I am writing this on January 1, 2020. Today is the first day of a new year and a new decade. As I do every year, I spend a good portion of today alone, reflecting on the year that has passed. Given it is also the end of the decade I have also spent a good amount of time reflecting on the past ten years. What has happened in my life – the blessings, the challenges, and the learnings – as well as the evolution of the world outside my world. On balance, it has been a good year and a good decade. I am thankful.
One thing I have not done is set a plan for the upcoming year or decade. I decided to abandon any formal life planning about 6 years ago. To some, this may sound like heresy, but so far I think that has been a good decision. The reason for that decision was simple: I don’t know what I don’t know.
The environment around us is evolving at such a pace that it is hard for me to know where I can make the biggest impact. New problems and new innovations continue to emerge. Ten years ago, I, like most of the world, had never heard of cryptocurrency or the blockchain. But right now, that’s what I spend most of my time thinking about and working on. And I’m dedicating so much time to it because I feel like it has massive potential to fundamentally improve the lives of billions of people, and I feel like, at least right now, my contributions are helping push the ball forward.
What is most important to me is that I am maximizing my ability to impact the lives of people disadvantaged. I got lucky and was born in Canada, in a middle-class family, and had the opportunity to pursue any education and vocation I wanted. Most people don’t have that. I want to change that.
The way in which my efforts manifest is entirely unknown to me. That doesn’t mean that I wake up every day without aim or ambition. I maintain a fairly detailed six(ish) month rolling roadmap at all times, but beyond that I try to leave it open ended. And I am completely at peace with that.
For those that know me, that may sound paradoxical because I am as Type-A as they come. I plan my days down to 15 minute increments, and agonized over every minor decision (see: Making Decisions). But when it comes to big life direction, oddly, I am fine to leave that to ambiguity.
I think that perspective is rooted in faith. I have faith that God has a plan, and my job is to be obedient to that plan and follow God’s direction. I have come to understand that God does not always reveal his plan neatly in yearly or decade long roadmaps – most times the call of God comes in an instant.
I thought Kanye said it well in his latest interview with Zane Lowe (highly recommend): “I have some visions but the more that I’m in service to God I just clear my head and just wake up more empty every day and let God do the driving and just use me as he may”
That to me is the best plan of all. So maybe I do have a plan. My plan is to follow where the good Lord leads me, and dedicate myself 100% to whatever is put in front of me.
The only goal I’m setting on January 1, 2020 is that when I sit down next year, and ten years from now to reflect on the last year and the last decade, I want to say to myself “that was time well spent.”