What's Your End Game?
Sometimes you stumble across an idea that crosses different mediums and channels through different people all converging at the same time. It creates one of those moments where you take a step back and evaluate the idea for yourself and in your own life.
Let's dive into one of the ideas swirling around in my head at the moment. Peter Thiel's Zero to One is considered one of the stronger business books on startups not to mention the mindset of an entrepreneur / venture capitalist. One of his more popular ideas is imagining where you want to be in 10 years and then ask yourself what you'd have to do to get there in six months. A tremendous idea and mind exercise I encourage everyone to try out but let us take one step back.
Peter, in discussing the advantages of being a last mover in startups (because you get to wait and observe while others fail first) references chess Grandmaster Jose Raul Casablanca who also focuses on the endgame when he says: "you must study the endgame before everything else." Our end game is really where we see ourselves in 1 year, 2 years, 5, 10 years, etc., and can be a challenge if you find yourself meandering in life or are feeling bogged down; your career, personal life, it doesn't really matter. The idea that we begin to focus in on the end game may be an answer to digging out.
Enter Jesse Itzler's recent interview on Impact Theory entitled How to Stop Being Realistic and Shoot for the Moon. If you don't listen to Impact Theory, or haven't heard of Jesse Itzler, then I encourage you to check out both. Jesse has a couple of books out there, Living With a Seal and more recently Living With the Monks, and Impact Theory has some incredible videos from experts across all walks of life.
Without repeating verbatim what Jesse talks about in his video (go watch!), one of the ideas he focused on was this idea of focusing on where you want to be in the future. What is your future state that you need to work towards, or in other words your end game. Jesse has built his life in overcoming those internal dialogues of fear and doubt and taking big risks and he recognizes the importance of time in our life:
"Your relationship with time is such a key component of your life because when you get caught in the routine, times goes so quickly and before you know it, you’re 60 or 70, your relevant years are done."
Often times we don't spend enough time looking at the end game and locking those goals down. We get caught in the routine as Jesse puts it. It's definitely something I need to work on myself. The exuberance of starting something can die out without a clear long-term goal of where you want to take it. What are you working on right now, do you envision where you will be with it in five years? 10 years?
When you begin to establish an end game it also allows you to then work backwards in terms of how to get there. Peter Thiel's original question then comes into play. You've locked down your 10 year end game, what would it look like to do it in 6 months? I think Jesse would agree with this philosophy if you listen to him. He recognizes the urgency of time and our own ability to hinder ourselves in getting things done. Working backwards from the end goal allows us to crystallize our daily, monthly, and yearly goals. It allows us to look at our daily tasks and align them with our end game. Does this decision help or hinder when it comes to achieving my end game?
It's by no means an easy process but it's an exercise that is worth the time. If you have a free hour take a step back and map out the end game. Pick something in your life; career, relationship, hobby. Start with where you see yourself in ten years and what does that look like; write it down. Visualize and write it down in as much detail as you can muster. Everything from where you are to what you are doing. You've now seen your own game and the best place to start.