A half-baked thought came into my head the other day and I wanted to dwell on it (fully bake the thought) in this post. This may be one of the more important things I write in my lifetime (for me, at least).
Like usual, I’m thinking long-term. I don’t know if that’s something I do too much, but in hindsight when I make long-term decisions instead of short term decisions it typically works out for the better.
The thought was this: “I’m turning 30 this upcoming year. What am I going to work on until I am 80?”
In other words: What am I going to work on for the next 50 years of my life?
Why this question matters to me
I want to get to the end of my life and feel as if I had taken advantage of the opportunities given to me and used my time, skills, and talents to bring value to others.
I want to build a legacy that is honorable and respectable. Something that impacts others positively, lasts well beyond me, and leaves a path that others can follow.
I want to play long-term games with long-term people. I want to build a network of friends, colleagues, and fellow builders that will provide value for me and my family long into my old age. This is something you can only do if you stick around in an industry for a long time and don’t jump around from thing to thing.
To me, this question highlights what truly matters in my life and what I can bring to the table as an individual. If I am thinking about what I can be working on for the next 50 years, I’m not thinking about “get rich quick schemes”. I’m not thinking about maximizing every transaction. I’m thinking about the value I can provide for others long-term.
This question assumes a lot. First of all, it assumes I’ll make it to 80 years old. If all goes well, that’s the goal. Second, it assumes that what I am working on won’t change over time. Third, it assumes that I’ll be physically able to do this work for 50 years.
I see myself always working on something in the future. Who knows, maybe when I get to be 60 years old I will have had enough of working and move on to other things, like doing stuff with my grand kids or travelling the world.
But if I observe the older people in my life right now - they have a lot of time on their hands. I don’t think they’re particularly wasting their time, but there’s only so much time you can spend with family and friends, and there’s a significant amount of time that you’ll spend alone.
And so, I can reasonably say, if I make it that far in life, there will always be time to work on something.
And no, I will not work my life away. I am not a workaholic. I spend roughly 4 to 5 hours working per day. But during that time I am incredibly focused and productive, which is much more than the traditional employee “working” 8 hours per day.
A large part of my legacy will be the family that I build and raise. I will do it all with my wife by my side.
So, what will I be working on?
I don’t think it’s just one thing specifically. I think it will be a few things, continuously.
If I were to expand in the directions that I am currently traveling, I think my work would split like this:
- SaaS (products & companies)
- Crypto (investments, products & companies)
- Writing (books, content, etc.)
- Electronic Hardware (processor design, electronic products, etc.)
- Music (production, performance, composing)
At the end of my life, I would like to have written several books, created several successful companies, produced & performed several albums of music, and invested well to build wealth for my future generations. All that, plus having raised incredible children, and maintained a healthy and thriving marriage.
That, to me, would be a life that is not only reasonable for me to do, but is also full of what I am already doing. I think this post would be different if I was unhappily employed, or currently in a stressful life situation. But I’m not. I have deliberately chosen the life that I live now, and it’s great. I don’t want it to change.
I’m currently working on my own SaaS product, and it’s something that’s quite valuable to my customers. It delivers real results for them, increasing their incomes and giving them time back. I can see myself continuing to build software automation in the future, and delivering that value to people. I can see building software as a large part of the next 50 years of my life.
I’m actively invested in and pursuing cryptocurrency technology. I view it as one of the most significant shifts in the internet since the creation of the internet. It gives accessible financial products to anyone in the world, and can dramatically increase the quality of life of almost anyone on the planet. This is not something to be taken lightly, and I do think it will be a large part of the next 50 years of my life.
I’m currently writing blog posts on my blog, Tweeting on Twitter, and actively writing a book outlining how I used SEO marketing to grow my SaaS product. I write a ~500 word note to my wife every weekday morning. I write to think, and I write to know what I am thinking. Writing is my way of outputting and communicating what’s in my head to other people. I like to document the things I am working on, and document the journey so I can look back and see how far I have come. I can 100% see writing as a large part of the next 50 years of my life.
Music is something that is near and dear to my heart, and it has always been a dream of mine to produce music. I played instruments my entire childhood, and have been involved in some aspect of playing music my entire life. It is a form of art and communication that is core to every human being, and it’s something that has long-term potential. Music will not become irrelevant in the next 50 years. I’m not 100% sure how, but I do see music as a small part of the next 50 years of my life.
The only thing on that list that I am not actively doing now is electronics hardware - though I am desperate to do more. I feel it’s something incredibly valuable and relevant for the next 50 years. All software is connected through hardware. Someone has to build the future of hardware. I have a bachelors degree in electrical engineering - which technically isn’t an indication of skills per say, but it’s an inclination that it’s something I’m highly interested in. The problem with this interest, is that it’s much more capital intensive than the other interests. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to produce music. It costs nothing to write. Code is free. Crypto has a pretty low barrier to entry. But, to try and start a hardware company from scratch is no small task. I’m not 100% sure how, but I see hardware as being an important small part of the next 50 years of my life.
Other aspects of my life
Now, as I mentioned above, my work only accounts for ~4 to 5 hours of every day. What will the next 50 years of my life look like everywhere else in my life?
The other areas of my life that will always be relevant are as follows:
- Wife / spouse
- Kids / family
- Faith / religion
- Fitness / health
Assuming nothing catastrophic happens, all of these things will remain and be important for the next 50 years of my life. Not only that, but all of these things are mostly within my control.
If I am a loving husband and invest quality time and energy into my wife, she will want to be with me and we can continue to develop an everlasting marriage that grows in quality over time.
If I am a loving father and instruct my children to be wise, knowledgeable, strong, and kind, then I know I will have a long, lasting, and great relationship with my children (and my children’s children) in the future.
If I continue to read the Word of God, the Bible, every day, continue to go to church and actively participate in a community of like-minded believers, and continue to spend time praying to God and meditating on the word, then my faith will not waver in the next 50 years. The more I learn, the more I read, and the more I spend time on my faith, I continue to grow into a person that is honorable and better than I was before. This is something that will always be relevant to me.
If I am not healthy, both physically and mentally, then I will not be able to do any of the things mentioned above. Therefore, fitness and health take a very high priority in the ranking of things that will matter for the next 50 years of my life.
The cost of having it all
Actively fulfilling all of these personal facets of life, plus the work related paths I will take, will generate a full and happy life for me. I personally know that it will require a lot of me, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
If you want to be— Jordan O'Connor (@jdnoc) November 15, 2021
a great parent
and a great spouse
and a great friend
and greatly skilled
and physically healthy
and mentally healthy
and spiritually healthy
and full of happiness
and full of love
You're going to have to work harder than everyone you know.
I will need to remain focused, patient, and active in my pursuits of a full life. I will need to prune away any distractions, relationships, and habits that prevent me from moving forward in all of these areas of my life.
I don’t know why I am ambitious. I don’t know why I want all of these things. I don’t want to be famous. I don’t really care about being rich. I don’t need more than I already have.
However, I have been given an opportunity, a life, that many people would do almost anything to have. And that is not something that I take lightly. I have a responsibility to use my time, skills, talents, and knowledge to give back to others.
The takeaway for you
What are some things in your life that will never change? What unique skills, talents, desires, and interests do you have that you can use to give back to others? What’s so important in your life that it will always be relevant?
Focus on these things, and invest in these things over time. Watch your life turn into everything you desired, and more.