Mickey in black T-shirt looking into camera. Text overlay: "What if today is the day you change everything?"

What If?

View over valley from summit of Mt Willard in Hart's Location, NH
View from Mt Willard in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

What if you weren’t competing with younger, better-looking people for younger audiences, because you’re not targeting that audience in the first place? What if you who are reading this aren’t an anomaly? What if there are other people in your same stage of life looking through scads of stories of young entrepreneurs and feeling like you missed the boat to possible success long ago? Here’s another crazy notion: What if there are young people who actually value an older perspective?

There are a myriad of sayings, cliches, platitudes, bromides, and fantastic quotes about how much time you have and when things can be accomplished.

  • Here’s one: “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.”
  • Here’s another: “Night school will take five years! I’ll be fifty by the time I get out! So…how old will you be in five years if you don’t go to night school?”
  • Or this one: “No time like the present.”

There’s a million of them, and every one of them is true—but it doesn’t matter how true they are, does it? It only matters that you believe it.

Look back at what you were doing two years ago—Five years ago. Have you moved or grown significantly since then? Was it five years of 2.5% raises while inflation crests 8%? Maybe you got a promotion in there somewhere, giving you a sweet 12% bump. Did you really feel that? Did it change your life?

Success is not guaranteed—nor is failure. Mediocrity, on the other hand, you can bet, bank, and bond upon.

There is nothing so sure as the damning certainty of an average life.

Mickey in red shorts and navy tanktop, wearing backpack, looking out over valley. Text overlay: "There is nothing so sure as the damning certainty of an average life. Change Your Trajectory"
It’s easy to get what you’ve always got.

What if you could look back at yourself five years from now? What do you want to look back on? Five more piecemeal raises entirely eclipsed by inflation and maybe a layoff scare or two? Or would you rather make this the moment you changed the trajectory of your life?

Be exceptional, and don’t allow your past—or your present—to decide your future.

Take that on your own self.

If you could go back in time and tell yourself to make a change—buy a stock, ask out that girl, take that job, make that move, partner in that business—would you do it? Well listen, because what you’re reading right now is yourself from the future, and he’s begging you to make your life—yourself—something that you love living, that you can’t wait to get out of bed for, that is rich and varied and full of everything you’ve ever dreamed of. What’s more, you’ll discover new dreams that you never even knew were possible.

Life hasn’t passed you by, and you’re not stuck. You are so much more than you realize. You only need to start, and the first step is giving yourself permission to be more. It’s not an overnight change—those aren’t real. You don’t go from being Al Bundy to Elon Musk just by telling yourself, “I’m worth it,” but once you start moving yourself toward something—instead of treading water—you’ll start believing that it’s possible. That you—that you are possible.

That’s what I needed to hear, and maybe I’m not the only one getting a visit from my future self.

My journey

I wanted to be an actor. My family talked me out of it, and for the last twenty-five years, I’ve been in tech: help desk, system administrator, database administrator, computer programmer, consultant, instructor, manager. For most of that time, I’d look longingly at television shows and movies, wishing I could be there doing that. I used to regret taking the Path Well-Traveled, but regrets are a waste of energy, and besides:

Those choices have brought me here.

After a great deal of reflection and soul-searching, I realized that I may have been having a “grass is greener” moment—stretched out into decades. It may well be that if I had gone down the path where I became an actor, that I would have lamented that decision at some point, unhappy that my entire life was getting paid to pretend I’m someone else. On the other hand, I may well have loved it, but that’s why regrets waste your time and energy: You have NO CLUE whether making that change would have actually improved your life.

More importantly, there is no past. It does not exist. I wasted hundreds of irreplaceable hours of my life wallowing in self-pity over decisions that I made years ago, when I could have been using all that time—any of that time—and that squandered energy to be a hell of a lot more productive and closer to something I could love.

What if, five years ago, I had started this very project I’m creating right now? How many articles could I have written? How many books could I have published? How many videos would I have created? How many lives could I have touched? How many people could I have helped and entertained? How is this going to look and sound in five years? I am genuinely excited to find out.

I look around and see people happy, creating, and living—and wishing I could do what they do. It turns out the only thing stopping me, was me.

So, how about you?

What if you started today?

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