In about a month, I will turn 45 years old.
On the one hand, it’s hard to believe I’ve been alive that long. On the other hand, it feels about right for the amount of experiences I have had.
I can clearly remember how I felt at age 20, age 30, and at age 40.
At 20 years old, I felt innocent, angry, and scared of the world.
At 30 years old, I felt worldly, excited, and open to experiences.
At 40 years old, I felt aware, resilient, and had a clear sense of my identity.
At all those landmark birthdays, I also felt a strong sense of motivation to achieve big goals and become a better version of myself.
But at 45, something feels like it is different.
A Change In Motivation
If I am honest, there is something missing in my motivation. It’s definitely not as strong or as clear as it once was.
I am still on track in my life and feel like I am proud of the person I have become. But looking forward to what’s next, I am not as excited or as driven as I once was.
Perhaps this is what it means to feel ‘middle-aged.’ Your inner desires aren’t burning as bright as they once did. Or maybe it is the fact that I have a lot of my needs and desires met, and I am content.
Either way, as I reach the age of 45, it’s time to shift the way I live and work to a different type of goal.
Self-Actualization and Transcendence
Over the past year, I have read a lot of psychology books. I don’t know why the topic has fascinated me, but I seem to want to better understand the science behind why I think, feel, and behave as I do.
Of course, the most impactful psychology for me has been that of Abraham Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs. The concept resonates with me, and as I have fulfilled one level of need, another higher-level need has emerged.
I think the first 45 years of my life were focused on creating security, love and belonging, and a sense of self-esteem. I can honestly say that I have those needs met for myself personally. And I am incredibly grateful for all the good and bad experiences that led me here.
Now, as I move into the second half of my life, I feel a need to focus on self-actualization and transcendence. This is a fancy psychology-speak way of saying I want to work on myself and give back to others through my efforts, skills, and talents.
Discovering My Cause
A few months ago, when I was traveling in Australia, I was listening to Simon Sinek’s audiobook, The Infinite Game. In one chapter, he talked about having a ‘Just Cause’ that you fight for and want to commit your life to.
All of a sudden, as I listened, I had a moment of clarity. I wrote this down:
My cause is to offer insight and encouragement to people on the path of improving themselves and their world.
That was the most succinct way that I could define what I love to do. I sat with this sentence for a few days, and it still seemed to ring true. Today, a few months later, I believe it even more.
This clarity around my cause has led me to think deeply about what I want to do with the second half of my life.
Now, as I get closer to turning 45 years old, I am starting to understand what I want my goal and focus to be.
Impact Times One Million
One of my lofty goals over the past few years has been to hit one million subscribers on Youtube. If I am honest, I began making Youtube videos and figured it would be an awesome way to make money and increase my fame.
But as I have worked increasingly hard on creating Youtube videos over the past few years, I have realized that very few people make it to the one million subscriber mark without having something beyond money and fame as their end goal.
Sure, there are some anomalies and breakouts here and there. But for the most part, it comes down to really serving people and meeting a need if you want to grow on Youtube.
Now, with my cause in mind, I can see a different approach and path emerging for me.
I am not giving up on my lofty goal of one million youtube subscribers, but rather I am adapting it. I am looking at it from the perspective of self-actualization and transcendence. Of becoming better and giving back.
Looking Five Years Ahead
I learned a long time ago from Peter Drucker that “People often overestimate what they can accomplish in one year. But they greatly underestimate what they could accomplish in five years.”
I have found this to be true for myself. I am always frustrated with the results I achieve within a year, but if I look back five years, I am quite amazed at how far I have come.
For this reason, I am forecasting further out this time. I am creating a plan that I believe will take me at least five years to accomplish with consistent effort.
Here is my five-year plan:
- To impact one million people enough through my videos that they want to subscribe and keep watching.
- To create a community of ‘people in the middle’ who are striving to improve themselves and their world.
I know this is a lofty goal for five years, but I believe I can achieve it or at least come close.
I also realize that these are both goals that I cannot completely control the outcome or results of. I can only be a catalyst for them to happen on their own.
But if I focus on taking daily and weekly actions that help people to improve themselves, and their world, then I am on the path. I am doing my part.
Returning To The Source
I do believe the best way to impact the world for me is through my speaking and writing. And creating videos is another medium that can broaden that impact.
But to do that, I have to remember that the purpose of my speaking and writing is serve people and help them solve problems.
In everything I create, I have to offer insights and encouragement that help them improve themselves and their world.
In essence, I have to continue on the work of my original mentor Earl Nightingale, who first inspired me and made me see that I could improve myself and my world.
Even though I never had the chance to meet Earl, I have listened to his recordings thousands of times. His pithy insights have led me to a great deal of success, fulfillment, and personal happiness.
This is the impact I would like to have in the world during the second half of my life. Achieving the goal of one million Youtube subscribers will allow me to extend my reach and contribute in the same way that Earl Nightingale has.
From Getting To Giving
In about a month’s time, I will be 45 years old.
And although my motivation to create a successful life is waning, my desire to contribute and keep improving myself has increased.
I am not exactly sure what material rewards may or may not come as a result. However, I know that the true purpose of life is not to get but to give.
With this in mind, I am excited about the second half of my life and how I can contribute.
And now, from here on, it’s time to create for the cause I have chosen.