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You actually have a crystal ball that lets you look 10 years in the future

Ramit Sethi

If you had a crystal ball that would show you your life in 20 years, would you look in it?

crystalball“Ramit, you are getting better looking every year”

 

You might be surprised to know that we all have a crystal ball exactly like this.

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Recently, when I went to my 10-year Stanford reunion, I hung out with an older friend. While we were grabbing drinks, I asked him what was different about his 20-year reunion vs. how people had been at their 10-year reunion.

He laid out the differences between people at their 10-year and 20-year reunion:

  • At 10 years, you started to see certain people’s careers taking off, while others were still looking for what they really wanted to do. At 20 years, the gap between the two was stark.
  • At 10 years out of college, people were highly career focused. Some people were beginning to have children, but not the majority. At 20 years, most had begun to focus on their families. (In later ages, at least in Indian culture, lots of people begin to turn to spirituality.)
  • 10 years out was all about the future, the promise of what was coming. At 20 years, as my friend put it, “you kinda know where you stand. It is what it is.”

Do you see what I’m saying?

You have the crystal ball of your future right in front of you — people who are 10 to 20 years older than you.

As much as we like to believe we’re different than everyone else, odds are, we will end up very much like the people who came before us.

This makes people uncomfortable. We like to believe we’re special snowflakes: ‘Oh hell no, I’m never going to end up like HIM…I’m not going to work a boring 9-5 job, get buried in mortgage debt with 2.5 kids and a white picket-fence, and be happy with a few beers on the weekend.”

I’m different! I’m special!

Are you, though?

It’s one thing to say, “I don’t want to be like that guy Fred who does the same job as me and has been doing it for 40 years.”

It’s easy to say what you DON’T want to do.

It’s harder to take unconventional choices — sometimes risky choices — to end up with a Rich Life.

Doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and start a life coaching business or doggie daycare, you nut jobs.

But you can give yourself the option of amazing, unconventional choices as long as you have a Tripod of Stability, or a few things that are always stable, in your life.

Let me give you a couple of simple examples:

We all have morning routines we do every day, day after day. Does your routine prime you for a productive, positive day or drag you down with stress and complaints?

We’re all going to eat dinner. Do you have a system in place to make sure you’re eating something delicious and healthy, or do you wait until you’re starving and end up grabbing a bag of chips?

Simple, but easy to forget. And the results are massive — positive or negative.

We’re going to talk about this over the next few days. And we’re going to start off with one of the most conventional choices around — your job.

Yes, YOUR JOB!

97% of us have a job, but it’s so obvious and conventional that we forgot how big an impact it has on our lives. Plus, there’s a difference between a job and a dream job — something you wake up to excitedly, walk into the office knowing you’re the best at what you do, and make a huge impact.

Not to mention being paid what you deserve.

Is your job just a job? One where, when someone asks you what you do, you look down and say, “I work in marketing” (‘boring’).

Or do you have a dream job that makes you jump out of bed every morning? Where people are amazed that someone even has that job?

Your job is one of the easiest areas where you can make small but unconventional changes that have a dramatic result on the quality and freedom in your life.

It’s become unpopular to talk about jobs, since everyone thinks they’re the next Steve Jobs. People even spit as they talk about “9-5” jobs. Give me a break.

In fact, as I’ll show you, finding your dream job can actually open up new opportunities that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

So, to start, just comment below and let me know:

  • 10 years from now, what does AMAZING SUCCESS look like?
  • Also, 10 years from now, what would a MEDIOCRE LIFE look like? Think about the people you know who are 10 years older than you. Remember, my not-special snowflakes, unless you do something different, you will end up in their situation.

Just comment below.

This is the year of MORE. I’m going to show you how to get more in every part of your life. And now we’re talking about your job.

-Ramit

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106 Comments

 
  1. JJ

    1) 10 Years Amazing Success:
    The small side startup I began 10 years ago has grown into something much bigger and better than I ever thought possible. It’s helping people change the course of their lives forever. The hard work invested there allows me the freedom to work when and how I want, while still contributing tremendous value to the world.

    2) 10 Years Mediocre Life:
    Still doing what I’ve always done. Working too much, not enough time with the family. No real payoff from all the work I’m doing.

  2. Denny Bulcao

    1. Saving 50% of my income so I can retire at 45.
    2. Being “normal”, saving 10-15% and retiring at 55+.

  3. Charity

    1) 10 Years Amazing Success:
    I’ve transitioned well into a new life in a different place, dug myself out of student loan debt and have purchased a home. I have found myself. I have learned to trust my abilities rather than doubt them. My writing career has taken off and is sustainable, and I have the freedom and privilege of being my own boss and running our household/raising our kids. We get to travel often, as a family and as a couple, without the need for credit cards (accruing debt).

    2) 10 Years Mediocre Life:
    I’ve stayed on job paths I don’t care about/am not passionate about because I need the money to pay the bills. We’re still paying rent. We’re struggling to juggle our professional careers with our home lives and don’t have enough time to devote to our children because we “have to” work. We are enslaved by our debts and are not able to travel. We live stress-filled lives and feel “stuck.”

  4. Em

    1. Amazing: Singing 50% of my productive time, solo and ensembles, favorite music/new music. I’m on the way.
    Work to allow this, the other 50%, working with individuals or companies to get organized then set systems in place to help them function effectively. Have begun on this, but much further to go.
    2. Mediocre – continue with self-employment where I want to be doing something different and need to make more $$.

  5. Tiffany

    In 2004, the power went out in the office and a colleague asked me what I wanted to be doing in ten years.

    It’s 2015 and here I am, doing exactly what I described.

    Amazing Success! By 2025, I will have visited all of the continents except Antarctica. I will have visited at least five national parks that I have not seen as of today. I hope to have traveled across Canada in some sort of wheeled vehicle. I will have maintained strong relationships with my career mentors, and I will mentor or have mentored young educators myself.

    Mediocrity means surrendering to fear, sacrificing relationships for a paycheck, and (in my opinion) staying in one place. I haven’t succumbed yet, and I don’t plan to.

  6. bert shensky

    if you start the day with Sheryl Sandberg’s question ” what would you do if you weren’t afraid ” the future becomes a lot more exciting . It won’t be the same because we are continuously bombarded with change: :
    Similarly Wayne Gretzky says , ” You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

    oil prices , race relations, the internet , foreign affairs, layoffs , family excitement and change to name a few current ones . Learning flexibility , adaptation and acceptance can go a long way in changing the what seems inevitable .Y
    .

  7. YOHAMI

    1) 10 Years Amazing Success:

    A billion dollars in savings, leading different teams, creating my own products.

    2) 10 Years Mediocre Life:

    A million dollars in savings, breaking my back to help other people get rich.

  8. Genevieve

    I am 10 years out of college, with 2 beautiful children and a mediocre career. In fact, I just got passed up for a dream job that would have gotten my family on track (though I’d rather be home with my children, we aren’t there yet). Working on Zero 2 Launch with my husband right now, but it is hard! I wish I had started all of this 10 years ago, for sure.

    • Raghav

      We start from where we are Genevieve. It’s great that you decided to take action and join ZTL. The life of more begins from today. Keep at it!

  9. Aman

    10 years Amazing Success

    Not just working at a job but creating something that could leave a lasting difference in someone else’s life. Learning how to create massive value in the market place. Growing spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally. Being financially free.

    10 years Mediocre life
    Having little to no progress. Settling and abandoning my goals. Passing the time through mindless entertainment. Being average. Having more excuses than results. Being overweight and alone.

