I was lucky enough to spend 4 years living in the future, not just in 2022, but also 2024 and 2025. It’s a lot to take in, as you might imagine, and although I know there are plenty of doubters out there, some people will always be sure that what I experienced wasn’t real. I’ve taken all the lessons I learned from being ahead of my time and written them down here so anyone can benefit from what I learned over those four years. Here are 7 things I learned from being ahead of my time.
1) My Story
These last few years have taught me a lot about how we think about, build, and trust technology. What’s more, it has given me valuable insight into the way in which information spreads—in all its forms. Just as importantly, I’ve learned that time is an incredibly subjective thing—so much so that our shared memory of events can be so different from what actually happened. In many ways, it reminds me of a larger philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it fall… did it really fall? But even if you aren’t convinced of these other reasons for learning to code, there is one overwhelming reason why you should learn to code now You need it to get a job. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a designer or an engineer or something else entirely; every company needs coders right now. And they need them yesterday.
2) Why you need to be willing to change everything
The most important lesson from 2021 is that nothing stays constant. If you’re not willing to adapt to change, your business will be left behind. Don’t get too comfortable with what you have—life is for growing and improving, not settling for complacency. Keep challenging yourself and others around you. Be humble enough to admit when you make a mistake or are wrong about something; but also be confident enough to stand your ground when it matters most. And above all else, don’t let fear of failure stop you from trying new things. You never know where those new experiences might take you.
3) The power of good habits
There are two things you can control about your life: how you react to what happens to you and what you put into your body. If you want to live a good life, focus on those two things. In 2022, I’m not going to lie and say my habits will be perfect—but when times get tough, or if something difficult happens in my personal or professional life, it will be easier for me to figure out how to fix things if all of my bad habits aren’t debilitating me in every aspect of my life. It’s hard to change your entire routine and identity overnight; take small steps each day and try not be too hard on yourself when slip-ups happen. When they do happen, stop and reflect before continuing on with your bad habits.
4) Wealth isn’t everything, but it makes everything easier
There’s a lot of pressure these days to be wealthy, but it’s not an end goal in and of itself. Still, wealth is a tool that helps with everything else. From freeing up time and energy to provide for our families better to having money to give back when we can to help others, wealth isn’t about numbers; it’s about freedom. Of course, gaining that freedom takes hard work and sacrifice—but sometimes you have no choice. My wife and I lived paycheck-to-paycheck for a long time and always felt like we were on shaky ground financially.
5) Do what you love
This is a big one. Too many people, especially in their younger years, do what they think they should do, rather than what they actually want to do. Always keep in mind that there’s no shame in working for someone else for a time—the important thing is to pursue your passions and work hard to make them come true. My foray into politics has been an amazing learning experience, even if it didn’t exactly turn out as planned. Ultimately, whatever you do should be something you enjoy; after all, who wants to spend 40 hours per week doing something they hate?
6) Money is just paper
Look around you. The world is a lot more digital than it used to be, but there’s no sign that paper money is going away anytime soon. We still have bills and coins in our wallets; we go to bank branches and use ATMs for cash withdrawals; we buy gas with credit cards. But what about all those newfangled currencies like bitcoin, Facebook credits, and gift cards? Are they real money? Is that $10 in your pocket actually worth $10? Or has money become more of an idea than an actual thing? Financial guru Jason Riley has a few ideas on why today’s dollars are worth just as much—or as little—as yesterday’s dollars.
7) Relationships are life
Life is about experiences and relationships. It’s about connections that strengthen you as a person, lessons you learn because of those connections, and moments that bring them to life. We need people to challenge us, support us, help us grow into better versions of ourselves. The more good relationships we have in our lives—whether it’s with family or friends or coworkers—the richer we become both individually and as a society. This isn’t just idealistic talk; there’s real science behind it all. As neuroscientist Alex Korb notes in his book The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time , Humans are built for relationships. You can’t be happy without having solid relationships with other people.