I often think of my life in year increments. A year is enough time to get really good at something. After working on something for a full year (job, hobby, etc.), I come to a place where I need to ask myself, “am I going to keep working on this or move onto something else?” I always make the decision the same way.
Before I explain, here’s a breakdown of how I’ve spent the last several years:
2012-2013: Worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car
2013-2014: Moved to Malawi (Africa) to be a math teacher
2014-2015: Started a charity, started a YouTube channel
2015-2016: Crowdfunded a girls school
2016-2017: Launched a tech company
There are two key things to point out here.
The first key thing is that I have always stayed in the habit of sticking to something for a full year. I badly wanted to quit Enterprise when I was a few months in, but I knew the timing wasn’t right. I also wanted to stop making YouTube videos after the first few because I was embarrassed by how I came across on camera, but, again, I didn’t give up. In both cases, the long term benefits made too much sense.
The second key thing is that I have never repeated a year. Not since college, anyways. At the end of every year, I always ask myself this one question: “If I stay where I am, will I continue learning as much as I did in the past year?” And, usually the answer is no. I could have worked a second year at Enterprise, but I was pretty sure I had already learned 95% of what there was to learn from that job. I could have continued teaching math, but again, I had already acquired 95% of the skills in the first year. And so on.
You will see people spend 20 years the exact same way, learning nothing new. There’s not necessarily anything immoral about that. But, if you want to grow, never repeat a year.
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