  10. An

    amazing success:
    Have a platform with honest writing, some books, some videos, email subscribers, interviews, YouTube channel, etc.
    Be an insights professional for a forward-thinking market research firm
    Be working on causes and topics that are important to me, like help for gifted individuals with chronic illness, gifted education, internalized discrimination in chronic illness, fraud in certain illnesses
    Basically be part of a larger dialogue, in an increasing way

  11. Dave

    Ok first off, I’m going to say that this post made me feel very uncomfortable. I realized that while I totally respect people’s choices (or lack of choices) in life, I seriously do not want to be “normal.”

    But more importantly, I do indeed see myself having a family (as a focal point) in that 10 year timespan, it bothered me to think that this would somehow be just like everyone else and somehow self-fulfilling.

    So, thanks for the opportunity to define what amazing success would be like, even through that lens:

    10 YEAR AMAZING SUCCESS:
    – Earning a great salary, working for a business that I part-own and that takes me to exciting locations around the world. My housing and financial situations are comfortable and secure, and my lifestyle is such that I can focus my time with my (eventual) wife and kids to be high-quality and fulfilling.

    10 YEAR MEDIOCRE:
    – Working 9-5 at an interesting company with limited opportunity for growth or flexibility. Coming home to (a well-loved) family each day is stressful and I’m always tired. Basically how I feel now but without the sense of hope for the future 😛

  12. melbird

    Awesome 10 years:
    Get paid to work in parrot conservation. Have a side business commissioning anthropomorphized dinosaur drawings. Travel a ton.

    So-so 10 years:
    Work for the government or a shitty university, work on parrot conservation in my free time. Draw dinosaurs on the side for my own pleasure. Travel some.

  13. Lisa

    10 years amazing success – I don’t work for the man anymore. I provide project management/consulting services on my own time, my own schedule, my own boss. And my husband and I are out of student loan debt (thank you overly priced private college).

    10 years mediocre – I work in the same place as I do now, doing the same job, just like my 59 year old coworker. He has had the same job for 30 years (exactly what I do as a 28 year old engineer), and literally has sat in the same seat for 30 years. I am fearful I will become complacent and become him!

    • Lisa

      I meant to write project management/schedule analysis consulting. Very specific idea, I just need to get there!

  14. marcus

    10 Year Amazing Success:
    becoming a highly sought-out copywriter and conversion optimizer. Financial stable and debt-free. Living/working abroad 3-6 months of the year

    10 Year Mediocre:
    still working a 9-5 job that doesn’t pay enough and still being more than $10,000 in debt (mortgage, LOCs, and credit cards). Having to work extra hours just to make enough money.

  15. Jill

    My situation’s a little different, as I’m an actor.

    10 Year Amazing Success:
    Have worked steadily in regional and Off-Broadway theatre, as well as independent films. Making all of my income from acting projects. In a position to consider leaving NYC to work at a regional theatre year-round and start a family.

    10 Year Mediocre:
    Exactly where I am now: little money in savings and my Roth IRA, working ~5 jobs to pay for my theatre career, definitely no money to start a family.

  16. akbar

    10 years amazing success
    Having multiple businesses that generates millions of income, having so many times to spend with my wife and 2 or 3 children, travel a lot as family. Begin my own charity foundation, open kitchen and scholarship foundation.

    10 years mediocre success
    Still working at the same stressful place, simply to get by with life, leaving my family for 6 month and only spent time 2 month in a year with them. And simply waiting what will break me first, my backbreaking job or the fact that I will have to lived far away from my family for 6 month.

  17. Steve M

    10 Years Amazing Success: I am a multimedia journalist telling stories that help people. I am able to earn a comfortable salary that allows me to be debt free, keep my business gear and skills up to date and save for retirement – my financial foundation is finally solid. I am asked to speak and give presentations about my work. I teach and mentor people who want to do similar work. I have a network of people, comprised of family, friends, clients, people I’ve covered, people I’ve helped and students whom I regularly interact with and draw inspiration and energy from. I have found my partner in crime and we are creating and living the life we want. I have lived overseas for a time. I have helped Arafat attend college in the US.

    10 Years Mediocre: I am still working jobs that pay me far too little. My freelance photography business continues to sputter along. I have a partner who I’m fine with, but not excited and thrilled and amazed with. I have not lived overseas. I still rent a place to live which I do not like. I haven’t learned another language simply because I didn’t put in the time. I have people who love and admire me and think what I’m doing is great – but deep down I know I never lived up to my own potential. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to do that.

  18. Christos Derdas

    Awesome:Chief Technology Officer of one of the big 5 in composite material systems
    Mediocre : Leadership in a Global engineering centre

  19. Vickie

    I’m a 27 year old Canadian woman. I’ll be married this summer and my day job is as a biochemist at a children’s hospital. In a nutshell, I look at kid’s blood/urine and determine if they’re got a metabolic disease or not. There are a lot of aspects of my job that I love. I never work weekends or evenings and I get all major holidays off. I get 4.5 weeks vacation, which will continue to increase the longer I stay here. I make about 15k more than the median Canadian FAMILY alone. And I work with a core group of funny, friendly people who I actually want to hang out with outside of work hours. So I’m already a lot luckier than many of my peers and just other people in general.

    But here’s the major negative with my job. I can’t advance without a PhD. I will never be in charge and although my pay/vacation will increase over time, I’m going to be doing the same thing… for however long I want to be doing it. Some of my fellow laboratory workers have worked here 25 years. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But to be honest, that scares the hell out of me.

    Ramit, you are 100% right about the crystal ball. I could easily become my older coworkers. So that’s why I’m trying to stop that now. I’m in ZTL and I want to be in CHARGE and running my own business. I want to become successful enough that I can quit my day job. I know this process won’t happen right away but I’m trusting the system so far and I’m confident that i will reach a point where I can quit my day job within about two years.

    So what would my AMAZING SUCCESS story look like in ten years?

    I have my own successful business that is making double to triple the amount what I’m making at my current job. Because I work for myself, my hours and location are flexible. I don’t have to schedule my vacation like I do now. I want to take that last minute trip to Japan? I do.

    I will have at least one child but no more than two. I don’t care about houses or cars so I would be 100% happy to be in the house I am in now.

    My husband is also happy with his job and is either working for himself (he’s closely watching my current ZTL progress and is intrigued) or has landed his dream job. For his job or own business, he also is in control of his own hours, meaning we can go out on weekdays or make it to events with the kids.

    Okay now. So let’s look at my mediocre life in ten years.

    I’m still working at the hospital from Monday-Friday. Sure, my pay/vacation has gone up. But I’m not working for myself and I see myself withering away. I probably have a kid but I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I like since my hours and vacation are inflexible. I live for the weekends. My husband is also working at a similar job and isn’t truly happy with what he’s doing. We continue on like this until we retire.

  20. Frank attere

    1. My incremental steps towards personal freedom (i work where i want when i want) are realized. I’m traveling with my family and being compensated for the great value I’ve created through my various streams of passive income.

    2. I’m working for a company everyday doing something I’m good at but not having any freedom to do the things i love and spend time with the people i love. NIGHTMARE!

  21. Zach

    In 10 years, I’ll be 35.

    10 years amazing success:

    I have a dream job. I’m the best at what I do, I make an impact, and I really believe in the mission of my company. I have some mentors I can call anytime. I also work with people I like.

    Outside of work, I’m the best at what I do making some type of art… music, cartoons, a blog. Something that’s gotten some outside traction and I’m building a mini empire. I have an audience and it’s amazing.

    10 years mediocrity:

    I’m working a boring job in marketing, and hanging out with the wrong people. Meaning, I’m pressured to go out and drink, or I can’t resonate with the people in my social circle. I never got enough income (via a dream job) or high-ticket clients to pay for private tutors and develop my skills in my 20s. I don’t have enough income to relax and focus on exercise, my social life. I’m still on the hamster wheel of debt.

