Knowing what you want to do in life

How is it that some people know exactly what they want to do from the time they are little children and others get to a ripe old age with no idea what they really want to do in life? Isn’t that just fascinating, that you can talk to a young boy today and ask him what he wants to do. He could tell you that I want to be a teacher, pilot, engineer, doctor , whatever the case may be and sure enough, if you follow up with him many years from now, you might find that he has achieved his goal or dream in life. Where does this clarity in life come from? Where does such a young child get that confidence to talk like that?

Is there anything that can be done to make it easier for people to know what it is that they really want to do in life. When I talk about what someone wants to do in life I am looking at both careers and business, entrepreneurship?

Let us look at a few things that could help. These things can apply to children and adults as well. Let’s get into it.

More exposure and choices

I think that it is incredibly important for children to be exposed to as many activities, games and sports as possible. Why, so that they can find and discover what it is that they really like and are good at. The more information we have from an early age about ourselves, the better our chances that we will make the right decisions.

At a very young age I had quite an interest in words and reading in general. However, as I got older, I put less focus on reading and the arts type of subjects and much preferred sciences. My exposure to the literary world was limited and I started to believe that sciences were somehow superior to arts and humanities. This had a profound effect on the career decisions I would make.

Many many years later I find that I have defaulted to my early love, words, thoughts and ideas. I like to be driven by logic in arriving at decisions but I think I am very much an artist and creative force at heart. So if you asked me as a child what it is that I wanted to do as an adult, I would have answered that I want to be an aircraft engineer. I was intrigued and still am fascinated by the world of numbers but I find that does not come close to inspiring people with thoughts and ideas about the ordinary in life.

I reckon that with more exposure as a child I would have been able zone in on my strengths earlier in life.

Be prepared to experiment

I think we need to encourage children to experiment, to try things out and see what happens. Perhaps we are too early sometimes in enforcing structure and rules where there should be none sometimes. If people are willing to experiment beyond their comfort zones they may discover new things about themselves and who knows perhaps venture in that direction.

As children we are quite easy to experiment, jump about and do all sorts. However, we lose this inhibition as we get older. We are a more calculating and cautious which is both good and bad. It helps to keep us out of trouble but sometimes it also keeps some of the awesome things that can only come about through through random, spontaneous acts.

Follow your heart but…

Follow your heart and the money will come. I have heard this for as long as I can remember. Yes follow your heart, why not. However, if you are going to follow your heart, you have to do the homework and the research.

What good is following your heart if that is done for a place of ignorance? Find out as much as you can about where you want to be and if there is still resonance after all the information and discovery you make then it might be the thing for you. So let’s take the example of a young girl thinks she really wants to save people’s lives. She wants to be a doctor and is greatly inspired by medical dramas and documentaries and can’t wait for the real thing one day.

However in researching about the profession and connecting with real-life doctors, she finds out that as a doctor you have to be prepared to deal with blood and dead bodies a lot. She had seen this on television and it was not a big deal but now when it is real, it is a completely different story.

There is a very good reason why during medical training, the students are exposed to dead bodies, cadavers, very early on. You need to screen out those who cannot handle such. At that very point some call it quits because it is simply too much for them to handle and they have to move on to something else less traumatic for them. Ladies and gentlemen, follow your heart but…

Keep the money out of it, early on


I think early when you are looking at what you like, you have to keep the issue of money out of the discussion, at least for a time. So let’s say you really want to sing and you want to be a singer. So you give it a go and you realise that as much as you like singing, you are not going to cut it because you just don’t have the voice for it. Because of that, you are not going to be able to make a living from it. You only got to that point because you kept money out of the equation. If you focussed on money from the word go, you might never have found the courage to at least try it out. And sometimes not trying something out eats away at our heart, because we are always wonder what would have happened if we had tried to do something. Keep the money bit out of it because if you pull the love of money into it, it could corrupt the whole process.

Luck

Is there such a thing as luck in choosing what you want to do in life? Some people just seem to know. What is your different about these people that their stars just seem to align in life? They make the choice of what they want to do and it just seems to be a perfect choice and others make their choice and it turns out to be a disaster. How does that happen? Such contrasting fortunes in life. What is up with that really? Could it be down to a simple thing as luck?

You never know

Honestly, I think you never really know if you are going to really enjoy and be fulfilled by something. Sometimes you can venture into something and be deeply fulfilled it by it but only for a season. And when that season ends, you have to move on to something else because a chapter in your life has come to an end. Some people can do one thing forever in life while for others the only constant they can stand in life is change.

I think back to my high school days and recall some of the bold declarations we made to one another about what we would do in life. As I take stock I realise that very few people delivered on their goals and dreams. I can’t help thinking, did they discover at some point that their initials goals and dreams were not really for them or something along the way.

How did things pan out for you? Did you always know what you wanted to do? I would love to know!

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