This article is one of the most important ones I’ve ever written. Take your time with it.
Strategic planning is what I do. It’s a key component of my day job. People who are unhappy are usually that way because they never sat down and planned out their lives in a clearly defined direction they desire.
It’s the same with companies. Businesses that are experiencing trouble are usually those whose owner/president sets a few goals about how much money he wants the company to make, but that’s about it. That’s not enough for success (unless you get lucky, but you can’t emulate luck nor plan on it).
People do this too. They might set a goal, or a very general goal, about how much money they might want, or how they want to get married / have kids “someday,” or how they want to be “happy,” or some other nebulous objective.
Not only are these not real goals, it’s nowhere near an actual plan.
This honestly one of the biggest reasons why most people are unhappy to some degree. It’s not the only reason of course; Societal Programming, Obsolete Biological Wiring, crappy upbringings, and personality problems also play a role.
In my primary book, The Unchained Man, I talk in great detail about how to wash out Societal Programming, set a Mission for your life, and how to set goals. These are absolutely critical skills required for any man who wants to live a life of long-term, consistent happiness. They are non-negotiable; you must have them if you want to be long-term happy. (If you don’t care about happiness as a priority then they’re optional.)
Beyond those topics, I did not talk about personal strategic planning in that book, as in planning out your life. This is also important. Personal strategic planning is a big topic that I can’t cover in a single article, or even a series of articles, so I’m not going to try. I could write an entire book on the subject and I probably will at some point down the road.
Instead, I’m going to give you a very simple, very summarized, very watered-down example of how I’ve done this for myself. I’m only going to scratch the surface and give you a very generic overview. There will not be a lot of specifics. Regardless, from this example and from The Unchained Man (which you really need to get if you haven’t yet; the damn thing is only $9 for the digital version) this should give you a good starting point.
One objection/question you might have is if you’re already old. If you’re 60, do you need to develop a strategic life plan? The answer is yes. It just means you obviously have a shorter span of decades to work with than the guy who is 26. Your plan will also have to factor in both the positive and negative aspects of your older age, such as decreased physical prowess and appearance (negatives), and increased wisdom and financial means (positives). But yes, you still need a plan if you want to be happy.
Here’s an overview of what I did. Some of this will be a repeat for those of you who are familiar with my content and personal history.
1. Got to a strong pain point where I knew I had to change.
When I hit my early thirties, I looked around and realized the life I was living was not the life I wanted. In many ways it was the opposite of what I wanted.
I had a relationship I didn’t like (traditional monogamous marriage), a financial situation I didn’t like (massive debt, massive monthly overhead, minimal net worth, zero savings), a body I didn’t like (flabby, pale, balding, badly dressed, dorky-looking beta male), a business I didn’t like (a typical hours-for-dollars, location dependent business with employees that had to be managed), a sexual life I didn’t like (boring wife-sex with a typical, nonsexual, overweight wife about 2 – 3 times per month if I was very lucky), and a future that looked terrible (no plan, no change in sight).
I had hit all the goals in my twenties that society told me I needed to have, like “Get married!” “Have kids!” “Start a business!” “Make a lot of money!” And yet here I was, living a life that was the opposite of what I knew would make me happy.
I knew I had to change. I had no choice.
Maybe you haven’t hit that pain point yet, and that’s fine. Maybe you’re just comfortable or bored. If that’s the case, look into the mirror and ask yourself how your life will be in 10-20 years from now if you don’t change anything. That will cause you some pain, I promise.
2. I clearly defined my ideal life.
As I’ve talked about before, one day I canceled all of my appointments, went to the park by myself on a sunny day with my laptop, sat down on a park bench, brought up a blank Word document, and wrote out exactly what my perfect life would be if I started over right now, completely from scratch, with no wife, no kids, no business, no nothing. I told myself I could add some of that stuff back in there when I was done if I wanted (and I did with some of the items), but I started from absolute zero.
When I was done, I had two pages describing my perfect life. The bad news is that it was just about the opposite of the life I was currently living. The good news is that it was all perfectly achievable and realistic, given a little time.
3. I set specific goals based on this new vision.
Using this vision of my ideal life, I started setting goals to get there. This was the easy part. I’m very good at goal setting and always have been. The problem was that the goals I had been operating under were goals I was told to want (Societal Programming) rather than want I truly wanted.
This time, and for the first time in my life, my goals would be mine. Not my parents’, not my (ex) religion’s, not my society’s, not my politics’, not my wife’s, not Hollywood’s, not my friends’. Mine.
4. I got off my ass and got to work.
I didn’t sit around fantasizing. I didn’t sit around complaining about everything. I didn’t waste my time arguing with people on the internet or playing video games. Nope, I fucking got to work. Pumped with my vision and my goals, and terrified at what would happen if I didn’t change, I got to work on my new plan. Everyone around me immediately noticed a difference in my attitude.
I also started to Alpha-up. I knew that a beta male would not be able to accomplish these goals, so I had to become an Alpha. Again, I had no choice. I got to work on being more confident, not taking crap from anyone, and moving in a direction I wanted regardless of what other people in my life said or did (including my wife at the time).
5. I formulated my Mission.
From the mistakes I made in my twenties, I knew that goals and plans would not be enough. Goals are critical, but they’re not all you need. If all you have are goals, you will eventually hit them (if you work on them that is!) and then once you’ve achieved them, you’ll stand around like an idiot and say, “Uh… oh no. Now what?”
