God Vision: The Success Path I Wish I Knew When I Was 22

by Alexander Heyne · 12 comments

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What if the biggest reason you aren’t taking action is a complete load of crap?

For years now, even before his death, there was a famous Steve Jobs quote circulating around the internet that came from his Stanford commencement speech.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”

Over the dozens and dozens of coaching calls I’ve done over the past few months, most of them were marred by one thing: lack of action.

Most of us are too busy being paralyzed because we’re confused as all hell.

Why would I ask that girl out again if I “wasn’t sure how I felt about her?”

Why would I take one of those three jobs when they all feel like boring, soulsuckers to me?

Why would I go down one career path when I’m not 100% sure if that’s what I want to do forever?

They all sound so logical.

And they’re all so wrong.

“None of These Are Really Calling To Me… I Just Need a Bit More Time to Figure It Out”

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There’s this feeling that “if I don’t know what my passion is, or if it REALLY is what I like… why commit 100%? What if it’s the wrong path and I end up MORE unhappy, or lose time?”

Years ago when I was looking for jobs in my early 20s (and was both an idiot in how I applied, but also got zero offers), I felt this on a daily basis.

Eh… personal training?

Eh… some marketing job?

Eh… park ranger?

They all sounded like good ideas, but none of them really sounded great.

Not one of them sounded like that one thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And as a result, I didn’t do anything – since none of them were the clear winner in my mind.

Years and years went by, and I made shit progress in my life.

But it wasn’t until I realized a concept (what I called “God Vision” to someone once), that everything changed.

Now, it’s a principle I think about on an almost daily basis.

God-Vision is The Most Powerful Force in The Universe

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God vision is what you cannot see in the future – but can only realize in the past.

In other words, if you were some divine being that could see your own life as a timeline, and all the micro experiences (and the big ones) that happened on that timeline, you’d be able to see first hand how much they served you and helped you.

It’s when that job you hated you took, but you got skills you later used to build a successful business.

For example, I took dozens (yes – dozens) of jobs from the ages of 23 to 28 that I didn’t necesarilly like, but I vetted them on one main thing: whether or not they would give me skills that I could learn and use later.

The issue of money was secondary, since I figured I could be poor now, learn what it took to succeed, and make money later.

The result?

I ended up using many of those skills from freelancing, marketing jobs, sales jobs – all things I hated – in order to build my own business. That became a crucial part of my story.

But if I never took the time to get those jobs because they weren’t my “dream jobs,” then I never would’ve acquired that skillset.

God vision in action.

Sometimes one step’s purpose is simply to lead you to the next step.

It’s when you passed up income to work for a crucial mentor, living at home, and instead, acquired more habits for success.

When I moved back from China, I moved back in with my parents until – get this – I was 26.

That’s a long ass time to move back in with your parents, especially if you’re fairly driven.

I decided to keep a string of part time jobs for almost five years, because there were other projects I wanted to work on on the side.

That was really important to me – meaning and purpose, more than anything else.

As a result, I made almost no money in my early and mid 20s, but I started little projects like Milk the Pigeon.

Milk the Pigeon taught me how to write, it taught me about blogging, it taught me about online business.

It introduced a new set of skills I never had, and guess what skills I used to launch my actual business?

Blogging.

It’s when you decided to learn random skills for fun, and not for a financial purpose, and five or ten years later, they come back to serve you.

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When I moved to China at 23, I went because I wanted to take a few years off to study kung fu and meditation in some temples with monks.

Now even though I didn’t end up staying longer than a year, I ended up learning to speak, read and write Chinese – well – because I was putting in seven hours a day (four hours of class I paid for, and three hours on my own).

Everyone else was thinking of Chinese being useful from a business perspective, but I was just thinking one thing when I left my job:

“Fuck it, this is gonna be awesome.”

I had no intention of becoming a China based entrepreneur or capitalist.

So I learned a skill for fun.

And guess where it came back?

Next year, I’m starting school again for Chinese medicine – where knowing Chinese is a massive advantage when it comes to becoming world class at my craft.

God-Vision is simple: If you were God looking down – you’d be laughing, “It’s so perfect” and it is.

It almost seems like all of these events were related, and they had to happen.

But the reason why it’s so hard to trust the process is that:

  • A. it requires faith, which is scary as hell, and
  • B. we haven’t lived it yet

This is usually something you hear from people in their 50s and 60s, so if you haven’t lived it personally, it’s understandable that it’s scary as hell and makes no sense – how the hell can I trust the process?