  22. Ian E

    Amazing success would be becoming a real free man. I am my own boss, no need permission on anything like holidays, raise, and etc. Don’t feel like working for 2 weeks? No problem! My money works for me.

    Mediocre life would be worrying about if (specific grocery item) is on sale which happen to be a long drive. So, I waste precious hours to get there just to save a couple of bucks. Then, patting myself in the back for it.

  23. Krishna

    Excellent question Ramit !!!

    10yr Amazing success- I guess one should definitely have a vision plan and that’s fun of life ! For me, amazing success is putting in your best efforts for noble cause which add value to people lives irrespective of the results, spending quality time with family and friends along with personal growth which enhance your value in all ways !

    10yr mediocre success- just get satisfied with the things the way they are, accepting others reality as yours without challenging it, doing it according to the way others think not keeping your originality !

  24. Michael

    1. Set up a lucrative business that I can automate and stop worrying about the bills while I focus on my photography. Side hobby: create more exciting, fun and meaningful businesses and projects.

    2. Same old struggle and unsatisfactory existence.

  25. Travis

    1. Amazing: Build my business back up to $3MM+/yr. Become financially independent so I can pick and choose which projects to work on. Sell my house (which I own free-and-clear) and become location independent. Partner with interesting people and create new businesses. Travel quite often. My current business is in the travel industry, so I get to stay in 4-5 star all inclusive resorts for free/very cheap. I need to take better advantage of this.

    2. Mediocre (well, Terrible): Become the guy in the cubicle next to me. He is 62 (30 years older than me), and has been working at the same place for 27 years. He is married, has 8 (EIGHT!) kids and diabetes and he is still eating himself to death. He had stents put in around Christmas, had an issue last week with blood clots, and the doctors told him next time it will be a bypass. He still refuses to change his eating habits. He has saved up so much vacation time and sick hours that he loses some each year (over 1,200 hours!), yet he doesn’t care. He would rather be in the office than be at home. He doesn’t travel anywhere since he has no money (again, 8 kids). Please don’t let that be me in 30 years…

    My business was doing great up through 2009. It got hit hard in 2010 and I was never really able to recover. After a few years of struggling along, I took this job to give me a stable income while still running my business as a side gig. Funny thing is after I took this job, business started to pick back up. So far this year the business has made me an extra ~$20,000 in profit. Not too bad for 2.5 months. Gotta keep the momentum going so I can get back on the “Amazing” path.

  26. Leslie

    1). 10 years amazing success: grown our brand to a global player in the paints and coatings industry with 5-10% marketshare; corporation is an example of people, planet, profits and one of the happiest, well-run companies in the world; happy family that travels for work and play; family is multi-lingual; houses in multi-locations to accommodate business and personal needs and pleasure; enough leisure time to do whatever I want; all material needs met; and created an enterprise or non-profit to spread good and happiness throughout the world.

    2). 10 years mediocre: not an option.

  27. ramas

    to live comfortably and afford college for my daughter ..shopping and restaurants and nice things.

    or I’ll live check to check still struggling to get out of dept.

  28. Karthik

    10 years amazing success

    Reaching my genetic potential in terms of building muscle.
    Having multiple businesses that would have generated an aggregate of 10 million dollars and help me sustain a remote lifestyle.
    My current business would have served its purpose and improved the agro industry and they way crops are grown, ultimately increasing the efficiency of the agro industry and making huge profits on its way.
    Read atleast 500 books. Write one best selling book.
    Work abroad in atleast 5 countries.
    Ask the love of my life to marry me and travel with her to 15 countries at least.
    Have couple of kids and enjoy time with them.
    Buy a beautiful house for parents.
    Start an animal shelter.

    10 years mediocre success

    Have a decent functioning body that still needs a lot of improvement. Moderate success with my current side business. Rise up the ranks to a manager in the corporate job I am in and look to become the Sr Manager. Marry the love of my life and spend times with kids and my dog and watch movies and tv shows to kill time.
    Go on a vacation , largely domestically and occasionally abroad. Have internal questions everyday as to what am I doing with this pretentious corporate job and if I was meant to do other things.

  29. Manny

    10 year amazing job: lots of international travel, highly sought after innovation consultant. Financially free.

    10 year mediocre: riding the train/bus/driving into an office in a dingy suit hoping I don’t get canned for being “older” >45.

  30. Ian

    1) Out of debt and traveling frequently

    2) Still in debt. working the same jobs with no assets

  31. Ingimar Bjarni

    Awesome: Writing and directing full time, preferably with my own production company churning out high quality movies and plays. Still have amazing relationships to my mates and wonderful family, starting my own. Volunteering for good causes and organizations and helping people be more creative.
    Mediocre: Working a office job while writing on the side. Getting my occasional kick from traveling.

  32. Juan

    Amazing Succes: Don’t have any student loan and have the chance to travel and buy the things I want.

    Mediocre Life: Working in a place that doesn¿t make me feel good abput what I am doing

  33. Danny

    1. 10 Years from now: Have an overarching effect on 1,000s of kids through influencing their school curriculums, sport teams and after school programs.
    Will have been a part of multiple disruptive teams who were successful in their massively transformative objective.
    Will be providing financial guidance to young adults, working to set them up for a life of financial independence and abundance.
    My car’s os will be driving me everywhere. I’ll never control another steering wheel again, unless I want to.

    2. Wondering gig to gig, with nothing tangible to show for it. Not believing in myself enough to attack huge problems or areas of concern that I am passionate about. Having to take my finances into high consideration anytime I’m making an investment.

  34. Barbara

    Amazing Success: Writing horror novels and earning enough to live without worry, and send my son to the college of his choice.

    Mediocre Life: Working customer service for people I don’t like, in a hotel in a crappy part of town in a state that I can’t stand.

  35. Louise

    In ten years I will be 36 and I will be more vibrant, have more energy and more “success” than I’d ever imagined possible for myself. I will have a thriving practice of over 30 regular clients that come to me to heal, to get back into their bodies and to touch base with THEMSELVES. I have paid off all debt and will continue building my Roth so that when I’m 50 I can build my dream home and live somewhere tropical.

    My office will be busy five days and week with clients who look forward to my work and with whom my work is in an integral part of who they have become. They look forward to getting work from me and come to me because of the relationship with have built and the reliability and consistency that they have grown to love.

    I am a licensed massage therapist and Reiki practitioner but in ten years I will be a birthing coach/midwife and women will seek my assistance and coaching from many miles away. With the money I made from my career in the Massage therapy industry I will easily pay for schooling for myself and buy a small eco-friendly home in a place that I love. My new career will compliment my lifestyle and I will continue going on one vacation per year to a different foreign country that interests me.

    Life for the next ten years sounds pretty awesome when this is what I have to look forward to.

  36. Crystal Matthew

    1) Curating a brand that I care deeply about. Leading a team of designers, art directors, photographers and writers to build something truly amazing that has an impact — not only on the day-to-day lives of the individuals that the brand touches, but on the historical record of 21st century design.

    2) Art directing work on a product or a service that doesn’t matter to me. Working for a paycheck. Working on a team that is unmotivated, apathetic and uninspired.

  37. David

    10 years from now, AMAZING SUCCESS looks like my wife and I picking up our 2+ kids (number yet to be defined) from school and going to the sports-field nearby to hit a baseball, kick a soccer ball, or throw a football to celebrate the completion of week of school for them, and a week of work for us. We will get to share our biggest successes and challenges from the week and how we plan to set ourselves up for greater accomplishments the coming week. When the sun gets too low in the sky to see well, we will go home and cook a dinner to eat together as we keep talking. After dinner, we may wrap up some homework/studying, or read before going to bed.

