If you look back at your own life, or look through the biographies of famous people, you will notice that quite often the trajectory of life boils down to a handful of major decision points.
In fact, the average person has to make roughly 10 good decisions in their life.
And these major decisions will ultimately determine your happiness, wealth, and overall life satisfaction.
Before turning of age, most major decisions are made on behalf of you by your parents or care-givers.
Most likely, the first major decision you make will be related to your education.
Depending on how much freedom you get, you will have to decide on your primary school, your secondary school, your tertiary education and beyond.
The choice of your schools will determine the people you hang out with, and these people could likely end up as your lifelong closest friends.
For tertiary education, should you choose to do it, the major choice is where to study and what to study.
Your topic of study or specialisation would likely determine where you start off your career.
The next big decision you will need to make is what industry or market you want to start your career in.
For example, the past 10+ years have been very lucrative for those who went into the technology sector.
Of course, anyone can do well in any industry they choose to, but you will have an extra tailwind propelling you forward if the industry you pick is also trending upwards.
Ideally, you should also pick something that you are passionate about, and since jobs are getting more and more specialised, it will not be hard to find a niche that aligns with your passion within your chosen industry.
Next, as previously, mentioned, you need to find your niche within the industry.
This means deciding your responsibilities, day-to-days tasks, the company you work for, etc.
All these will determine the role you play within your niche.
Try to find roles that are multi-disciplinary, so that your skillsets do not become too narrow.
The previous 3 decisions mainly focused on your career trajectory, while the next 2 have to do with your relationships.
The fourth big life decision is choosing your life partner. You will need to decide who to marry.
You will need to know yourself very well by this time, so that you can find someone who is compatible.
This is someone who you will be spending the most time with, so it will affect all other areas of your life.
Pick correctly and you’ll always be happy. Pick incorrectly and you’re destined for a life of misery.
The next big relationship decision is whether to have children.
You will need to decide how many kids, when to have them, how to look after them, what parenting style to adopt, etc
This could affect your relationship with your life partner, and your life will tend to revolve around the kids, especially at the start.
Children are dependent on you. They’ll dictate how you spend your time, energy, money, resources, which could also affect your location, career, and your focus in life.
Do it right and it is incredibly rewarding. Know what you’re optimizing for.
The next big life decision is where you are going to live.
With globalization connecting everyone around the world, it is not a stretch to say that you can choose to work and life in any country, state, city or town.
There are many factors to consider of course, such as your job, your parents, your community, your friends, your kids, etc.
The place you choose is the lifestyle you choose.
Realistically, many people who do have kids usually place more emphasis on finding a good and safe place to raise their kids.
The seventh big decision is how and where you invest your money.
If you do it correctly, you will achieve financial security which gives a peace of mind, after covering all the basic needs like shelter, food, transport, education, medical care, etc.
This gives you the freedom of time to pursue the activities you enjoy instead of having to slave at a job you may not like just to make a living.
Many great investors make the bulk of their money from a handful of 10-bagger investments.
Look for those great opportunities (you only need a handful in a lifetime!), diversify your investments, start early to allow more compounding, and don’t be greedy.
After meeting all your basic needs and achieving financial abundance, the next focus is how you can contribute and give back to help others.
With your free time and resources, the possibilities are endless.
Volunteer with orphans? Rally for climate change? Build a foundation?
According to psychology, dedicating yourself to a cause or purpose larger than yourself to help others, ends up bringing you happiness.
Kindness is free. Choose to be a net giver & you’ll eternally be happy. Big life hack here.
Next, you want to think about your legacy, basically what you will leave behind once you are gone.
For many people, their main legacy is their children.
This means raising kids who are physically and emotionally healthy, self-sufficient, equipped with knowledge and wisdom, and most importantly imbued with good ethics, morals, and values.
Besides children, we may also want to leave behind a useful invention/discovery, books or art works, foundation for philanthropy, basically anything which leaves a mark and contributes to the progression of humanity after we are gone.
10. Living to the Fullest
If you have made good life decisions so far, you would already be much happier and better off than 90% of people.
With an excess of resources, and support, you can proceed to curate the life experiences you want.
However, since time is not infinite, you will still have to deal with trade-offs. You will need to decide what experiences and activities will give you the most joy and satisfaction.
My motto in life is to try as many new things as possible, so that I can minimize any regrets of missing out on anything.
And after trying things out once, you can then decide whether you want to commit more time to it.
“Never be afraid to try something new because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know.”
Spencer is an avid globetrotter who achieved financial freedom in his 20s, while trading & teaching across 60+ countries. As a former professional trader in private equity and proprietary funds, he has over 15 years of market experience, and has been featured on more than 20 occasions in the media.