders in my life around spirituality, housing, business growth, wellbeing, relationships.
I hope that I’m still learning from and inspired by people younger than me who I work with and am friends with. I hope I’m still editing photoshoots with friends over takeout sushi and I’m still watching Lander staff and volunteers impress me with enormous new projects they’ve pulled off that we never could have accomplished alone.
I have my first taste of those things this year as I finally bought my first Full Frame camera, and I watched the Volunteer team for TEDx pull off something truly amazing this weekend – running their own event!
In contrast, 10 years ago I had just shot my first (and thank goodness still my only) wedding the day before, (and wrote a terrible post on Tumblr about it) and then decided I wanted to spend my life shooting landscapes. I had no clue how that was going to work, but I’m glad that worked out 🙂
I can only imagine what happens in 10 years. But boy do I know it will be GOOD. 18-year-old Steve would have been smiling SO BIG at everything I get to do every day now, and we would have had amazing conversations about the universe and what it all means!
He would also be a little mad at me but it’s cool I can take the heat of being misunderstood quite well now.
This goal requires that I invest as much in Lander’s learning products this year as I did in 2019, time-wise and now financially. I think that’s doable and it began March 1st! I’ll also be building other in-house revenue streams that support the initiatives we care about in addition to client services. To do that I’ve put a deadline in place for re-launching course ads March 15th and a daily reminder to start developing new sales pipelines that don’t require sales staff – essentially where I left off in Feb 2020 when I shifted focus to client work instead of selling part of Lander to raise money to scale the course.
5 years ago today was 2016. Getting uncomfortably close now. My Snapchat & Instagram memories go back that far. Daily video stories were about to become a big part of my life. I made 1000 videos that year. ONE THOUSAND. Videos. I put two whole days ~48 full hours – of my life on the internet for the whole world to see over the course of a year.
5 years from now, thankfully, I will probably not be making 1000 videos. I may project manage 1000 videos getting MADE, but I won’t be in all of them them. I can tell you that much. Heck, let’s make that a goal.
In 5 years I want to oversee at least 3 published videos a day from creators I support. Solid 10-year anniversary goal.
It’ll be 2026. SpaceX will have sent the first Starship to Mars if not the first people already.
THE SAGRADA FAMILIA WILL BE COMPLETE AFTER 150 YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION ON JUNE 10th, FOUR DAYS BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY. JESHUA AND I WILL BE THERE.
We’ll be halfway through Biden’s second term (or Kanye West’s first term…). At least one person will have suggested I run for national office (this literally already happened between me writing this and getting a chance to post it a week later). I will have laughed out loud (I did). I will have helped many more thoughtful, deserving people than me secure seats in power.
5 years ago I had just started this blog. My mind was filled with hopeful optimism and zero experience. I knew nobody. I knew what I wanted to build. I suspected there was an opportunity that I was sure I was right about that everyone was missing.
I was right.
5 years from now I’m watching dozens of ships launch into space with some of my best friends, and later that evening I’m live streaming with them as they see their home planet with their own eyes for the first time. We’re just getting started in this universe.
in 5 years I will have started development on a project that will take more than 100 years to complete. Cathedral? Space Station? Research institution/project? No clue for now.
To achieve this goal I need to outsource more video work this year and really get clarity on project management there – I want to keep Lander’s model distinct from a traditional agency because traditional agencies are notoriously inefficient middlemen, and only account for 1/10th of the ad market anyway – people prefer to spend their own money directly, so we should teach them how to do that and take a 10% cut of their productivity as a tuition fee. We offer a technology platform complemented by agency services. Not dissimilar from https://salesprocess.io/ but maybe a bit more well-organized and designed.
So, that’s underway. I also need to secure a seat to watch those launches ? some fun development projects this year too.
I already have weekly reminders for both of these and ongoing projects involving them both that I administer almost daily.
3 years – 2024. I’ll be 32!
I pick 3 years and 20 years in between powers of 10 because they’re different. 20 years because it’s relatable and I’ve lived that long. 3 years because lots of people say you can over-estimate what you accomplish in a year, you’re likely to under-estimate what you can accomplish in 3. So let’s go wild and see if I can out-guess my 3-year goals.
ALSO – I’m finally getting to review both my 1 year and 3 year written goals from previous years now that this is my fourth year! This’ll be so fun to see if I’ve pulled any of it off.
I do remember setting getting a Tesla as a 5-year goal and doing that in one or two. That was dope.
I think overshooting my three-year goals is a safe bet. 3 years ago Lander was effectively worth 0 dollars. Now it’s worth millions. There are products, cash flow, a team. Contracts. Value. And that’s only one of the companies I’ve helped build in that span of time!
I have learned so much about how to take bright ideas and future optimism and forward-looking statements and turn them into REALITY right in front of my eyes. I’ve learned how to build value out of thin air and sell it to people for tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve made more value for my clients in a month than some people make in decades. I’ve made more from both my own information products AND commissions on other people’s sales in a month than the average American makes in a year.
