Who You Are Today is a Result of Yesterday’s Priorities

Take a step back and look at your current lifestyle. You’ll see a combination of results. Your current fitness is the result of your past gym routines. Your professional situation reflects your past work ethics. And your social circle is a direct consequence of the relationships you built over the last five years. In short, who you are today is a result of yesterday’s priorities. 

It’s an ordinary Thursday. 

You get up next to the love of your life and do a couple of pushups. You like what you see in the mirror. 

You eat breakfast on your penthouse balcony, overlooking the city’s rooftops. After exchanging morning talks with your significant other, you start your working day in your home office. 

As an entrepreneur, your job is a passion project. Corporate cubicles are a thing of the past and all your time now goes into building a legacy.

Better still, your passion project pays an adequate salary and provides a sense of fulfillment. 

During a short stint of daydreaming, you ask yourself: how did I end up here?

This paragraph might sound like a fantasy, but it’s a reality for many people. Not trust-fund brats, Instagram influencers, or professional athletes – ordinary people like you and me. 

The paragraph is a mere reflection of lifestyle design. It’s the story of someone who set the right priorities years ago and now enjoys the fruits. 

As such: 

  • meeting the love of your life happened because you prioritized new connections in the last five years; 
  • physical fitness is a result of prioritizing gym sessions over partying throughout the last half-decade; and
  • making a full-time income with a passion project is the result of prioritizing entrepreneurship over instant corporate gratification.

Who you are today is a result of yesterday’s priorities

Where you are today is a pure reflection of what you chose to do regularly in the last five years. 

On this basis, here is how yesterday’s priorities shape your current lifestyle and how today’s actions will form your future self.

Who You Are Today is a Result of Yesterday's Priorities - Weddell Sea, Antartica
Picture by 66 North / Unsplash

The seeds for your current lifestyle were planted five years ago 

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett

Ask yourself: where were you five years ago? 

I was at university, preparing for my law degree. Like most law students, I wanted to become a robe-wearing attorney, holding grand speeches in front of a jury and defending my clients’ rights. 

Little did I know that I would work three different jobs in the two years following my graduation, none of which involved pleading in court.  

My law studies, however, planted some essential seeds for my current career. During my time in law school, I adopted various life-changing habits

Living in a cramped apartment meant cutting down on unnecessary belongings and developing rigorous cleaning habits. 

Regular exams and impromptu tests created a strong memorizing habit and academic writing skills. 

And finally, expensive and arduous law studies fostered my sense of duty and discipline. 

Five years ago, I learned the benefits of minimalism and also became a better writer and speaker. 

Better still, discipline and duty became crucial mantras for my future self. 

You might think that we have nothing in common. 

Five years ago, you might have worked as a waiter trying to feed your children. You might have started three profitable companies in the last five years. Or you might have been an average Joe with a corporate job five years ago, just as you are today.

No matter your story, we have something in common. Where you are today is a direct result of the habits that you adopted in the last five years. 

As such, the priorities that guided your actions in the last five years determine your current lifestyle. 

Who You Are Today is a Result of Yesterday's Priorities - Yosemite mountain view
Picture by Quentin Dr / Unsplash

What were the consequences of yesterday’s priorities? 

After dwelling in the past, it’s time to analyze your present. In short, it’s time to look at the consequences. 

If you recklessly spent money in the last five years, your current bank balance will manifest the consequences of those shopping sprees. 

If you didn’t work out regularly throughout the last half-decade, you can’t expect a perfect summer body today. 

And if you spent the last five years complaining without taking real action at work, chances are you’re still in the same monotonous professional situation. 

Because you can’t change what happened in the last five years, you can only learn from your past mistakes. 

As such, you can’t change today, but you can influence tomorrow. 

What kind of priorities should you set today?

Changing our future lifestyles is not easy, but everything starts with conscious choices in the present. 

Who you are tomorrow is a direct result of today’s priorities. 

Ask yourself what kind of past priorities shaped your present self. What choices did you make in the last five years, and what choices should you make today? 

Use the past to influence the future. 

Instead of looking at the past nostalgically, choose an analytical perspective. And instead of wasting time in the present, take action by utilizing past lessons. 

In practical terms, find out which past priorities built your current strengths. 

Then, identify past priorities that contributed to your current shortcomings. 

Look for signs today, both positive and negative. 

Where are you making the right choices, and where are you heading in the wrong direction? 

My law studies forged my discipline. My corporate unhappiness launched my quest for purposeful activities. 

My eternal stubbornness, on the other hand, closed many networking doors. 

In conclusion, you can use past priority-driven experiences to determine today’s ideal priorities. 

Five years from now, your future self will thank you for your analysis. 

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