The Practice of Decagism

How talking to yourself 10 years in the past and 10 years in the future can change your life.

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

“Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind…” — Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

About three years ago, I had a major epiphany.

I had just given up drinking alcohol at the age of 38 and was about six months into my alcohol-consciousness as I was approaching my 39th birthday.

As I thought about the reality that this number meant that the somewhat monumental milestone of 40 was right around the corner, I thought about how much clearer and more productive everything had been in my life for the past six months.

I thought about all the things that I had hoped to have accomplished by the age of 40 and how somewhat disappointed I was that I hadn’t.

I instantly thought about what I’m sure millions of people have done over their lives and said if there was any way for me to go back in time and tell my younger version of myself to stop drinking earlier, I would be so much further now.

I was honest to admit that I had way too much fun in my 20s and wouldn’t really be the person I am today if I hadn’t experienced those things but thought that if I could go back and tell my 30-year-old self to stop drinking at that moment, I’m sure I would have much more money in the bank and have achieved a number of the things that I said I was going to do.

As I sat there thinking about how cool it would be to have a time machine to be able to do this, all of sudden something hit me like a ton of bricks that almost floored me.

Who is to say I just couldn’t tell myself NOW what I would’ve told myself 10 years ago and just live my life from that point on like I was 30 years old???

Decagism is about resetting your age

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The average life span in the U.S. is currently 78.54 years (81.95 in Canada and 81.26 in the UK).

As you can see with our current and former president, doing amazing things in your late 70s and 80s is not unusual by any means.

In fact, if you google images of people in the 60s and ’70s, you will see a slight change over the years, but nothing to suggest that these individuals are markedly different in terms of mental and physical ability if they desire.

Considering this, I asked the question what IF I had learned this lesson when I was 30 and then died when I was 70? I still would have 40 years left to create the life of my dreams, something that still could be considered a pretty full life.

Therefore, what difference does it make that I learned it 10 years “late” if I’m able to extend my life to 80? I still have the SAME 40 years of life left, with the SAME knowledge and mental ability to execute to create my success.

This led me to create the concept of Decagism, a practice that involves someone seeing themselves as 10 years younger than they are and making decisions based on THAT age, not what their current age may be.

It is about not focusing on how many years you have lived on the earth but instead focusing on how many you have LEFT and what you would do with those years if you were 10 years younger.

Decagism is about perspective

Decagism is a mental game that we can play with ourselves to ensure we have the motivation and mentality needed to stay committed to our goals every day and not allow society’s concept of age and where we “should” be in life to deter us from pursuing our dreams for long term success.

For so many people, they allow their age to determine many of the decisions they make.

For example, when they look at their career and what jobs they are willing to sign up for, they often think I need to have this type of title or that type of title to feel fulfilled at this age in my career.

Instead, by practicing Decagism, you should think, what would I tell myself to do if I were 10 years younger, and then, as long as it doesn’t put your family in a stressful financial situation, you should go and do it.

This would have more 30-something-year-olds taking the plunge to do a start-up instead of kicking themselves for not doing it while they were sophomores in college.

Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he founded Facebook. Nine years later at 28 years old, he was worth $13.3 billion dollars. Therefore, if you’re willing to put in the work at 30, then who’s to say you can’t be worth at least $1 billion by 39 years.

By any sense of imagination, that would be a successful life at 40.

We all know what Zuckerberg did and how he did it.

Instead of lamenting that you weren’t smart enough to think of and go all-in on a startup at 19, what’s stopping you from doing this at 30?

Therefore, when you think of yourself, you automatically think of yourself as 10 years younger.

So, while your real age might be 41, your decage is 31, and you should approach your decision-making as such.

Decagism is understanding how much you can accomplish in 10 years.

There is a famous quote from Bill Gates that I think sums up the philosophy of Decagism in a nutshell,

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Many people want get-rich-quick schemes and are so focused on doing something right now that if they can’t get it in a short amount of time, they feel it is not worth their time.

This causes many people to typically look for solutions that will get them the type of money or life that they want as quickly as possible.

This is why many people jump around from job to job, chasing a higher salary or title, or love diets like keto because it gives them that quick fix that they want.

Instead, more people should think about how they could actually get what they want in a much more sustainable fashion if they commit to doing the long-term work needed.

Therefore, instead of leaving to chase a director title with a new company in which you could be on the chopping block if things take a downturn, rather do the hard work of building a reputation with a company over time and earning that Director title that will make sure people know how truly valuable you are.

Instead of jumping on the keto bandwagon to lose as much weight as quickly as possible, eat and exercise in a fashion that will allow sustainable weight loss that you can keep off to create a different lifestyle for the rest of your life.

Decagism is about making decisions that take into effect the slow burn and grind of success and where you want to be in 10 years from now.

It’s about creating a plan and sticking to it and not being distracted by something shinier and easier but instead having a long-term version of who you want to become in the future.

Decagism is about talking to yourself 10 years in the future

This is the final kicker that should drive it home and solidify for those who truly want to live a life of no regret.

Just like you should do the mental exercise of talking to the 10-year younger version of yourself to make better decisions today and stay motivated to the long-term plan, you should also imagine going into the future and talking to yourself 10 years from now.

In that conversation, you will ask yourself how many things have you accomplished that you said you wanted to do over the past 10 years, and did you make all the sacrifices you said you would make to be successful.

Did you stop wasting the weekends drinking and going out to bars all the time or are you still telling yourself you will?

Did you learn that language or teach yourself to play that musical instrument or are you still telling yourself you will?

Did you get in the best shape of your life and create the body and life that you desire or are you still telling yourself you will?

I would imagine this would be not only embarrassing but rather depressing to have this conversation with your future self only to find out that you NEVER did many of the things that you said you were going to do in the future.

Instead, you kept making the same excuses week after week, month after month, year after year.


Don’t allow this to be you.

Instead, embrace Decagism to truly take advantage of this newfound knowledge to create the future you desire.

Hindsight’s 2020, but by practicing Decagism, it’ll almost be like you’ll have that time machine to turn back the clock and put those lessons learned to good use so your hindsight actually becomes foresight to build an amazing future.

If you know better, do better, and practice Degacism to live better.