What Are You Doing Today for Your Future Self?
I had a professor once who told our class, “People who go home and drink every day will never be rich.”
It didn’t just have to be drinking, he explained. Social media overuse, or doing nothing but watch TV: any vice can be wasteful if it keeps us stagnant.
People who go home and learn new skills, or read, or go out to events and network, are much more likely to get ahead in life.
That’s not to say that you need to spend every waking moment being productive, and should never have fun. But spending some extra time improving yourself or learning new skills can help you in the future.
Having a hobby that helps you learn something new, or make money, can benefit you years down the road.
A lot of times, we expect instant results. We want to be an overnight sensation. But slow, incremental growth is more likely to lead to success.
There’s an affirmation by Émile Coué that’s popular in the mindfulness field: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
My grandmother always had quotes like that on a sticky note on her bathroom mirror. She was always improving: first it was business school in the 1940s, when many women didn’t go to college. Then it was opening her own shop.
She was constantly reading books about how she could improve. She taught classes, even into her seventies. Her final goal? She retired and bought a house close to the ocean.
Did she retire with a million dollars? No. But she was personally and professionally fulfilled.
I haven’t opened up my own shop, but I consider writing to be my business. It’s fun, and often makes me money.
It took a long time, but by working at it almost every day, I’ve improved.
The other day, someone stopped me at work and said, “How do you type so fast?” She was listening to me through the cubicle wall.
At first I thought she was trying to say I was being so loud, but she was just amazed at my speed. A few days later, someone else watched me type an email and blinked. In a few seconds, I had two sentences completed.
“How did you do that so fast?” she asked.
Over the past year, I’ve written tens of thousands of words. So it makes sense that my typing speed has improved. I’m also better at researching. Even if I stopped freelance writing tomorrow, those skills would still benefit me at work.
Learning a language, coding, sewing, repair skills … all of these are worthy pursuits that can help you down the road.
My mom taught me to sew when I was a kid. I can’t follow a pattern for the life of me, but I can sew on a button and fix a small hole. Yesterday, I fixed the lining on a glove that came loose.
I won’t get rich sewing on buttons, but with a tight budget, being able to repair clothes makes a difference.
The next time you come home from work, try to spend twenty minutes learning a new skill. Youtube has instructions for just about everything. So do online forums, where you can ask a question and get an answer quickly.
Your extra hours now are credits or debits toward your future. Use them wisely, and your future self will thank you.