Trajectory: Which Path Will You Choose?

Today, I’m going to share with you a concept that I absolutely love. It’s something that I remind myself of on a regular basis to help me move forward, stay focused and stay disciplined in the direction of my goals.

It’s a concept that I like to call trajectory.

Your trajectory is simply the path in life that you choose. When you continue to progress your life in a certain direction you will reach a certain end-goal. The thing is, a slight change in your trajectory can lead to huge differences in the outcomes you get in life.

 

Trajectory: Which Path Will You Choose?

 

Let’s Get Specific

Let’s look at an example. If you’re currently at University or if you think back to when you were at University, you had the world at your feet and you could choose the subjects and majors that you wanted to study. You could say that this point in time was the starting point of your career.

Let’s say you had an interest in doing Marketing and an interest in the Arts but you had to make a decision between the two and build a career in one of them. In this case, you choose the Arts. Over time, you become very proficient in the Arts and you gain a solid understanding in your early career to propel you forward.

Now, what if you chose Marketing? Well, this would mean that you have set a completely different path and direction for your life. Again, in the first few years you will have developed a solid foundation and understanding of Marketing which can propel you well into the future.

You can imagine the difference in your path and outcomes as like in the graph below. The bottom (x axis) represents time and the left (y axis) represents the degree of variance in the outcomes you will achieve from following a certain path.

 

 Trajectory

 

As you can see from the above graph, the choice of path you take can have a significant impact on your destination in life. The path that you take is what I call trajectory. What trajectory are you currently on?

Now, what if you continued going down that particular path for more than 3 years? What if you spent 12 years working towards that particular goal?

As you can see from the chart below, over time, this leads to a HUGE variation in outcome in your life.

To put it into perspective, the little red box in the bottom left-hand corner represents the original chart above after just 3 years.

 

 Career Choice Graph

 

 

Current Life vs Desired Life

Now, where am I going with this?

I want you to know that the CHOICE of path you take can have a HUGE impact to the outcomes you desire in life.

That one simple choice you made at University and for your career can have a profound impact on your social groups, your love life, your free-time, your health, your knowledge and expertise, your location of residence, your income and the experiences that you have in life.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of people that are living a life similar to the below chart.

 

 Desired Life Chart

 

I see people on a particular trajectory that is currently leading them down a path that is unrewarding, unfulfilling and will not get them to what they truly desire in life.

And, as you can see, the longer they stay on their current trajectory, the greater the degree of variance from their desired life.

Let’s bring this back up and look at it with a common, real-life example.

You might currently be in a job that you dislike. Perhaps you knew early on in your career that you didn’t really enjoy the career path that you chose, but it paid you well and so you stuck at it. Now, perhaps 10 years later you have worked your way up and have solid experience under your belt. The only problem is, you still really dislike the career path that you have chosen and you’re still not satisfied, fulfilled or happy. You still have a deep desire, if not even deeper, to really pursue a career and life that is much more meaningful to you.

Now, the only problem is it’s a lot harder to move towards your desired life because the degree of variance is much greater than what it was years ago. When it comes to your career, this degree of variance can also represent income in many cases. The longer you are in your current job/career, the greater your income becomes and the harder it may be to completely change your trajectory and progress down your desired path.

Can you imagine how different your life would look right now if you made the decision 3 years ago to change your trajectory and start progressing towards your desired life? What if you made that decision 6 years ago? 10 years ago? 20 years ago?

 

Unhealthy Life vs Healthy Life

Let’s look at another common example. Let’s say you have the desire to lose weight and be more fit and healthy.

Firstly, you might currently be on a trajectory that provides you an unhealthy lifestyle. It might be that you are working longer hours and often eat takeaway. It might be that you prefer to watch TV as opposed to doing exercise. It might be that you simply haven’t made the conscious decision to start living a healthy life.

 

Healthy Life Chart

 

If you stay on that same trajectory, with time, the degree of variance from your desired life will only expand. You will put on MORE weight. You will have LESS energy. You will continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle.

