Five Years from Today

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Apr 04, 2015

“Thousands of perceptions, hunches, ideas and intuitions race through our brains every day. Give them the red light for at least long enough to write them down.”
Ralph Ford

Today I would like you to ponder this question, “Where will you be five years from today?” That actually is the title of a book written by Dan Zadra and edited by Kristel Wills. Evie and I were walking through a gift shop when that title caught my eye, but, more importantly, it also caught my imagination.

On the calendar, five years is 60 months or 260 weeks or 1,820 days. On the clock it is 43,680 hours or 2,620,800 minutes or 157,248,000 seconds. That is a lot of time to become something or to do something significant.

Did you know that in just under five years, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel? Or, did you know that in 1961, Julia Child graduated from cooking school with a quirky idea for a TV show and four years later she won an Emmy as America’s favorite TV chef?

I was also surprised to learn that after Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus were fired from their home improvement jobs, they created a business model called Home Depot. Just three years after losing their jobs, their annual sales were $1 billion.

Then there is the story about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who at 30 years of age was living in a 500-square-foot apartment, but five years later his net worth was $10 billion.

So let’s go back to the question, “Where will you be five years from today?” In five years you could learn a language or earn a college or university degree or save enough money to travel to that place you always wanted to visit. Or, in five years you could move to another city or state or country. In five years you could write a book or build a building or run for political office. 

For any of us, our entire lives could change within a five-year window. So, what have you always wanted to do and where have you always wanted to go? What dreams lie unfulfilled in your heart?

If anything significant is to take place in our lives over the next five years it will more likely happen if we have a goal. David Kohn said that people who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as people who don’t, and yet 80 percent of Americans say they don’t have goals.

Dan Zadbra wisely observed, “A goal is a dream set on paper. Don’t just think it — ink it.”

I admire people who live by a personal mission statement. Walt Disney said, “My mission in life is to make people happy.” According to the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, “My mission is to collect all the world’s information and make it accessible to everyone.” For Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, “My mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Anitra Freeman said, “I believe creativity is the essence of being human. I believe I make myself, and I won’t buy my soul off the rack.”

Unless you have clear goals and a personal mission statement that really matters to you, you will more than likely not change much or even do much in the next five years. But if you write out your goals and you develop your plan to fulfill you mission, the next five years could be transformational for you and everyone around you.

As Dr. Seuss said, “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes; you can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know; and you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of  
University of Valley Forge, Phoenixville, Pa. 
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