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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Safe Harbors and the Open Sea

March 29, 2011
Places that appear safe are not always so.

FEATURE: Quotations Worth Considering

Sails on a private boat seen from belowI am writing this on March 20, two days before I leave for a conference in Washington, DC. However, as you will know if you’ve been reading recent posts, I have scheduled several of them to be posted when I am gone so that, if you come here often, you will find something new.

Today I had only one more post to write when I wanted to print out the handouts for workshops I will attend. It seems that in order to save paper, handouts aren’t being handed out. However, participants can download the notes for the workshops they are attending and bring them along. I started doing this today and was interested in what leaders of other workshops were providing. That’s when I looked at a PDF of a writer’s workshop and came across a quotation that I want to share.

In Quotations Worth Considering I talk about quotations, affirmations, aphorisms, and scripture verses from of all religions that can make a real impact in our lives if we take time to really think about them. The one I share today has, I believe, great wisdom for both the adventurous and the timid.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

When I first read this — on a list of quotations meant to encourage writers’ creativity and courage — I immediately had images of ships in a Japanese harbor being pushed onto land by a giant tsunami. That harbor was not at all safe for those sailors. The boats that were safe were those that were out at sea.

Of course, I realize that in violent storms a ship would rather be in a harbor, but not all harbors are safe all the time. Not all seas are dangerous. If you meet a tsunami out in the open sea, you can hardly tell it at all.

What this quotation says to me is that safety is a relative thing. Unless we venture out beyond our boundaries, we aren’t going to get very far. What are you willing to risk? What have you gained in the past by taking risks?

When I get on the plane in two days, I will take the risk that it will crash. But then again, every time I get in a car I take a risk that is greater than riding in a plane.

Risk is relative and we each need to decide what level of safety we will give up for the potential of reaching our goals and even going beyond them.

Since this blog is about enriching your life and your relationships, I suggest you consider what might happen to your relationships if you decided to sail out beyond the boundaries you generally keep to make you feel secure and untie to bowline as you move into the unknown.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
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