Using the Decade Calendar to Maximize Your Life
A New Calendar View – Part 1
What good is a decade that has already passed? Maybe it’s best you’ve made it through one decade and never wanted to look back at it. How then can you benefit from time that’s already spent? A better approach as opposed to wasting a decade is to take normal experiences and plan a life that can propel you beyond those norms. In other words, take what you know to be normal and use it to go to the next level. In this way, you can build a life on the habits of another and at the same time live an extraordinary life.
Do you remember the movie “Back to the Future?” This 1980’s film starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, is about a 17 year old boy, who gets to time-travel. He, running for his life, ends up traveling back in time to the period when his parents were teenagers. He ends up accidentally altering the past and thusly changing the future of everyone he knows. He got to go back in time. He was able to take a look back at his parent’s previous decade, so to speak. This sounds great, but he makes a mess of the future and must figure out a way to correct his new reality.
If we look at this movie with a different lense we can discover the value of seeing or hearing the experiences of decades we’re sure to face ourselves. Marty McFly has the opportunity of learning what to do and what not to do based on his parents when they were in the corresponding decade. He saw them as teenagers, which is decade-2 of the learning phase of one’s life.
Life however, doesn’t give us the ability for a do-over. Instead, we have to correct our own future based on what happened in our past or someone else’s past. I hope you prefer the latter as we don’t have many decades that we can waste. And this brings me back to our decade calendar.
In previous web-posts, we defined this sobering and thought provoking decade-calendar. Now allow me to redefine it by sharing how we can have an uncommon view of it. There is only one thing you can do to not repeat the normal experiences of another and that’s to learn and grow from them. John Maxwell often makes references to having a growth plan or strategy for one’s life. A growth plan or plan for your growth is exactly what we can use the decade calendar for.
In this series of lessons, we will discuss the idea of using these three phases of life to become all we can become. Allow me to give you a synopsis of what’s in store.
- Phase 1 – The Learning Decades: Learn How to Live an Uncommon Life
What’s interesting about the first 3 decades of your life is this. No matter how hard people try to make you like them, you become something different. No matter what plans your parents try to push on you, you end up doing something different. You know why? No one fits a mold set by others. You’re made to be different and unique. It’s in this learning decade that you find out you just can’t be what others want you to be, you must become you. So for this decade, spend it finding out how you can be you and stop being derailed by what others are trying to make of you.
- Phase 2 – The Earning Decades: Earn Like An Uncommon Person
Don’t allow this caption to throw you off. It implies that we can earn more than most. While that’s true and you can, it’s not the focus of this lesson. Rather this is about how to use what you’ve earned and how you live during the earning decades in an uncommon way. This phase is about building a life worth living for and earning for. For what reasons are you earning? When you have a reason or what we call “a why,” you’ll find a way to get the resources needed to support it.
- Phase 3 – The Returning Decades: Return What You’ve Gained in an Uncommon Way
Most of us (only) truly plan for a life that caps at around 65. What we’ve discovered is that most don’t have a well thought-out plan for 65 and beyond. What an average way to live. Jim Rohn asks this question, “how tall does a tree grow?” And his response is, “as tall as it can.” In the same way, how tall will you grow? I hope you want to grow (live) as tall as you can. In order to live a tall life you must become a person who returns all he or she can.
What if you could be Marty McFly, but instead of traveling to the past, travel to the future. What advice would you give the older you? Here’s a better question to ask. What would you expect to see (of yourself) at each interval of the decade-calendar? What would you look like at 30? 40? 50? 60? 70? 80? 90? The goal of this type of thinking is to live a life that leads you to what you’d expect to see of yourself at each phase. This is how we plan to live an uncommon life.
Question: are your thoughts of your future self better than the thoughts you have of your past self?