I knew that I needed a Mission, something far more important than any goal or project, something that had no “end date,” something that would drive me regardless of my goals or current life status, something I could work on literally for the rest of my life that would make me happy not only today, but 25+ years from now.
I didn’t know what this Mission was, so I worked on discovering it, always looking inward, digging deeper and deeper. It took me a few years to clarify it precisely. Many of you have asked what my Mission is. For the first time ever, I’m about to tell you. It’s this:
As a man who is the ideal example of long-term masculine happiness, financially, in business, with physical health, and with relationships, I will continue to help one million men achieve a life of long-term consistent happiness. From this, and from businesses that help both men and companies, I have functionally unlimited wealth to do whatever I want and explore the entire world.
This is not a goal. This is a Mission. There is no “end date” to it. It will take me the rest of my life to both achieve this and maintain this. It’s what drives me in addition to my goals and my vision.
Thus armed with a Mission, I will never run into boredom or a “now what?” state so many older and middle-aged men wrestle with.
6. I broke my life up into phases.
Despite having a Mission that could last the rest of my life, I knew that regarding the details, things I want now will not be things I want 20 years from now. Men who are 28 have different priorities and desires than men who are 58. I had to acknowledge this. I knew that I would want different things at age 45, 55, and 65 than I currently did in my thirties.
The example I’ve often given at this blog is your woman life. When you’re 25, you’ll probably want to bang lots of hot bitches, never have any kids, never live with a woman, and just focus on freedom and pussy. That’s great! But when you’re my age (I just celebrated my forty-sixth birthday), I promise you’re going to want something in your woman life that looks a lot different (unless you are a very rare exception to the rule). It doesn’t have to be monogamy (I’m not monogamous and never will be), but it will likely be something more stable, pair-bonded, and long-term.
So I broke my life up into several phases. Your life might be three or four phases. Maybe it will just be two phases. The number of phases and the type of phases are completely up to you. For me, I chose two phases.
My first phase is Empire-Building Phase. For me (and you will probably be different) this phase covers a 37-year span, going from age 16 to age 53. During this phase, my focus is building life infrastructure and baselines in my financial life and woman life, exactly as I talk about in The Unchained Man, as well as a third baseline I don’t discuss in that book that I’ll talk about in a minute.
My woman baseline is already completed; I finished that about six or seven years ago. I hit every woman goal and sexual fantasy I ever had many years ago. I also have built a very solid foundation for my woman life, regardless of if my OLTR marriage lasts or not.
So I’m done with all that woman-life-building; all I have to do today is maintain the structures in my woman life I’ve already built, which is easy, since maintaining is always much easier than building.
My financial baseline is not yet done, but it’s almost done and nearing the end; I should be finished with that in another four to six years at the very latest. Six years from now I’ll be 52, one year shy of the end of my Empire-Building Phase, right on schedule.
I have a third baseline, my slowest one by far, which is my physical health baseline. I’ve greatly improved this but it’s still no where near where I want it. I will likely complete this one last, after my business baseline is done, since physical fitness has always been my weakest area.
You will always have at least one weak area in life; it’s up to you to determine what this area is, work on this as best you can, don’t surrender to it, and for fuck’s sake, don’t make excuses about how it’s too hard for you and too easy for others. That kind of crap is for betas. You’re better than that. (I hope.)
At or around age 53, which is seven years from now in 2025 (if not sooner), I will gracefully exit my completed Empire-Building Phase and enter the second phase of my life, which I call my Experiential Phase. During this phase, I will focus on experiencing the world and myself rather than focusing on building things. With my three life foundations solidly built (financial, woman, and health), all I need to do is maintain those things, which again, is much easier and far less time consuming than building something from scratch. I will focus the rest of my time experiencing what it means to be a self-actualized man.
During this phase, I will focus on things like writing, traveling, experiencing, spirituality, and social aspects, rather than focusing on money, business, women, and fitness like I do now.
I will still work during my Experiential Phase, since I love to work, but instead of working for money and empire like I do now, I’ll just work for the experience of working, to express myself though my work rather than focusing on any infrastructure objective.
This plan ties in with every other area of my life. For example, longtime readers may notice that year of 2025 looks familiar; that’s the year I’m planning on moving out of the USA (if not sooner). For years, I’ve been saying that I promise to keep making blog posts here until 2024, again, right before the end of my Empire-Building Phase. I’ve also always said I wanted an OLTR Marriage in place before my early fifties, again, before my Experiential Phase begins.
See? All these plans tie together, and always have. All these things need to be locked down before I turn 53. And, most of them already have, which makes sense, since I’m 30 years into my 37-year life phase. I’m nearing the end of this part of my life, which again, is all according to plan.
If you’re much younger than me, obviously you won’t be this far into your life plan, and that’s fine; you’ve got more time than I do. If you’re my age or older, even if you feel you’re not as successful as you should be, you’ve probably locked down at least one part of your life (usually financial), perhaps more than one.
Again, everything I’m describing is just an example. Please, please don’t make the mistake of copying this plan or this Mission verbatim. You are not me, so copying my Mission or life plan verbatim will likely be harmful for you. Maybe you don’t need an Empire-Building Phase at all. Maybe you need a different set of phases. Maybe you need four or five phases instead of two. Everyone is different, and you are different from me. You likely have a very different Mission within you than I have. You have a different personality and priorities than I do, at least somewhat. (And sure, your Mission or life plan could have similarities to mine, but I’m quite sure they aren’t the same.)
It’s your job to take these things and plan out your life.
I suggest you get to work. The clock is ticking, and the only guarantee you have for the future is that you’ll get older.