I was right about my hunch. But hell was it a lot of work to get here. Just getting started. I say that not to brag. I say that to encourage you to stay the course. It looked hopeless for 99% percent of the personal growth I needed to do until something clicked.
More than that, I’ve finally noticed that the stuff that sounded CRAZY when I started writing here on this blog is becoming common sense in the culture.
In just the past month I’ve had two people I’ve just met tell me out of the blue about how they want to build passive income streams and develop products around their talents to sell to an audience.
That’s absolutely wild to see happen around you when you’ve been told you’re crazy so many times.
I felt crazy. I thought I was wrong. I had the wildest imposter syndrome in the world. One time I wrote a post on this blog and someone commented simply “haha, you wish you were like this.” And I deleted it and cried!!! True story!
And now it’s what everyone wants to build for their lives.
I’m done feeling like an imposter. And I never want you to feel like one. I’m ready to see the other changes I foresee in the future take hold, and I’m finally ready to start publishing these annual goals again, after years of just keeping them to myself.
It’s so important to see how goals shift, and projects change, but the VALUE you bring to the table grows exponentially with audience size, product-market fit, & experience base.
We live in a world now where anyone can realize something valuable about the world, and social media marketing will use YOUR OWN CUSTOMERS to pay for your marketing out to the rest of the world. Profitable audiences build themselves now, just based on ideas alone.
All you have to do is search youtube for how to run ads and listen carefully to your first customers.
In the next 3 years, I see that getting even more insane. I’ll talk about this more in my one-year goal, but in three years I fully expect the way we work to be completely unrecognizable. It may take 5 or 10 but it’s happening. The changes 2020 set off by keeping everyone home for a year and building out broadband wireless in the US and introducing chipsets into cheap consumer devices with native h.265 and ML cores changed everything. The hardware is here and the technology that comes next will blow everyone’s minds, just like the first iPhone in 2007. The oculus quest 2 and the new M1 Macbooks are just the first sign of what’s ahead.
In three years I work with a distributed team based in the majority of countries around the world AND SOME IN SPACE. We work in multiple languages, but the monolingual people around us never notice. We appear to sit in the same office together, and some of us look like dragons or our favorite movie heroes. We’re in VR headsets in our homes around the world.
We use compute power from the Lander office downtown and we organize our projects around how we can be most useful to our favorite clients. We build projects that inspire and entertain us and make amazing money for ourselves and our clients doing it. We serve tens of thousands of students with our own courses and our client’s courses each year. We regularly acquire other companies or launch our contractors out to spin off their own companies.
Our media properties develop a value for millions of people regionally and globally. We’ve redeveloped just a bit of the media ecosystem in a healthy way, and are leading the way toward sustainable, healthy information sharing & news reporting. We bring an engineering mindset to community building.
In contrast, just 3 years ago I started writing these goals each year. Some years in December because I was excited, other years in January because I was lazy :). This year I just wasn’t sure what the future would look like until Jan 20th. 😛
In 2018 I was nervous if Lander would ever work. It had just moved from the side project to the main project, and I started getting my first 5 figure contracts and really doing work I was proud of. I hired my first serious contractors for multiple projects and not just Upwork-one-offs. I brought on project partners and co-developed the stock photo gallery with people. It was AMAZING, but I had to put my dreams and goals about online education on pause for a year or two – and boy am I glad I did. The study abroad world has not had a great time in 2020. Universities in general are in for a tough ride.
Want to know the icing on the cake for my 3-year goals?
I’m aiming to have AN OFFICE ON THE MOON in three years. Our distributed team will get up to three months there each year as a way to take a vacation, dive into deep project development, or anything in between. With their families.
As I’ve said I’m done with imposter syndrome. This goal is somewhat reliant on new launch technology maturing on expected timelines, but it’s eminently doable. I think it’s stupid and short-sighted that no one else has similar goals yet. If you’ve heard of anyone who does please introduce us.
We’re gonna live and work on the Lander logo 🙂
To begin to create that reality, I’ll be establishing Lander Development this year, which will handle my first and second commercial real estate acquisitions (both already underway) and begin bringing on staff to push this and other related projects forward.
But of course, we must ask – what does the next year hold?
1 year – 2022, Age 29.
I just had dinner with a new friend Kevin recently. He asked me a question I’d been avoiding all month. “What are your goals for 2021?”
I answered with two of the three he asked from me:
- I want to complete a development project. Money in the bank, the team hired, company & property in hand, development underway. Warren Buffet’s net worth stayed under a million until he was 29! I’ve already beat him several times over there. The rocket is built, so to speak. Now to really hit launch on the rocket. I want to publish instructions for how to get into development once I do my first successful deals, a promise to myself I made with the founder of Loop before he nearly died in a car crash a few years back. It’s so important to make city-building accessible to everyone. As Stewart Brand would have said, information needs to be free.
