Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Possible futures

I don’t know if you do this, or if it’s just me.

I’ll get a big vision for my future. A huge project that would take many months or years. Something exciting and very worth doing.

I’ll do a bunch of research, make a bunch of plans, and tell my friends all about it. They think I’ve made a big decision on a new direction in life.

Then a month later, I have a completely different vision. Something unrelated to the previous one. Something I’m more excited about.

And the process repeats.

I used to feel bad about this. Like I should stop having new ideas for the future, and just stick with one. I used to feel bad for not doing them. Then I made a little change that made a big difference:

I made a folder on my computer called “Possible Futures”.

For each big plan, I make a new file in that folder, and put all of my ideas and research into it.

Now I can daydream all I want, not feeling bad that I’m not taking immediate action on this idea, because now it’s clear that it’s just one of many possible futures.

It also reminds me that I love daydreaming, just for its own sake.

I’ve got 58 different futures in there as of today. A few times a year, I read through them all. Some seem stupid now, but some get more and more enticing with time.

When I finish a big project, and I’m feeling ready for a new future, I open this folder and pick one to make real.