Your Future Should Be Bigger Than Your Past. Here’s How to Do It

I recently got together with two of my best friends from high school, Jamie and Jason.

We’ve been friends for over 30 years.

We don’t see each other as often as we’d like to because life is busy.

Past FutureBut when we do it’s always amazing.

Sipping tea in the Sugarhouse neighbourhood of Salt Lake City, we found ourselves, as we often do, reminiscing about high school.

Sports, parties, weekend antics — you know how it goes.

But then, the conversation shifted from the past to the future.

It started simply enough, with one of us asking, “If we were having tea three years from now in this exact same place, sitting in these exact same chairs, what would need to happen for each of us to be happy with those three years?”

Talking about high school was great, but this was so much better.

You could immediately feel energy and confidence enter the room as we started scheming.

Turns out, we are not the first people to entertain this question. Dan Sullivan wrote an entire book about it.

Your FutureIn “The Dan Sullivan Question,” he talks about designing a question to help people make their future seem bigger than their past.

“The moment your past becomes bigger than your future, you die,” he said, when I eventually heard him speaking on a podcast.

I don’t know if I would go that far, but I do think he is on to something very important.

For starters, how can you ever expect to be where you want to be in three years if you don’t start thinking, planning and talking about it now?

Is that really something we want to leave to chance?

So let me ask you the Dan Sullivan question:

If you and I were to meet three years from today, what would you want to have happened for you, personally and professionally, in order to consider those years a success?

Think about that, and please leave a comment below.



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Carl Richards


Carl Richards is a Certified Financial Planner and a columnist for the New York Times, Morningstar magazine and Yahoo Finance. He is author of 2 books, The Behavior Gap & The One-Page Financial Plan. Carl lives with his family in Park City, Utah. You can find his work and sign up for his newsletter (which has an international audience) at

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