    A MEDIOCRE LIFE would look sadly typical. My wife and I would get home from work exhausted from the week. I’d pick up pizza for us on the drive home. We’d open the door to see 1.5 kids watching a TV show my parents would have never allowed me to watch, but we’d just slump beside them, open the pizza-box, and eat in silence. We’d quietly go to sleep when we were too tired to stay on the couch, and wake up with a groggy headache to an alarm the next day.

    I have every intention of avoiding the MEDIOCRE life by setting up systems now to make an active and participatory lifestyle habits, and finding things to celebrate every day from where I invest my workday.

  38. Chelsea

    Amazing success in 10 years = Having a business based off my blog, and making some serious bank from that. And/or being one of those insanely highly-paid freelance writers / content consultants because I’m just that good at what I do.

    Mediocre success in 10 years = Earning somewhere in the $50k per year range from my freelance writing business.

  39. Taylor

    1. For me AMAZING SUCCESS would be the ability to travel the world. I can work from anywhere, the comfort of my home or in a entirely different country. I am close to all of my family. I am healthy and fit. I have the confidence to do anything I wish to attempt.

    2. A MEDIOCRE LIFE would be me sitting behind a desk or in a cubicle, dressed up and miserable. It would be me not doing anything with my life, constantly daydreaming of a different life and wishing I had the confidence to break away. It would be me going home exhausted not wanting to spend time with my family. I would also never travel anywhere.

  40. chris

    1. Traveling when & where I want. Giving to charity helping my oppressed brothers & sisters in Christ. Content.

    2. Twenty year man, retired, fixed income. Content. Still able to help.

  41. Ben Myslenski

    Amazing Success: Owning the largest website for weight loss in the world while helping change millions of peoples lives. Waking up every day and feeling like I make a huge difference in peoples lives.

    Mediocre Life: Still letting my own fear of failure control me and working in two jobs that I really enjoy but not having the impact that I want to make in the world.

    I am currently the most sought after trainer at my gym and I work at an incredibly successful tech company but I really have had a burning desire to help more people since I was a kid but fear has held me back. Even now it feels uncomfortable writing this.

  42. mpatel

    Successful: bright eyed loving there jobs. A few doctors I have meet in the past. They had a vital force of life. You could see (in posture/body language), and hear there excitement. I was left with the feeling of that same excitement, and joy of life.

    Mediocre: parents who are alive, but are filled with regret.

  43. Pardeep Clair

    10 Year Success Plan: CEO of a company that works with Human Relations. My true love is learning what I am really capable of, the more I learn about myself, I see a direct correlation of how I influence the people around me. Being CEO of this company, I am living, breathing what I love. I am the think tank, working with people I respect. Sweet success is working in synergy with those that work for me.

    10 Year No Success Plan: Don’t follow my dream to lead.

  44. Bukka

    10 years from now, AMAZING SUCCESS looks like me having left working a “job” year ago and only working for my own businesses, having a home base, and my family happy!

    Also, 10 years from now, a MEDIOCRE LIFE would look like still working for the man, still struggling financially, not having my home base, and not having the freedom to travel as I please.

    If at any point my core family is not intact, that is a CRAPPY LIFE.

  45. Vince

    You’re SO right, Ramit. When you talk about “not disqualifying yourself” and having to try new things to get new results, it’s SO true! I’ve been checking myself from thinking negatively about my abilities and instead saying “What can I do to eliminate any doubts about my abilities?” Then, I actually do those things. I’ve got a GREAT job now that I would have never thought that I was qualified for just a few months ago.

    As far as your question goes, a great life would be having the ability to focus on the things that I want to (personally and professionally) without having to worry about money issues or routine, boring work and micromanaging.

    A mediocre life would be a life where I didn’t have to worry about money, but I was stuck doing a job that I didn’t love in order to make a paycheck. I don’t want to wake up every morning dreading my job (even if it pays what I want).

  46. Chris Yeh

    Ha, I remember having that conversation! I’m glad it was helpful (and that it sparked some insights for your students).

    –Chris “The Aged Asian Sage” Yeh

  47. E

    Ten years ago I had finished high school with no direction. I picked myself up, started a job with promise, and completed and associates degree. never thought I would eventually move to New York doing the things I’ve done. But after ten years, I now have student debt and once again, that feeling of a spinning compass.

    In ten years, I would like to be debt free. I wake up everyday knowing I’ve made money in my sleep through acquisitions, maybe property that has been lucrative. I make breakfast for my kids and wife and have time to dot all i’s and cross all t’s so everyone is healthy and happy.

    The latter would be working a 1:1 work ratio. For instance, I work x amount of hours and my income is just that. I have little job security while my friends are buying boats.

  48. Mike

    In ten years I’ll be 45.

    Success: Doing work that has a positive impact on poor and vulnerable people around the world. Fluent in Spanish. MBA from Kellogg or Booth. Making over $100,000 a year. Pulling together all of my interests and skills in order to help others live happier lives.

    Failure: Working mainly for a paycheck. Not developing all of my talents. Making less than $70,000 a year. Working for a company whose values and mission I don’t respect.

    Ramit, listen, I’ve only being reading your content for a couple months, but I can’t thank you enough for how much you’ve helped me. I’m very indebted to you.

  49. Laura Lou

    In 10 years I’ll be 32, and I’d like to be pretty much set by then. So…

    1) My amazing life would be having got a PhD in around 2019, I now live in California with my now boyfriend/future husband. I’m working as a senior structural designer at one of the major aerospace companies in Palmdale. We own our home outright (which has a super awesome swimming pool and a walk in wardrobe), and we own a couple more in the area that we rent out. Maybe I’ll have a pet sloth and 50 cats….

    2) My mediocre life would be that I’ve got my PhD (that’s kinda a given) but I never made the plunge and moved to the US. I’ll probably be up in Lancashire analysing structures for BAE Systems that someone else has designed or I’ll be making wings for Airliners down in Bristol. Maybe I’ll have a house on a housing estate and a couple of cats but nowhere near the 50 that I want….

  50. Jamie Cornell

    1. Helping other realize their own potential and live a life envisioned for themselves. Being the bridge to their chasm. And allowing this career support myself and future family financially.

    2. Staring at a computer screen all day, calling a 100 people a day and having scheduled breaks. Or telling someone, “I sell insurance.”

  51. Caroline

    Amazing success: the woman who owns my company. Granted, she’s been in the game for longer than I’ve been alive, but, owning her own business, employing the best in the industry, being the company that the biggest names come to when they need a job done. (That being said, just being part of this company and being paid decently to do what I love is a dream job.)

    Mediocre life: not doing something that I adore. Getting paid chump change to do something just to make ends meet, and having to depend upon others to keep my head above water. For that matter, going back to the beginning, jumping from underpaid slave summer stock jobs to soul-crushing underfunded regional theatre, where what money they have goes towards getting a big name or two but not paying their bread and butter workers a living wage. (Yup, been here too. It was a very small step above working at a high-end grocery store, being looked down upon by the rich a-holes who drove over the state line to overpay for their produce.)

  52. Milena

    Awesome life: having passive income and financial independence, being published and seen, being an idea machine. Having a family

    Mediocre life: Working 9-5 and being exhausted and miserable, spending all the time and energy on other people’s goals and wishes. Having a family

  53. Cyprien

    what about you Ramit ?

    Will you continue to inspire people to become successful in 10 years ?
    (I hope so~~)

    Thanks for this insight into the future, we all have to think about it !

  54. drprashant

    i am earning enough to sustain my family .I and my friend have startedside business of making videos for youtube and its almost 1 year 8 month and yet to take off.I write script for the animation and my artist friend brings life to my story through animation.Both want to be debt free and earn enough to make more good videos for youtube in the long run.

