I have long been amazed by those who set long term life goals and targets. People like medics have to start planning from as young as about 13 or 14 what they want to do. They can quite easily plan what subjects to take; how much work they need to do; the extracurricular activities that are needed in order to get into a degree in medicine and then plan the same again for how to go through there degree to achieve their end goal from the course. That is making plans for about 11 years of their life. Some even have an idea on what they would like to specialise in. To me that is commitment to planning that is beyond me. My life goals have always emerged very organically.
I don’t like to commit to that kind of long term plan because I never know what will be presented to me next. I embrace all opportunities that come my way and due to this I have developed a great many passions including: Writing, law, politics, journalism, art, design, silver smithing, cooking, acting, business and much more. The upside to this is I have a great deal of interests to keep me occupied, the downside is that it does make it difficult for me to choose one to pursue. That could be the reason that it was only a month or so before I confirmed my university place that I actually decided to do law and that was mainly because it leaves the most options open for me at the end. I suppose the benefit of not having a long term life plan is that you won’t have to settle for plan B if you never had a plan A. I feel it also gives me the opportunity to try everything and not feel it is irrelevant to what I want to do. Life is about the journey. I associate this kind of exploring of life with my mums approach to navigation: “if we keep driving we will get where we are meant to be eventually”. This frequently took us on far more interesting and beautiful journeys than if we had gone directly there; it also took a bit longer but it was worth it.
Despite saying I have not had strong initial long term goals I have always had two core things that have guided me in my choices:
- I want to be able to make a real difference to the world.
- (a lot more selfishly) I want to make money
The key difference though between what I have described as having my life goals emerge organically and “going with the flow” is that what I have described still leads to goals and represents taking full opportunity of everything that comes your way, being the best you can be in what you do, whereas “going with the flow” seems to lack goals, ambition and drive. Relating back to my metaphor of my mum’s navigation you still need to keep driving to get there; there is no point sitting in the layby waiting for the Edinburgh Playhouse to come to you. I hope you got that metaphor it is 2:15 and my brain if lulling between alertness and sleep.
Finally I will leave you with top tips to those that can’t seem to decide what to do.
- Try everything that interests you
- Give 100% to everything
- Don’t doubt yourself
- Keep hold of a sense of ambition, even if you don’t know what your ambition is
- Enjoy the Journey