“So, where do you see yourself in five years?” We’ve all heard that one before. It is an existential black hole of a potentially soul-draining question. Yet it has become a staple of every job interview. And if you’re like anybody else, the answer to the question usually lies in an empty blank stare across the table while you quietly think to yourself, “Not working here!” This while simultaneously preparing for your next interview and trying to figure out how many packages of Top Ramen you can buy with your remaining account balance of $3.27.

But we have to be able to look past the mental imagery of crippling homelessness. That or life spent in a cubicle. When we do, we will quickly come to realize that this question has immense value. That is, provided we are able to stop and really think about our answer. Then, using the power of the compound effect, we can work backwards.

The Precipice

At this moment, you stand on the precipice of a completely unwritten future. Does the thought of that scare you or liberate you?

As you step out into that blank canvas, you can quite literally be anybody and do anything that you wish. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true.

If you truly wanted to, you could drop everything in your present situation and completely reinvent yourself.

That’s why I am always surprised when people tell me they are unhappy with their life or who they are, but are unwilling to make a change.

Faced with this situation, as each of us is, it is inconceivable to me why so many people choose to remain stagnant. To remain unremarkable. To simply coast through life much as they are right now. They seem to believe that aspiring to something higher is too difficult and that laziness is a virtue.

Create Your Future Consciously

But the truth is that each day—and each decision—matters. And whether you like it or not, it is always in the service of a certain five-year destination. Whether you consciously create that five-year vision is another matter. But if you have the ability to do so, why wouldn’t you?

Envision your ideal future, and then work backwards from there. What would you be doing today to create that future? Put the compound effect to work, and start doing it.

Then, once you've begun, each little detail takes on a much greater level of importance. It becomes something sacred. And, as tends to happen to sacred things, a ritual will be born around it. Each meal you eat won’t seem so unimportant. Each time you see your partner won’t seem so ordinary.

This is the power of great books such as The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Or The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. Your choices really do shape who you become. They are gradually compounding each time you perform them to transform your life and character.

So now, our question for you is where do you see yourself in five years? What actions will that require of you? And what plans will you have to make? Now go do that.

The compound effect is always at play, whether you like it or not. So it is crucial that you take advantage of it.

If there was ever a time in which to accept responsibility for yourself it would be right now, in this very moment. You have our blessing.

For more ideas on how to begin taking complete control of your life and accomplishing something you never thought yourself capable of, you may like mine and Adam’s blog post on "fake it til you make it."

Author's Bio: 

The Implement Blog discusses topics related to personal development, health and wellness, spirituality, goals and habits, success, and personal passions. The writing directors, Adam and Bryce, bring many years of well-practiced, actionable wisdom and advice, garnered by instructing others in the occasional class taken in the school of hard knocks.