  55. Kaysher

    Dream Life: Living a life that will inspire people to achieve more from their lives
    Mediocre Life: Living only for myself and my family, caring only to my interest

  56. Howard

    Hi, my 10 years of success : having at least $ 500k in saving account, one or two houses for rent, have time for enjoying life with my family and raising my kids while dont have to worry about job any more. I will be my own boss.
    Mediocre life: still get frustrated life between work & family, and beg for salary raise to feed the family.

  57. Terri C

    10 year dream: CIO in state or federal govt., but prefer a coastal state. Or government director for Cisco, EMC, VMWare, etc. Respected and seen as the “go to guy” by the business unit leaders. Time and money to travel internationally. Learn to manage my energy bursts so I don’t spend weekends in recovery, but am creative 7 days a week. An inspiration and great example to my adult children so they will live their biggest, best life.

    Scary thought: Stuck in middle management and irrelevant. Unable to inspire my adult children. Struggling financially. No fun.

  58. anteliuc

    10 yrs ago I was at secondary school,but now am a clinical officer in district hospital.
    10 yrs dream I want to be rich man at least to make $100000 per year.

  59. Nick

    2005 was my senior year in highschool. I didn’t even know I would be able to get any form of higher degree, let alone that my life would be as successful as it is now. If someone would have told me it would be like this, I would have said “No way, that’s impossible.”.

    2025 Amazing success: I have found a job where I can always strive for improvement and never fall back to doing the minimum. I have always kept learning and have cultivated the ability to stand up for what I believe in. I don’t keep quiet anymore out of fear of conflict. I hold experiences to a much higher esteem than material wealth and I’m successfully passing on these values to my kids. I earn enough money that I do not have to worry about any material needs but still have a healthy work/life balance.

    2025 Mediocre life: I have changed jobs a few times and have accepted that the grass isn’t greener on the other side and I don’t have the ability to change anything. I might as well cope with how it is. It’s not so bad after all, is it? I’m quietly enduring frustrations and have moments of not taking things seriously anymore.

  60. Al

    2025 amazing success: No matter if I am in a big corporation or small startup, the job I have has been designed by me, and gives me the appropriate revenue and flexibility so as to never feel any constraint. I have started a huge family project (1 year traveling with the husband and kids for ex, or decided to settle in a different country) and I have found genuine inner peace. I have had time to develop an artistic talent (music or dance) and became an expert in a field at work. I am an inspiration for my friends, family and people around me for my energy and positive vibes.

    2025 mediocre success: I am still not sure where I am going, or how to get where I want to. My positions have evolved slowly in the same company I have always been, and didn’t give me the chance to change my life at all (in terms of schedule, earnings, or place of living). I am an average person both in my life and job, in the sense that I haven’t accomplished anything special. I am not an entrepreneur of my life

  61. Ned

    Hmm good article. 10 years later, lets see. Still learning and growing. I am a better communicator. But not yet in my dream job. A few sprinkles here and there but not yet where i want to be. On vacation now and having the time of my life. Dreading to go back to the 9 to 5. Opportunity is out there and I will find it….

  62. Robert

    To me it’s simple:

    10 Years from now – AMAZING SUCCESS – is where I am excited to work everyday and more importantly excited to help other people out whether they’re equal colleagues, clients, or new employees.

    10 Years from now – MEDIOCRE – is where I’m complacent and my routine is to “get through the day.”

  63. Avery

    First comment on the blog but long time reader. I just joined the brain trust. I am excited to grow exponentially this year. Thanks for the continued wonderful content, Ramit.

    10 year amazing life:
    I’m earning $250,000+ a year and this figure is only growing. I know myself well, but am still always intrigued to explore the psyche and improve. I am a fountain of easy creativity, happiness, and have an aura of success and uplifting-ness to those who surround me.

    I am happy, healthy, fit and feel great in my own body. I love to exercise, eat healthy and can cook for myself. I am filled with a sense of fulfillment but still an incredible hunger to keep growing, improving and helping others.

    I understand fluently how to create my own success, reach goals and network and make friends like the back of my hand. I am a known and respected player in the music industry as a provider of exceptionally high quality productions. I have other extremely well known strong players in my phone and we frequently talk to discuss music, hang out and chat business.

    I have a constantly growing and respectable following for the productions I do for others and myself. I have more incredible and inspiring projects offered to me than I can handle and I have to turn projects down, making me even more of a luxury solution. I have won several more awards. I collaborate with wonderful, hard working people and write for majors and accomplished self-made indies on request.

    Both my music licensing business and sound design service business are now earning on more or less complete autopilot and they provide a more than comfortable level of income to pursue whatever else I’d like. I have placed music in massive budget media campaigns and sold sounds to some of the most respected artists.

    I have a personal assistant, customer service specialist, PR manager and perhaps a few other wonderful people I have hired for my team and personal life as I grow. I study under some of the most respected and talented names in music.

    I have created a life of freedom. I earn enough on autopilot to afford a rich life and give back to those around me. I am free to pursue and flow creatively in any way I like. I can travel anywhere I like and help my partners life happily in their older age.

    I am living my dream and aware of it. And I’m still smiling every day as I strive to excel even more

    10 year average life:
    I am earning $80,000 a year. I am still working hard, but making it work. I have some great contacts and have worked on some great projects but they don’t come as often as I’d like. I still work without an assistant. My businesses are doing well but still require more upkeep than I’d like and are still building up earnings. I am comfortable, happy, but still working towards my amazing life.

  64. Jenny

    10 years from now I will be 36…

    AMAZING SUCCESS
    I am comfortably running my own business in wedding stationery working from a home office with my own printing presses and jumping out of bed in the morning desperate to get started like I do with my freelance work now. This allows me to lunch with friends, manage my own time and raise a child comfortably.

    MEDIOCRE LIFE
    I still job hop trying to find a job I love but most likely commuted for 45min+ to it everyday or even worse I am still work where I am now with a minimal payrise and still no challenging work. I still spend most my free time doing design work I actually enjoy meaning I’m not as social as I could be and my husband feels ignored more than ever or I have a child which takes up all my time and means I dont even have the opportunity to enjoy designing any more.

  65. Michael

    AWESOME: I’ll own the innovation consulting company I work at now. We’ll have transformed transformed our services in order to deliver even more awesome value to our clients and therefore get paid much better.

    MEDIOCRE: I’ll still work 8-5 and come home when my kids are already sleeping.

  66. Brian @ Debtless in Texas

    1. Success means working from home and being my own boss. No more traffic, no more corporate life, and no more cubicles. I think it means truly being happy with what you are doing.

    2. Mediocrity is still working the same dead end job and not having any ambition for more. It is trading time for money and being miserable all while spending money you dont have on things you don’t need.

  67. Ishma Alam

    1.AMAZING LIFE: Working at a company I always dreamt of and also doing an MBA from a top-notch college.Finding my true love and getting married to him and be the mother of two children.I will be earning 100000+ and will be travelling worldwide.I will be living in a big house with a pool.I will be recognized not only for my office work but also as a side by side famous and popular writer.And my husband will be a top CEO CFO or something like that.My life will be really exciting.
    2.MEDIOCRE LIFE: Still will have a job but it won’t be a job I like.I will be doing the same thing everyday.Still will be married (of course!) but we won’t be a very happy one,maybe 1 child.Will be earning less than 70000,and will be living in a rented house.My writing career won’t be launched at all due to over pressurizing work and family life.My last foreign visit will be a 3 day honeymoon to Mexico without any beach.Relations with colleagues and family members will be worsening.Overall it will be and exhausting ,tired,boring and a NORMAL life.