The catch is that God vision only works if you live life right.

Here’s what I mean.

God Vision – How to Predict Your Own Future, Figure Out Your 20s and Live an Awesome Life

There’s a final scene in the movie The Last Samurai, where one of the Samurai leaders is having a flash back to a scene previously in the movie as he’s dying, about how death is perfect, like the cherry blossom.

When the cherry blossom is blooming in the spring, it’s this beautiful, short-lived perfection (which is a major tourist attraction in Japan), and is a metaphor for how quickly life passes.

Finally, as he lay dying near the end of the movie, he sees the tree again and says. “Perfect. They are all perfect.”

This is a part of that feeling Steve Jobs was referring to – you can only see the pieces connect in retrospect.

Life has to be lived forward but understood backward is another famous way to describe this effect.

It’s usually only at the end of a person’s life do you hear the stories about how they were in the right place at the right time, and ended up randomly meeting their wife, or a unique business mentor, or a book that impacted them.

It’s like the Stephen Spielberg two minute speech that’s been shared a lot lately: the intuition about what direction to go in is really subtle.

It’s not a massive god-slap in the face – but a constant, easy-to-ignore whisper in your ear.

There’s one catch: this kind of God vision, where shit just lines up year after year, only works if you live life deliberately and aren’t afraid to commit even when the path is dark in every direction.

Here’s what that looks like.

God Vision in Action: 3 Things To Do Daily

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I recently was on the phone with someone, and I was sharing just how eerie the last five years have truly been (regarding the pieces lining up) since I forced myself to work hard.

There was the eerie connection about learning Chinese and ending up studying Chinese medicine – and getting to meet some cool mentors only because I knew Chinese.

There was the piece about learning to write here on Milk the Pigeon, and my first successful business being a blog-based business (my health one).

And there was the other piece about sacrificing a large chunk of my 20s for the hustle and skill acquisition which later served me well.

In the middle of the conversation I tried hard to narrow down what I consciously chose that helped make it work, and I realized it was three things.

Intuition

The first skill to focus on is listening to those “little whispers.”

It’s the whisper that says that a guy or girl isn’t right for you, that a job “sounds” cool and pays well, but it’s not what you want, or that a certain opportunity is going to lock you down.

It’s like my intuition to avoid full-time jobs, so I could start projects on the side.

I didn’t know if it would work out, but I was literally unwilling to not try.

Growth

The second skill is to always choose opportunities based on Growth + love.

If you are thinking of moving across the country, taking a new job, breaking off something with someone, or are making a difficult decision, if you choose growth you always win.

Growth might mean taking a job you aren’t qualified for, and even though you feel afraid, you take it and decide to step up to the plate.

Growth might mean improving your career or work skills, it might mean starting a side project that you have no idea will workout (because it entails learning new things), or it might mean doing something hard in your business or job because you know you’ll learn.

Growth always pays off in god-vision land, because the more you grow, the more it impacts every part of your life.

Skills

The third skill is focusing on learning skills.

This is something I harp on all the time here, but in retrospect I realized that the most valuable things that I have now (even though I’ve long forgotten all those awful jobs) are skills.

Skills pay the bills.

Skills are how you build a business, get a job, or even get a romantic partner.

Having skills mean you are good at something, and you get skills in the arena.

So if you see an opportunity to develop skills – video editing, writing, blogging, marketing, selling, playing a guitar – take it.

And even if you don’t like your job now, if you can get skills, those skills might be the missing piece to your jackpot that comes together in your next job, business or opportunity.

That’s God vision.

You can’t predict the future, but if you do these three things you can have absolute faith they’ll come back and help you.

The trick is, right now you just don’t know how yet.

The One Thing To Remember

The ultimate question to ask yourself is simple – is this opportunity cool?

Would this give me skills to have?

And ultimately, is this the direction I want to go in?

If you keep doing that long enough, one day you’ll look back, with that faith and experience of knowing a life well-lived, and you’ll too think:

“It was perfect.”

– Alex

Thoughts on this? Share them below.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew June 9, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Hey Alex,

This post really hits home. I recently turned 22 and I’ve been trying for the past year to get some stuff up and running.

I’m still in college, but I have a website where I sell various cool gadgets that people dig in my country and that allows my food every month. It isn’t much, but as you said, it helped me learn lots of stuff. Graphic design, website developing skills, customer service, how to run ads and I feel truly blessed. I know a few years from now this skills will help me tremendously and I look forward to people like you and Tim Ferriss for inspiration of where I want to be x years from now.