Now, if you make the decision to set yourself up on a new trajectory and start living a healthy life, you will start to make some progress.

Initially, the progress will be small, but if you continue down that new trajectory you will see the results that you desire. Achieving results takes time. It takes hard-work, commitment and discipline in staying on that same trajectory no matter how difficult it may seem.

 

What Can You Do Right Now?

The most important thing you can do RIGHT NOW is to determine what the right trajectory is for you. Examine what your current trajectory is and ask yourself whether continuing down this path will lead you to the life you desire the most?

 Getting Started on the Right Trajectory

Here are some basic steps to get you started:

  1. Identify your desired outcomes in life
  2. Determine whether your current trajectory or path is leading you to those outcomes
  3. If not, identify what actions and steps are required for you to progress down your new trajectory
  4. Make an immediate decision and take immediate action and take your first step on your new trajectory.
  5. Stay focused, determined and disciplined in moving down the path of your new trajectory. This will be the hardest challenge you face. It’s human behaviour to want to stick to things we know and stick to things we are comfortable with. Make sure you are aware of your own comfort zone and remain committed to expanding your comfort zone and reaching the outcomes you desire.

 

Focus, determination and discipline, coupled with time, can lead you to anything you desire in life.

 

Want Some More Guidance?

There are a ton of other strategies you will need to be successful in progressing down your new trajectory and these are all provided to you in the Launch Your Life Academy. The good news is, the doors to the Academy are reopening next week! So if you’re keen to start living a passion based life and want to stay focused, motivated and disciplined in doing so and achieve the results in life you desire, then I highly recommend you get started with the Launch Your Life Academy. The doors are opening next Tuesday, 29th April for a very limited time so lock it in your diary! 🙂

 

For the Comments

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the concept of trajectory. Are you currently on the right path in your life? Do you desire to change? Have you tried changing previously? What successes or challenges have you experienced when stepping onto a new trajectory?

See you in the comments!

Brendan

 

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About the author 

Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

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  1. Hi Brendan,
    Wow, this post is full of detail, love the graphs you provided to add some visual cues. The trajectory technique really works well and I use it too. I’m a big fan of writing down my goals and also doing at least 3 things that day towards my desired outcome.

    Take care,
    Justin

    1. Hey Justin!

      Great to hear from you. I love that strategy… doing at least 3 things and committing to them. Even if those 3 things are small things it’s still progress and moves you towards where you want to go. Nice work!

  2. In all cases – decide what do you think is your ideal life, plan, and start now. To top it all off, -be consistent.

    Nice post, Brendan, and I really like how you present the effect of a decision and its effect over time.

    1. Hi Wan,

      You nailed it. Consistency is key, yet it is often the hardest part. Consistency takes self-discipline, focus, determination and support which can all be created when you implement specific strategies into your life.

      Decisions can lead to huge changes in your life over time… HUGE! 🙂

      1. Regarding decisions, do you think the same trajectory can be accepted by those who regret the time they wasted in life?

        I mean, let’s say that a person is really old (maybe 60-70s) and he thinks that he doesn’t need to care about his decisions because it’s too late for his decision to have an impact later in life.. What would you say to him? Can the trajectory model influence to think that it’s not too late.

        1. *”Can the trajectory model influence him to think that it’s not too late?”

          1. Great question. The model is still effective because every decision is a decision at a point in time in your life. If the last 40 years have been wasted on something undesirable, that’s not to say you can’t make the next 20 years very effective.

            What I would say to that person is still the same question: “What do you want your life to look and feel like?” followed up with “what steps are you going to take to make that happen?”

            If someone made a decision at age 20 to become the CEO of a large multinational company, he has a good chance considering he is clear of his desintation and has plenty of time to grow into it. Whereas if someone who is 60 that spent the last 40 years wasted on something else decides today to become a CEO of a multinational company, then it probably won’t happen. But if that same person is realistic in their expectations, they can set a realistic goal, perhaps something like “I want to run my own business that manufactures and sells board games”, then he can certainly start to go down that trajectory and reach that destination.

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