  68. Jason

    1) Amazing Life: In 10 years I will be just past 50 so I hope to be totally debt free, which includes our mortgage. My wife and I will have started our family. We are getting a very late start in life, but we would love to have children. I will have written two more books. Have over 1 million dollars in investable assets and maybe move into a new phase of my career, although I love what I do now

    2) Mediocre life: Still paying off debt, no children, living paycheck to paycheck and just stuck doing the same thing in my current position.

  69. Barbara

    10 years from now: my amazing success would be to be financially independent. Pay off the debts of my family completely. Keep travelling and seeing more of the world. Living and loving life.

    Mediocre life: In debt and miserable at a job that you have to do.

  70. Mr. Enchumbao

    I enjoyed reading this post, very thought provoking. An amazingly successful life to me looks a little different than now. I’m glad that my wife and I are doing things differently to get us there. We have 9-5 jobs but we’re aggressive savers with a plan for short corporate careers. A regular day 10 years from now would look like this: work for 3 hours on things that I enjoy, spend the rest of the time learning new things, traveling, teaching our children and helping others. We do have that crystal ball!

  71. Mr. Enchumbao

    A mediocre life 10 years from now wouldn’t look bad at all because of the changes we already made to live a more meaningful life: debt free, substantial investments, doing meaningful things that makes us happy, free from consumerism…

  72. garv suri

    Success
    Happiness in life, contentment in heart. Having no regrets and fearless attitude for turning dreams into reality.
    Mediocrity:
    Fear of failure. Regrets of not taking actions in life

  73. Harrison

    10 years from now an amazing life looks like this: having a ton of money from working hard when I was young and able to and from making the right choices financially so that I am debt free and 100% financially set so I can do the things I want to do whenever I want to do them and never worry about anything. Basically it looks like tons of money, a big net worth, and freedom to do whatever I want.

    A mediocre life looks like this: married with kids and a low paying job where I have to answer to a boss day in and day out and go home to my house that I would still be making payments on for the next 5-20 years because I have a mortgage and am credit poor because I tried to do too many things all at one time. Basically it looks like bob in the corner cubicle who got married and had kids shortly after and had to buy a house for his family and max his credit cards out and spend the next 30-45 years struggling to pay off his debts because of interest etc. and won’t have any time to enjoy his freedom from it if he ever achieves it before he dies.

  74. Anita

    10 years from now an amazing life looks like a passionate one. I am raising 50 million dollars for social justice issues that matter to me. I am traveling with the family and alone. more and more everyday the house is a safe and healing haven for me and my family. I save money and I spend money. I am very healthy and extremely happy. I glow and others want to be a part of it. I am serene and compassionate while not hesitating to get things done even the hard ones.

  75. Michelle

    A successful life to me is one where I’m working for myself. I’m debt-free, able to travel frequently, own my own home, provide for my family, and I don’t worry about money.
    A mediocre life looks like I’m still working full-time doing a job I’m not happy with but it pays the bills. I can’t always travel and forget about owning my home because no matter how hard I work, I can’t put away more because I’m a salary employee. Basically, what I’m living right now. haha.

  76. Aminah

    AMAZING SUCCESS
    In 10 years, I will be 45 y/o! I would like to have the following life by then. Overall, I would like to feel content, inspired and at peace with where I am.

    FINANCES
    -Student loans paid off
    -At least $100,000 in investments
    -I have 2 streams of income:
    1) My online business (satisfied and exhilarated by the work that I’m doing)
    2) My rental property (for which I have already saved a hefty downpayment)

    LIFE
    -A happy marriage and 1 or 2 happy and well-adjusted children
    -Supportive friendships
    -Excellent health

    WORK
    -Satisfied, and making a difference with the work that I’m doing. Work that allows me to be who I am, be creative, and not soul stifling.
    -Partnering with like-minded souls.
    -Ability to travel frequently and work from different locations.
    -Making $75,000-$100,000 from my business.

    MEDIOCRE LIFE

    -Working for the government, sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights for 10 hours a day. Or pushing papers for a non-profit.
    – 2 weeks of vacation per year 🙁 Just awful.
    -The feeling of not being in control of my own time/not feeling free.
    -Feeling tired and drained at the end of each day.
    -Feel as though there is not enough time or energy for the people and things that matter most.
    -Uninspired and drained.
    -Filling the void in my life by buying “stuff”.
    -Consumer debt and student loans.

  77. Petrice

    Amazing Success:
    -A millionaire
    -Student loans 100% paid off
    -Retirement plan funds in place
    -Spacious, comfortable home
    – Two luxury vehicles
    -Working a job that I love; not overworked and stressed.
    -My kids have premium-quality education
    -Making a difference in the community/ my country

    MEDIOCRE:
    – Living from pay check to pay check
    – A job that’s cool but not that great OR worse yet, sitting at home with no job at all.
    – NOT making a difference in my community
    – Emotionally and spiritually numb/ disconnected
    – Still paying off student loans
    – Driving a 2010 vehicle
    – Renting OR owning a home that needs lots of improvements that I cannot afford. Yet I’m simply overjoyed that my family even has a roof over our heads- despite the fact that it’s leaking, breaking, outdated, and falling apart!:(

    This has been a great exercise! Now I have a clearer view of what I want for myself.

  78. Jonathon Burnett

    Ten Years of Success `27 Years of age by then
    My Amazing Goal:
    Working as either dentist, computer engineer/cyber security expert/automotive detail specialist or a self-employed entrepreneur.
    *Making a very comfortable income of 60,000USD + 80,000 preferable’ more is better.
    *Knowing that I love what I do and seeing the amazing results in my own work.
    *A secure financial situation, I always grew up with the worry about having enough money or not.
    *By the age of 28 finding the woman that I feel comfortable bearing my own children, starting a family and giving back to my parents for all they did for me.
    *NO DEBT, Cars paid off, Mortgage paid off in less than 7 years, substantial savings and early retirement start.
    *Travel all over the world, drive many different makes of cars, make youtube videos, produce music, have fun!

    Mediocre Goal:
    *Having a fully fixed and reliable car both mechanically, aesthetically & functionally (And it’s fast :D)
    *Being the co-owner of my father’s HVAC business (Developing one year from now) and being able to be as good as him, know what he knows, and become better.
    *Having a moderate savings, emergency fund and a early substantial retirement stash.
    *Working in any of the fields listed above or doing the Dental Assisting job I will have after my internship is complete this summer.
    *Finding something that gives me a reason in life and maybe finding a woman to wife up.
    *Taking over my parents house or renting an apartment.

  79. David Weisberger

    Amazing: COO. Living in Berlin. Travel at will, which would really be 1-2 special trips each year to places we’ve always wanted to see. Have long since retired my wife to spend her time the way she wishes. Own everything we have, no loans. Kids can attend the schools of their choosing, even if they don’t dominate scholarship applications like Ramit. Have a regular personal trainer. Really do not care how often we want to hire a babysitter. Have started our family foundation / nonprofit. Proficient hobby video editor.

    Not so amazing: Have a decent, well-paying job. So does my wife. Save money every month. House with a backyard. Sit on a couple of local non-profit jobs.

    We’ve made huge strides in the past couple of years toward financial security and eliminating the tension caused by living with a tight income and a tight budget. The amazing iteration would be spending our time the way we want.

  80. Farzam

    well then, if it’s gonna be the best: I’m gonna invest in myself to educate and then i can be noble, starting my own architectural firm and then expand it with another parallel contractor office both run privately, the worst in this situation is this that i can not guarantee my independence from my clients in 3 years!

    mediocre will be when i have lower income and social respect than a doctor ! it’s the awful one! but if my own doesn’t go right then i need to learn from experts like u how to expand every thing i have!

  81. Henri

    Amazing success:
    – I am able to earn my living as a private investor without any outside income. Perhaps work on the side in an extremely interesting job I am passionate about. Travelling around the world and always learning new in different hobbies (skydiving, scubadiving, biking, gymnastics, etc.)

