This entry is the beginning of a three part series discussing what the next big thing will be for me after my student loans are fully repaid. Today, I’ll discuss two areas that are worthy of my hyperfocus while on Wednesday I’ll let you know which direction I’ve opted to move in for this big decision. Then on Friday, I’ll wrap-up this three part series with some thoughts about how I might begin the next hyperfocus. I hope you enjoy reading this miniseries!
The full repayment of my student loan debt should be coming up in the next few weeks. And if it’s not in the next few weeks, then it will certainly occur at some point this summer – and hopefully sooner rather than later. Those of you who have been along for the ride via this blog, my twitter feed, and through our personal discussions know that I’ve spent the last few years hyperfocused on repaying my student loan debt. There is a lot of discipline and new skills that come along with successfully hyperfocusing on one aspect of your life. With my student loans, for example, I’ve crafted some exceptionally useful spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel to track my income and expenses. These aren’t your run of the mill spreadsheets that one can find for download off of any financial website. Instead, these are highly customized spreadsheets that I built from the ground up and that I’ve been using day in and day out for years to track my income and expenses, short and long-term financial goals, and debt repayment.
Honestly, I’m not sure if I would have been able to quickly and successfully decimate my student loan debt without the organizational help and long-term planning provided by using these spreadsheets on a daily basis.
When you set your mind to completing a long-term goal, your mind will use your innate abilities to adapt your environment to help you achieve that goal. For me that innate readjustment was spending more time doing long-term financial planning through the use of highly customized spreadsheets and highly customized budgeting. And I couldn’t be happier with the end result (no student loan debt!) of this hyperfocusing.
Now, when it comes to hyperfocusing I have a decision that I need to make. When I sit and think about what my next big hyperfocus might be there are two items that come zooming to the front of my mind. The first is improving my health and the second is completing a doctorate. I don’t list these as first and second because that is how I rank them; either of these two items could be the next big thing that I hyperfocus on. Below are some of my ideas on each of these items and since I listed health first and a doctorate second above, I’ll give my thoughts on the doctorate first and my health second.
First, completing a doctorate would allow me to accomplish my long-term academic goal. As a high school student, I thought that I would eventually go on to become a lawyer. During that process, I would have obviously needed to earn a juris doctorate and thus would have obtained a doctoral degree in that manner. As we already know, though, I ultimately didn’t go in the direction of being a lawyer. Instead, I earned a master’s degree and I’m in the process of completing a post-master’s certificate. Frankly, you can’t get many more education credentials than what I have right now… except for a doctorate.
And even with these various certificates and commendations, obtaining a doctorate is still a very real goal of mine and one that I think about somewhat frequently. Not only does a doctorate open up the possibility of becoming a full-time professor, but there is a unique air of certainty that comes from someone speaking as a doctor versus speaking as an “expert” in a field. And since most “experts” have doctorates anyway, enrolling in a program to obtain one wouldn’t be out of bounds for what I do in my work.
Second, I could hyperfocus on improving my health. Whether we like it or not, our health is that one thing that we can’t get away from in our lives. Of course when we do get away from it our lives typically aren’t as robust as they could be or they just downright don’t last as long as they should. For each of us, our health is that thing we see in the mirror each morning and that thing we are somewhat consumed with when engaging in and interacting with the outside world. Let’s be honest, folks. We live in a very superficial society where a person’s appearance matters. You can be a brilliant scientist on the verge of curing cancer, but if you’re fat or generally out of shape, the superficial American public doesn’t give a damn about you. That is, they don’t give a damn about you until you can do them some good by providing a cure for their sicknesses!
I am confident that once I am no longer hyperfocused on repaying my student loans, I’m absolutely going to focus on one of the two items above. It’s either going to be the full completion of a doctoral program or a sincere focus on improving my health. Stick around the blog for this Wednesday’s entry where I’ll let you know which of the two I’ve selected. See you then!