Ask anybody in their 20s what their plan for the rest of their life is, and you’ll likely get a wide range of responses. Whether they’re in college, at their first “real” job, taking time for personal development or any other of a plethora of possibilities, you’re likely to get a broad scope of options that ultimately resolve to the same core message:
“I have no [choice adjective] idea.”
There are so many societal pressures on young adults to have their life together and know exactly what they’re doing with their future, yet there are so few people who truly have it figured out. Every now and again, you ask someone this question and they give you a well-thought out layout of their next few jobs and a near-perfect estimation of where their life is going and exactly how they’re going to get there. I tell people my projected career path, and they often make some sarcastic remark about a “man with a plan” or some similar quip.
There’s a secret about trying to predict your future, though: your plan isn’t going to hold up any better than anybody else’s (or lack thereof). No matter how much planning you do, reality is always there to throw you a curveball that puts your meticulous career orchestration to shame. Many people combat this inevitable truth by crafting a branching roadmap of possibilities based on opportunity and projected failures, allowing them to hit the ground running if and when they get knocked down.
Does this mean you shouldn’t be finding a direction and taking control of your life? Not in the slightest. By all means, find your passion, translate it into a real-world ambition, and from that, derive the drive with which you realize your dreams. If you have the desire to achieve a vision, any curveball life throws you is a new way to manifest that goal.
Passion is the greatest semblance of a plan you can ever have. It’s an ideal that can’t be killed; a motivating force that becomes the reason why you do what you do (and gives you a leg up in communicating your goals). It pushes you to take risks when you become professionally or personally stagnant, and lets you feel that there’s always something more that you can reach for. Few people ever became truly fulfilled by doing exactly what everybody tells them they should be doing – that is, unless your passion happens to be a 9-5 desk job.
However, if what you’ve just read makes you uncomfortable, I invite you to reflect on your true passion. Find something you love to do, and chase it. Capitalize on the vast amount of opportunity in the world, and think outside the box: often, the greatest opportunity to do what you love is found where you least expect it. Pay attention to industries you may not have given a serious thought to before, and think of where you can plug yourself in and create success – both monetarily, and in manifesting your own personal passion.