    Mediocre success:
    – A somewhat uninteresting 9-5 job with not enough savings to be able to afford living as a private investor. Hardly enough free time for travelling or actively practising sports

  82. Dupont

    AMAZING in 10 years:
    1) I am a financially-viable, 200% independent, owner of a business that is sound and established
    2) I can flip through the pages of GQ and can buy any of the clothes and items on it, without having to look at the price and tell myself that they are out of my reach
    3) No need to worry about finding the cash to pay the Annual Tax Bill
    4) Able to allow my wife to work on the non-profit ventures that she likes &/or to quit her job any time she needs a break
    5) Skiiing at Switzerland with my family every Christmas
    6) Shopping at SIHH & BaselWorld!!!

    MEDIOCRE in 10 years:
    1) Continue to worry about Job Securities like I did in the past 3 years
    2) Continue to be forced working with (and to get frustrated by) “Senior Executives” in the same company who are more clueless than “the Plastics” in “Mean Girls”
    3) Worry about not being able to catch up with trends demanded by the industry and the world
    4) Cannot afford to bring my child to visit as many places across the world as my father tried his very best to do when I was a kid: He is a firm believer of this Chinese Proverb: “Instead of reading 10,000 books, walk 10,000 miles (to enrich your knowledge of the world).”
    5) Continue working on an unfulfilling, non-revenue generating role with a “sizeable” company

  83. Krystian

    1. Amazing Success:
    having a online biz that allows me to work when I want and how I want. impactinig other people’s lifes. People trust me and reads/listens my work. I have time to raise my kids and spend valuable time with my wife. Also buying a boat and sail on the local waters. Helping my parents to have the decent retirement in health and happiness.

    2. Mediocre:
    IT specialist in my corp. Sitting on my ass 8 hours a day. having back ache and barelly see with my eyes, due to long computer hours work – DAMN THAT SUCKS!

  84. Henrique

    Hi Ramit. I’ve been following you since 2012. Your techniques helped me raise my salary 500% since then. Yes, that much. You’ve helped me get my dream job. You’ve teached me how to wow clients. Then I quit, and got a big salary and a leadership position in another company. I was happy for a while. Now I’m sad, everyday. I’m not happy working in a corporate environment. I want to spend time with my family. I feel lost, I don’t know what the next step is. How do I grow from here?

  85. Alex

    Optimal 10-Year Position: Running my own online business, generating an income of at least $200,000/year. Working 20 hours/week. Having the money and flexibility to travel when I want, where I want, with my family (probably ~1 week every other month). Married to my current partner with 2 children and a big dog. Healthy, with less than 20% body fat. Relaxed.

    Sub-par 10-Year Position: Still working as a finance analyst, wishing I was actually in the above scenario. Crying because I don’t have the time to do what I want to do, or the time to spend with my loved ones. Still too poor to afford kids, still too afraid to get married & live the life of my dreams.

  86. Shannon

    MEDIOCRE LIFE:
    -working for corporate
    -rushing to pick up the kids who then scream and yell the whole ride home while I get more stressed/feel like a bad parent
    -then rushing to make a healthy family meal (but more realistically getting a lot of frozen/to go food)
    -then rushing to attend to personal emails, leisure time
    -most importantly, not having a fulfilling marriage with my husband
    -tired, drained, and don’t feel good in a bikini
    -worried about being able to live a luxurious retirement
    -staring at a screen all day
    -answering to a boss and asking permission for vacation (UGH)

    AMAZING LIFE!
    -have an incredibly deep and satisfying marriage with my husband. our marriage comes first, before the kids, and we have a harmonious family
    -we all live by a mission statement and actually fulfill our goals
    -feel and look great in a bikini
    -feel light, vibrant, and healthy. waking up with a smile on my face
    -cooking healthy and satisfying meals is routine
    -traveling internationally at *least* once a year. no worries about buying first class seats.
    -PASSIVE INCOME that covers our cost of living! This is why I’m taking ZTL!
    -diversified portfolio (i’d like to learn about owning real estate, i only know stocks)
    -happy, healthy kids who are able to communicate honestly and freely with their parents
    -husband doesn’t work crazy hours, isn’t stressed

  87. John

    Life is about focus and efficiency. The older you get the more refined you (should) become. I imagine a streamlined life where everything I ever wanted has already been attained and I am giving back to less fortunate people…

  88. Cecil Horton

    10 years down the road successfully looks like I have a net worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars and am a world-renowned philanthropist, business consultant and real estate developer.

    I don’t necessarily want to grasp what the mediocre life looks like because I don’t focus on that which those around me are doing, rather just the continual growth and development of myself. But in my head, a mediocre life 10 years down the road looks like I’m a deca-millionaire with monthly residual/passive income in the hundreds of thousands and am not able to affect the lives of those I wish to aid on as grandeur of a scale.

  89. Samir Patnaik

    10 years Amazing Success :
    I am an explorer, adventurer and seeker at heart. I would be traveling, exploring and learning about new cultures, languages, spiritual traditions. cuisines, art, literature and music. I would be living off the grid for months, searching for meaning of my existence. I would be tasting all that money can buy and be open to the subtle nuances of life that money can’t buy.

    I would be doing extreme adventure sports : Proximity Flying, Base Jumping, Mountain Biking, Canoeing, Extreme Motorsports and everything else. I want to feel alive. It is at the edge of life, on the face of death, that the true force of being alive is known.

    I would be working with brightest minds of the planet on developing products, technologies, ideas and concepts that the world would never have experienced before. Cutting Edge. Futuristic. My laboratory would be a sangam; a place of communion for science,art and magic.

    10 years Mediocrity:
    I would be wallowing in my obese and morose lifestyle. I would be stuck in a boring 9-5 deskjob, daydreaming what my life would have been if I had the courage to take risks and face my non-existent fears and obstacles.

  90. Olly

    I have no idea…

    I currently work as a production manager (in marketing events) a job I fell into after dropping out of university 10 years ago. I worked for the same company for 8 years and was under appreciated and under paid (and in debt) Came across Tim Ferriss and then yourself over the past couple of years and now have an appreciation of there being another way to do life…

    I left my job and went out freelance last summer, which worked great, straight into a better role for lots more money. Doing exactly what I had been doing before. I got engaged too.

    So I find myself with a life now as a freelancer, who could go anyway he wants. Only I have no interest in going out and looking for new work, apart from the need to pay the rent (Doing my job never fills me with excitement or joy). I have no structure to my daily life at present, I’ve fallen out of love with exercise, I know how to eat healthy, but dont. I have no idea what I want to do with myself (I often try the “If I were a millionaire, what would i do day to day?” and come up with blanks)
    So I am a 35 year old, with a fiancee, credit card debt, no motivation, no direction and no idea…

    Ok offload complete and sense probably not made, the ramblings of an odd ball possibly… am I the only person out here who has these particular issues?

    Ramit it would be interesting if you read this, to see what your take is on someone who avidly reads/listens to all that you and your contemporarys put out, but has no idea what to do with the information?

  91. Shar behzadian

    Amazing success is to be extremely good in 3 different fields and well informed in 2-3 industries that I am working and will be working now and next ten years. Own two automated established businesses that monetize my spiritual traveling, and adventures. Success to me is to be free and able to wake up to a new adventure everyday, while being fulfilled by having accomplished an automated business concept that improves lives and helps people achieve their goals.

    I am on my way there, but mediocrity in 10 years is to live only in a bigger house in the same country/city that i am living now, hanging out with the same people, being specialized in only one field of work, and not being free to take off anywhere i wanna go.

