About the Wiser Next Week Series: These entries will involve posting my book, Wiser Next Week, chapter by chapter, freely available to the public. Additionally, I’ll be recounting a story about something I’ve learned based on the chapter’s topic since the months that have past when the book was published in December 2018.
Growing up in San Francisco, California I was privileged, very privileged. I had plenty of food, a roof over my head, cable TV, internet access. I was born and raised in the States, a privileged my mom never failed to remind me of.
I had most all the material possessions that a middle class family has, minus the car, eating out and high end gadgets. Once in a while I would crave these things but they were little more then passing fancies.
And I’m grateful for my parents for providing these comforts during my upbringing.
One thing that was glaringly lacking was travel. And I’m not talking anything big, I remember during childhood too much time sitting around at home with a family walk through the park being a rarity.
And I read that in childhood, if a baby is deprived of breastfeeding they are more likely to develop an oral fixation and pick up smoking. Suppose I’m that way in terms of seeing the world. I know this wanderlust will be with me when I’m young until I’m old and gray.
The Look Down the Hallway Test
So when I was still an accountant last year in Reno, NV, I did a little exercise that Taylor Pearson in The End of Jobs describes as the “Look Down the Hallway Test”
Observe someone 5 years ahead of you on the path you’ve chosen. Is their situation something you would want? Does it excite you?
Pearson explains that after doing this activity, if you would like to have what that person has, pay attention to their daily activities and analyze how it got them to where they are now. If you don’t want what they got, time for a pivot.
I used this exercise with the other staffers in my accounting firm that were in their mid-late twenties. And the answer was a clear, “No.” Of course I only knew them on a professional level and not a personal one. Based on that analysis, I was not willing to pay the price to get what they have.
You’ll Still Want it When You’re Old, Grayed, With A Decayed Body
And I knew that the desires I had would still be with me when I’m old. The key difference was that right now in my 20’s my earning potential is low because I don’t have the skills nor experience society values. What I do have is the freedom from major responsibilities such as
That would keep me tethered to one location. As a person gets older, it is a natural and healthy thing (I think) to have the after-mentioned. And at an older age, not only would you have these large obligations keeping you in place, your body begins to decay as well further impeding mobility.
So I recognized the privilege I had of putting 100% of my efforts towards going after dreams and 0% on responsibilities.
That’s what I got from the Look Down the Hallway Test. One of the older staffers in my old accounting firm summed it up best during our farewell to one another on my last day as an accountant,
Here is the “On Regrets” chapter of Wiser Next Week. Take it and implement it into your own life.