When you were little, what career opportunities were you dreaming of pursuing when you grew up? Maybe you knew exactly what career path you were going to follow to meet your goal. But what was it that happened, and why did everything turn out so differently than what was planned?
The amazing wonder of early childhood revolves around the basic fact that the possibilities in our lives are boundless. Every single day invites an opportunity to learn something new which we can internalise and build upon a little bit more. Unfortunately for all of us, that wonder slips away as we age, and adulthood then comes before we know what’s happened. Once we’re adults, we’ve got to always keep our feet firmly grounded.
In a seemingly futile effort to be more sensible, we have a tendency to reject anything which isn’t according to a plan – either a plan we personally create, or one that’s been given to us by another person. For instance, if we’ve decided we’re going to medical school, then right after high school we need move like we’re in a marathon, with four years of university followed by final exams, and then four plus years of medical school to complete the plan.
Our parents and those around us truly believe that we won’t develop a satisfying career if we don’t follow everything to the letter. Life isn’t about following an endless series of plans – it’s about really living. Everyone’s path is not the same, even when journeying to the same destination.
So, why do we feel compelled to stay on a rigid pre-chosen path for our lives, even when we don’t want to? It could revolve around a general lack of any better ideas, or simply because we are afraid to want something different.
The thing about plans is that we choose them based on the fact that someone else has gone before and figured out the path. That’s good – but for that person, and it’s definitely a leap of faith to “think outside the box” to search for your own way. Embracing new ideas is not about making unwise choices, but about taking chances to potentially enhance the quality of our lives.
Let’s go back to the law school scenario. There are many ways to practice law. A big corporate law firm may not be for you. Teaching or fighting for the civil liberties of the underprivileged might be what you desire. It’s not wrong to do these things. They may not bring you fame and fortune, but then that should not be the primary measure of our happiness. When life is all said and done, it’s the memories of those we helped and how it made us feel that we take with us.
Remember the creativity of your youth and apply this to your life. Make an effort to take control, and be moulded and shaped by your own personal thoughts and values – not those of society. Who knows? Charting a new course today may leave a lasting impression on all those who will someday follow.
Alan Gillies is the Managing Director of the Learning 2 Live Enterprise, an online Lifestyles resource which explores various aspects of business and pleasure, comprising an array of Lifestyle topics which cover Relationships, Health, Wellbeing, Career, Travel & Coaching, and more. Alan has a great deal of hands on experience throughout a wide variety of business disciplines including Coaching and Mentoring, Change Management and NLP training techniques.