  92. Amy

    Ten Years Amazing Success:

    An international touring artist, writing songs for myself and for others, living in London or some other place of my choice, helping others advance in the music industry as opening acts, co-writers, teaching master classes, etc. Being invited to speak at my alma mater, Berklee College of Music. Have my own signature guitar by Fender. Since I would more or less create my own schedule, be able to go skiing, sailing, and rock climbing in far-off lands on a moment’s notice. Possibly live abroad as a Fulbright Scholar for one year before all of this happens.

    Ten Years Mediocre Success:

    Living in a Boston suburb teaching guitar lessons to local kids through someone else’s school (not independently), making good money but constantly having to combat the thoughts of “woulda, coulda, shoulda.” Playing cover songs at bars a few times a month. Settling.

    I had been lackadaisical the past 18 months with my music. Now, after Ramit and Mark’s Hell Week, I’m back on track and it feels great! It’s not easy, but it’s beyond worth it. It’s a slog for sure sometimes, but I’d rather be in discomfort for a little while and achieve my goals than be comfortable and have a mediocre life.

  93. Omar

    Amazing success in 2025: I have a very high financial I.Q. in that I have achieved awesome levels of financial freedom via a variety of assets that I own, control and manage with the help of my team. My lifestyle consists of attending all types of business, investing related workshops, courses and seminars and traveling experiences for fun and leisure. I am also an awesome role model for others in that I teach what lessons and insights I have learned throughout my life’s journey. I’m also growing in the area of personal development and spirituality as well. Last but not least I have become the number ONE most successful student of I Will Teach You To Be Rich principles of all time!!!!

    Mediocre success in 2025: I am collecting my “skimpy” pension from my 10 years of gruel and grind working in a can plant in NJ including waiting for Social Security and Medicare to kick in…(yeah right!!!!). Probably depending on some “Mickey Mouse” security job to fill in the gaps in my personal financial budget hoping I could save enough for an occasional cheap cruise vacation once a year until I cannot physical slave for money anymore. All while living in some restricted affordable housing complex spending most of my time reading newspapers and watching T.V. all damn day!!!! Great!!! What a life!!!! ):

  94. Emily

    Ten Years Amazing Success
    -Financially independent; frequent traveler who gets to go wherever whenever with my family; working on a few projects or topics which really get me excited, all whose ultimate purpose is helping someone else find and live a better life; able to be there for my friends or my family whenever the needs arises because my work is location independent

    Ten Years Mediocrity
    -Stuck in a career path dictated by someone else. Still having to show up and produce on someone else’s schedule to meet their ultimate needs. Unable to take even my two week vacations without the requirement of checking email every 24 hours. Stressed pretty consistently because “I have to work” and find doing so interferes with the time I’d rather be working on something fun and rewarding with my family.

  95. Steven Richmond

    I think the biggest problem people have with high school reunions is that they use others’ actions, and not their own, as a barometer for success. Sure, there’ll be the one guy who’s raking in six figures with with the fancy mansion, huge family and the whole nine yards. But even if you don’t have that, who cares? Was that life for you? Were your experiences and abilities leading to that?

    I think people get dismayed not because they don’t share his success, but because they don’t share his confidence. It’s a matter of defining competition appropriately — you’re not competing against others, you’re competing against yourself.

  96. Darell

    A) 10 Years (Amazing Success):
    To be financially-independent, free to travel wherever and whenever I want to, and have a RICH life in every way (passive income, relationships, experiences). To be able to “hack” my own life and improve myself constantly along the way, dictate my own schedule and automate work/financial/life systems such that I would only have to spend a minimum number of hours/week on it (aka “the 4-Hour Workday”). To be able to add value and contribute largely to the world by being the best I can in my field – and spending every day of my life feeling productive, fulfilled and energized.

    B) 10 Years (A Mediocre Life)
    I’m terrified of ending up as a “yes-man” in a soulless, “golden-handcuffed” corporate job and of being stuck in a cycle of laziness and contentment. My greatest fear is waking up in horror one day and realizing that I just wasted a good chunk of my life and that I would die with lots of regret for things I said I would do but did not follow through.

  97. Doe

    10 years
    Amazing success…
    In my mid-30s, married, have benefits and save & invest 20% of my income. All student loan debt paid off. Own a stable, successful business selling made-to-order lingerie and silk dresses I sew myself. Graduate of a local fashion school. Some of my pieces have been featured in magazines and one was worn by Lana Del Rey for a photoshoot. Thriving blog with weekly sew-a-longs.

    Mediocre life….
    Continue working at a 9 to 5 job with no flexibility to work from home, cramming my sewing into 1 hour increments during the weekends, and still dreaming about doing a fashion course I cannot afford (due to student loan debt from my master’s program). Can only save and invest 10% of my income. Work is a dead, colorless place, and the more I work there, the more my personal life loses color.

  98. JK

    1)completely paying off my student loans, having my own business, and being free to save my money for something meaningful and live abroad.
    2)be stuck in a mediocre job paying me just enough to get by and realizing I’ll still be paying off my student loans for the next 20 years.

  99. Kuldeep

    SUCCESS: 10 years from now, for me
    1. My morning starts at 5am or before, meditation in the morning, water and protein shake, good nutritious breakfast full of protein, reading something that connects me to my core, daily.
    2. Living in a great house with my parents and spouse and seeing their faces in the morning instead of checking my mobile. My own car to commute to my workplace
    3. My work
    – that best incorporates my talents and abilities and brings good benefits to thousands of people.
    – Freedom to work from anywhere
    – No night shifts
    4. Read a book every week and draw a portrait every week.
    5. Gym in the evening
    6. Supper with family, on time, and sleep before midnight.

    MEDIOCRE LIFE: Sorry Ramit, can’t focus on that for now!

  100. Debarpan

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  101. JP Morgan

    Amazing success in 10 years for me looks like having the ability to make decisions based on want, not need. Having a group of friends who actually give a shit about me and seeing me as an accomplished man, not just a wandering entrepreneur. Being able to travel without feeling like I need to be back home doing something else, no worries. Having made a difference in people’s lives and being thanked in person for it.

    A mediocre 10 years from now, wondering why my debt never got any smaller. Wondering if I still have any real friends left. Feeling trapped by my work and not having any satisfaction in life, but just getting by. A mediocre life is exactly where I am today. Knowing in my heart I was meant to do more but asking what every day.

  102. GS

    AMAZING SUCCESS
    Have a business that doesn’t require a full time effort from me and pays more than enough to live on (still figuring out the details of this!).
    Own my own home in a nice area with enough room to store everything, enough room to work and a kitchen big enough to cook in.
    Son getting ready to go off to University, me getting ready to go off and live in Paris or Spain for a while.
    It would be nice to be married or at least have been on a date once in the 10 years or at the very least spending more time with my friends since I won’t need a babysitter any more!).

    MEDIOCRE LIFE (not so much mediocre as horrendous)

    Carry on as I am making only enough money to get me through the month (if I’m lucky) despite having a Masters degree.
    Still being a single parent but instead of being a 30 year old single parent who hasn’t been on a date in 7 years I will be a 40 year old single parent who hasn’t been on a date in 17 years.
    Still living in the same mould infested rented hell-hole that I live in at the moment, in the same depressing area that I hate.

    I really can’t let myself stay on the mediocre path!

  103. JB

    10yr amazing life:
    Financial security isn’t even an issue I have to think about. My business brings in enough residual income to free me to live my passion: traveling the world making a difference and helping people. Natural health options have changed the face of global heathcare and I got in on the ground floor. I succeeded in changing the world and spreading health, happiness, and freedom.

    10yr mediocre life:
    I wasted all my money on stupid crap, I wasted all my time being afraid, and I’m still trying to get my nerve up to do the things that will truly lead to an amazing life.

  104. Natalie

    “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” LOVE this quote.
    Sometimes all you need is just to take the first step.