Thank you for your post, have a good day and enjoy life.

– Andrew

Reply

Alexander Heyne June 10, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Hey Andrew,

Love it man, and yes – those are all extremely valuable skills that you should keep acquiring. Like I said, you genuinely have no idea where things will lead you.

-Alex

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Julien June 9, 2016 at 2:21 pm

I didn’t not have a great day (or maybe week, or month even) so when I say your email in my inbox, I thought “Awesome, maybe it will help me get a clearer vision of what’s ahead”.

You really know how to define our problems as millenials with words which is not always easy.
I’m kind of lost right now because I desperately want to live in the U.S. (my friends are there and I want to be an actor in the U.S., not in France) but I’m stuck here and I really don’t know what to do.
It’s like “my life will start once I get there”…

Do you have any suggestions for me?

Reply

Alexander Heyne June 10, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Hey Julien,

Why do you say you’re stuck in France? What’s stopping you from looking for opportunities over here?

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Julien June 10, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Well, I was refused a tourist visa a little less than 2 years ago (because somehow, the embassy officer thought I would overstay or work illegally though I think he just didn’t like the fact that I was 19 because I had financial proof of 15k in a bank account and a letter of employment for when I came back).

So now, I don’t really know how to get there at all…

Mandy June 11, 2016 at 4:46 am

Hi Alex,

I’ve been getting your e-mails for a couple months now, and I really enjoy reading what you have to say. It’s straight forward advice, and like how you say it how it is. This article helped me out today. I’ve been struggling with knowing how to get started on a business idea because the process of what I plan on doing is overwhelming since I haven’t done anything like it before. I know in my heart this is what I should be doing right now. I have prayed on it, and I feel good about it. But, I’ve only taken a handful of business classes in college (my specialty is elsewhere, yet helpful for my business idea). I also have life experience backing me up for my idea.

My question is, how do I start? I’ve written out short and long-term goals, and I get what I need to do, but I don’t have the expertise when it comes to certain aspects of my plan in order to complete some of the goals (detailed business plan, etc.). I also don’t have the funds to pay a bunch of professionals, so should I be networking or attempting to wing it and hope for the best? Or, maybe I should take another class to help? I just want to feel like I’m moving forward even though at times it feels like I am standing still.

Thanks for your input.

Mandy

Reply

Alexander Heyne June 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Hey Mandy,

What if you started putting aside an hour a day to figure that out? The “how to” is never the hard part – it’s a matter of doing it. With google, you can learn any skill.

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Mid twenties girl-woman June 19, 2016 at 7:25 am

Hi Alex,

I agree that it is usually in retrospect that we recognize the chunks of gold that came from those mistakes, set backs, curveballs, complete frustration and general chaos of previous years! My recently learned truth that aligns with God Vision is that faith usually comes after the fact. Really it does! That’s why your gainfully employed friends tell you with utmost confidence that you’ll get a better job, that’s why people in relationships are oh so confident that it will work out for your single self too.

The truth is that when they were younger, jobless or single they had just as much anxiety as anyone else, but they conveniently forget how worried and negative they were beforehand. Such is the human ego. I suspect this as the reason why well meaning advice from older adults always made me more anxious instead. Sort of the whole ‘well your dreams have come into manifestation so it’s easy for you to be confident’ spiel pervades my thoughts.

I realized after ‘falling’ into my first full time job that feels crap, that I absoLUTELY need to be working in the field I studied for, or something close to it. I now spend my weekends and evenings after work doing open mapping courses and contributing to city planning discussions. I have wondered WTF I am doing at 24 going home to map cougar habitats on the other side of the planet or actively discuss the first city on Mars, but like you said it’s interesting, teaches you skills and who knows what a card it will play later.

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Anna July 5, 2016 at 1:54 am

I’ve just finished reading some of your blog entries and just have to say they helped me a lot! I’ve been feeling so frustrated the last year, and I’ve been reading a lot online about this. But it didn’t struck a cord in me before reading your stories. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Reply

Alexander Heyne July 18, 2016 at 5:01 am

Awesome :-)

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Nhil September 7, 2016 at 9:54 am

Alex,

You are an amazing writer. Thank you for inspiring every millennial that reads your blog. Your wisdom and experience are absolutely enlightening.

Reply

Alexander Heyne September 8, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Thanks Nhil :-) hope it’s helped even just a little bit.

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