What’s Next?

Around 14 years ago, I defended my doctoral dissertation and acquired my Ph.D. It was a monumental milestone in my life; something I had been working toward for 10 years.

Those kind of achievements are pretty spectacular, and leave you feeling very proud. Surprisingly, the feeling is only temporary. Indeed, people other than myself forgot about it pretty quickly. Life moves on.

This left an empty feeling inside. With my increased interest in self improvement, productivity, and personal philosophy, I began to truly understand what that emptiness was back in 2005. For the mindset I was in at the time, I followed the correct path to overcome by giving myself more challenges.

What’s next for you? Is there something that you are working toward, something that you are wanting to obtain?

There are several things I would like to obtain. Some of these may take less than a year, while some will take more than 10. Here are a few.

  • Become an ASA (Associate of the Society of Actuaries)
  • Obtain a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu
  • Become fluent in Norwegian, Spanish, German, and French
  • Be able to play the guitar like a rock star

Indeed, as I described in The Power of a Daily Affirmation, I write down these goals each morning three times in a little notebook. The act of writing them down each morning prepares me to fight the resistance I face each day. You know, that inner voice that says, “Wouldn’t you rather watch another episode of Stranger Things 3?”

Yes, I actually want to someday become an FSA (Fellow of the Society of Actuaries) and obtain a black belt in jiu jitsu, but I write something that is attainable in a (hopefully) shorter term intending that it will keep me on track. So far, it has worked pretty well.

You can receive no higher recommendation from me than to identify a few answers of “What’s next?”, and then to write them down each day until you finally do something about it. I wrote “I want to be able to play the guitar like a rock star” for a week or two before finally asking someone if I could borrow their unused guitar for a while. It was another week before I asked someone what they recommended in terms of learning the guitar. Another month went by before I purchased my own guitar.

The act of writing it down everyday finally got me thinking, “am I writing this just to write it, or am I going to do something about it?”

That was over a year ago. I’m only a year into becoming a rock star someday. You could be a year or 5 away from being something pretty spectacular yourself. What might that be?

2 thoughts on “What’s Next?

    1. I highly recommend it. I think 10 was recommended somewhere in my readings, but I thought that was overkill. More than once is important, to drill it in each morning. I like 3, because it is by that point you forget more about the act of writing by that time and more on what you’re writing, and what you’re doing or going to do about it.


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