- I want to save 80% of my revenue from Lander & the Foundation this year, WHILE 5x-10xing revenue for a second year so that I see profit continue to grow even as I save even more each month than I already do. We’re on track for January, but it’s going to be hard to keep that up for a whole year. I trust myself to pull it off. Not easy. But worth it. Aiming to have 3 full years of operating capital in liquid savings accessible within 24 hours by the end of this year, and to do about 3x as much revenue as I need Lander Media to do in the average year going forward. I’ll evaluate if I want to continue growing those parts of Lander or continue at that run rate or lower in 2022. We grew 3x in a pandemic with half our revenue purposefully turned off. Not bad.
As a goal adjacent to this, I’d like to start to pay all contractors up-front, with a bonus by the end of this year, so that I keep all of the risks myself and they feel encouraged to charge more. I’ve been late on more invoices than I want to admit during periods of fast growth, and that’s something I want to leave in the last decade. 3. I didn’t answer 3 at dinner with Kevin. Couldn’t figure out how to phrase it. Let’s try now.
I think I’d like to see the people around me in my life feel like they can take hold of things as well as I have been blessed to figure out the last few years.
There have been a lot of moments in the past 3 years where people I loved turned against themselves or gave up and started turning growth and promise into fear and failure because of imposter syndrome, or because they have bad associations with wealth, or whatever the case may be.
I’ve done a historically very poor job of communicating my view of the world to the people around me. I’ve ended up getting taunted when my goals take longer than I’ve expressed, or I’ve faced people with increasing skepticism and doubt about my intentions and my work.
It’s all really rewarding looking back 5 years and seeing everything I thought was possible come true, but it’s really tough until those moments of value realization actually hit and pay off. It’s hard not to seem like a fraud when you dream big and it takes a while to come to fruition.
I’ve seen other people I look up to deal with this, but no one deals with it well that I’ve seen yet. I think the balance, and I reflected on this last year in my goals as well, is just keeping your integrity as tightly managed as your cash flow while you strive for fast growth.
I will focus on that primarily this year. Keeping my integrity and my communication skills (and my decisions to stop communicating at times) as thoughtfully managed as my cash flow.
Being a generous and loving servant like I learned about in Bob Iger’s book. Building wealth for me and my chosen family as I learned about in Arlan Hamilton’s book. Bringing a community with me as I succeed in unexpected ways like I learned about in Michelle Obama’s book. And publishing my notes from all of those this year ?
I think the other two goals will fall naturally from that goal, and hopefully, it will provide an inspiring and informative path for the people who are keeping a close eye on my performance.
A year ago I had just had my first $50,000 month with no audience and no physical product and I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything I thought about online learning was right. And now I’ve gotten to spend a year applying that realization to other fields – e-commerce, events, business development.
It’s been overwhelmingly cool seeing Lander clients benefit from IP we developed in-house and seeing those contracts build just as much value as Lander revenue as our students do, it’ll be even cooler to see that happen for our events this year, even if it’s a year later than I (and a lot of people) would have liked.
Most astounding this year was building a GPT-3 chatbot with my high school friend Trevor, and beginning to use GPT3 for much of my creative work. Like a prosthesis for my brain, my ad copywriting (for which I have been paid thousands of dollars) has been done (extremely well) completely by AI so far in 2021, and I expect more and more tasks to go that way in the next year. Learning how to leverage your domain expertise and supercharge it with machine intelligence is the name of the game in 2021.
Schools are hopelessly behind – maybe there’s some way to build them back up and restore their integrity with the community in the next year as well.
To achieve this goal I must simply publish weekly. I need to resume bringing you with me. I see so many people who are a successful hit this stage of their careers and double down on work and stop publishing simply because they feel like it won’t get done unless they burn themselves out. Instead, I will stay in abundance, and I will share freely the secrets I uncover, regardless of what the world does with what I publish. And I will hold my boundaries like having meetings only once a week that allow me the freedom to do the meaningful deep work that will matter for generations to come.
And so my most pressing questions from the last few years of goal writing remain:
How do I build my new-found and hard-earned intuition about learning, growth, and value and turn it into an institution that outlasts the oldest and most prestigious universities, countries, planets?
How do we institutionalize flexibility, curiosity, and lifelong learning?
How do we make that profitable and build livelihoods with it?
How do we make play measurably better than work?
That’s a 1000-year set of questions. I hope I get a few chances to attempt some answers. Either way, I will keep asking better questions, taking those questions seriously, and answering them carefully and honestly.
And the key to answering them, for now, is to continue being mindful of how I wake up every day, the thoughtfulness I apply to each hour of my day, and the integrity I bring to every conversation I have as we build the world we all dream of living in together.
My final goal is to set up a trust with part of my savings this year that will cover hosting & legal fees in perpetuity using just the interest on the principal to make sure my writing and my videos stay online as long as possible and pick several other creators to receive the same treatment. It will probably also be an Ethereum app. I’m excited.
Glad to be on this journey with you. Excited to read your goals. If you’d like my template to try these for yourself, please tell me where to send it and I’ll email you thoughtful posts like this one every few weeks, too: