The 50-Year Rule

February 14, 2013
What will you remember 50 years from now?


 From time to time, the Support4Change Blog will feature posts from Tyler Tervooren from Advanced Riskology. Tyler’s inspiring posts advance his mission to “help everyone I can to take smarter and more beneficial risks in their lives.” Learn more about Tyler’s mission.

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Sulphur Mountain Summit


The 50-Year Rule by Tyler Tervooren

I don’t always make the right decision. Sometimes I know what I want or what I need, but I settle for less because I’m afraid it might not work out.

Uncertainty is a hard thing to deal with—there’s no objective way to decide if it’ll end up the way you want it to.

A few years ago, I created a rule for myself that I try to follow when I’m faced with a tough decision:

All else being equal, choose the thing you’ll still remember in 50 years.

I don’t always do it, but I always try. And each time, I get a little closer to making the right choice more often.

Following a rule like this in your own life is, in and of itself, an uncomfortable thing to do. 50 years is a long time. To remember something that long, you have to make decisions that take you far outside of your comfort zone.

The 50-year rule has had a profound impact on my life. It’s led me into projects I’d have never considered before. It’s taken me up mountains instead of hills, across forests instead of parking lots.

Following the 50-year rule requires that you ignore conventional wisdom in almost every decision. Your friends and family will rarely advise you to go through with it. They might even be hostile when you succeed. They’ll probably say “I told you so” when you don’t.

When you follow the 50-year rule, insignificant decisions suddenly become critical. If you find yourself choosing between two equally boring options, you must challenge yourself to find a third one—one worthy of a space in your memory.

Despite the challenge and potential hardship a rule like this will bring to your life, it comes with one unquestionable benefit that makes the stress and the anguish more than worth it:

At the end of the day, you have something worth remembering—a true adventure.

And little is as precious as that.

Wherever you are today—whatever you might be doing—I hope you’ll take a second to ask yourself, “Will I remember this in 50 years?”

If you don’t like the answer, I hope you’ll change it.

Question: What do you want to be remembered 50 years from now? If you’re inclined to, share your answer in the comments.

 Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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