There are only two people in the world that you need to impress. If you impress these two people, then you will have had a successful life.
Erik explained that there are only two people you need to impress in your entire life:
Yourself at 80 and yourself at 8.
If you can satisfy them, then you will certainly impress many other people along the way.
Your 80 year old self knows how it all turned out. They know what was important and what wasn’t important. They have a sense of perspective, the long view. Your 80 year old self does not remember that guy who cut you off in traffic, and probably barely remembers that bad relationship you had in your 20s.
Your 8 year old self knows little of the challenges you have faced, but they know of your dreams. They know who you wanted to be before you found out what was “impossible” or “realistic.”
Next time you find yourself at a crossroads, bring those two most important people together. Find a quiet time, and imagine meeting them. Maybe in a park or at a diner or wherever you are comfortable.
Share with them what is happening. Share the decision you are facing. Ask them for their advice.
This is an amazing exercise. Of course, all the answers are coming from yourself, but they are coming from a different place in yourself. When you take on these roles and imagine what your 8 and 80-year old selves would say, you remove assumptions and biases. You get to the core of what you really know.
Try it sometime. Someday, you’ll be that 80-year old self, and when that time comes you’ll be glad you got your priorities straight today.