It's Not What I KnowWhere you are today is based on all the decisions that you have made in the past. You can’t change them. Where you will be tomorrow and the future tomorrows is based on the decisions that you make today and tomorrow. You can’t control the past but you can control your future.

Where will you be five years from now? Most people when asked that question have to stop and think. First they want to analyze the question. Why are you asking? Is there a right or wrong answer? What will you do with my answer? Whoa! It’s just a good question.

Some times I sit and just close my eyes and picture where I want to be 1 year and 5 years from now. Is it an accurate picture? No, but it is my picture. Try it some time. Just close your eyes and picture where you “want” to be … not where you think you will be.

The operative word is “want” vs “think” you will be. You make the decision where you want to be. Life, to this date, is dictating where you think you will be in the future. The exciting thing is that you set the destination for your “Want to Be.”

If you don’t know where you are going, then how will you know when you get there. Try going to the airline ticket counter and simply say, “I need a plane ticket.”

The agent will smile, like they are supposed to do, and ask, “Sir, where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know, I just need a ticket.”

They will just look at you and maybe even call security. Why? Because they know that a ticket is associated with a destination. When you want to buy an airline ticket, you must determine where you want to go before you purchase the ticket.

So where will you be in five years is an important question. Five years from now you will be five years older. You can be five years older and be where you want to be or be five years older and be where ever life takes you.

I’ve seen young people in college who are focused on graduation but not on what graduation will mean to them. When asked about how they see themselves in 5 years, they will talk about graduation as an end point rather than a beginning of their professional career. They had a goal to go to college, not to secure a professional career.

A young nurse, after practicing 20 years, was considering going back to school to become a physician. She was concerned that it would take her at least 6 years and she would be 48 years old when she finished school and started to practice.

I asked her how old she would be in six years if she didn’t go to medical school. She said she would be 48. So the choice is not whether to go to medical school. The decision is whether you want to be a 48 year-old new physician or a 48 year-old nurse with 26 years of experience.

In her case, she was focusing on the obstacle and not on the goal. The person at the ticket counter was focused on getting the ticket (the obstacle to getting on the plane) and not on the goal (where the plane would take him.)

If you have a five-year plan, can you make changes? Absolutely. If you are driving to San Diego, can you make a change along the way? Absolutely. We may stop to visit a park, stay a couple extra days at a resort, or maybe even totally change our destination.

We have to have a plan in order to get started. I’ve had young students tell me that they won’t choose their major in college until their junior year. What a waste of time and money. It’s like getting into the car and driving for a few hundred miles before you decide where you want to go. You may find that you have been driving in the wrong direction … a waste of time and money.

In my book, “it’s not what I know … it’s how I learned it,” I show how going any direction rather than the right direction can lead to disaster. It can waste money and time. You can always get more money. But time is a limited commodity. We only have so much time to invest. We must invest it wisely.

Take a few minutes to think about where you want to be in five years. What ever you decide is fine. It is where you want to be. It is your decision. You will have the best chance of reaching your destination when you know the destination.

That’s not anything profound. It is just one of the basic metrics to achieve success in life. It is the basic metric for becoming successful in business. Know what you want, decide how to get it, and then go for it. You can do it.