February 8, 2011 14 Comments
I was talking with BF the other day about the future. Thinking about my post where I imagined my life in 5 years.
It occurred to me while we were discussing the future and what we want from our lives that the different between successful people and unsuccessful people may not be in ability, but instead on direction.
In a way I think of life as a highway. And as I see it there are four different paths we can take when it comes to the highway.
I actually doubt many of these people exist. But I imagine them being people who not only know where they are going in life, but also know how to get there. They’ve sat down, planned it all out, and they’re ready to go. The get on the highway, start driving, and they go to their desired destination. They may get off at a few different exits along the path, but they know eventually where they’ll end up. Or if they do change their mind about where they want to be they sit down and plan an exist route to their new destination. (I’m not a Go-Getter.)
I think a lot of college students are wanderers. They get on the highway, they drive, and they hope they’ll end up somewhere good. They don’t have a lot of ambition towards a particular destination, but hope that they’ll enjoy it when they get there. Maybe as they start driving they find a highway they like and stay on it for quite some time, and maybe eventually a destination. I could definitely say I fit in to this category. I wasn’t sure where I was going when I first started out in life, but I knew that if I just kept going I’d get somewhere. And sure enough, I got somewhere and I love it!
I sort of imagine the lost as those who knew where they wanted to be but didn’t have the ability to read a map. So they wanted to be an M.D. and got on the highway to nowhere instead. Maybe they lost their way, maybe they got distracted, maybe they were too high on themselves to simply ask for directions, or maybe their car wasn’t good enough to take the long trip. So they pulled over, or maybe they’re spinning in circles not sure what they’re doing. They’ve lost their way, if they ever had it. Their destination is still in mind, but they have no clue how to get there.
This group is afraid. Afraid to even get on the highway. Afraid to start a journey. Afraid to pick a destination. Afraid that destination might be wrong or that they may go on the wrong path and become lost. Afraid to try anything. So they don’t imagine for the future, they don’t think of a path. They blame everything around them for why they haven’t taken a journey: Their parents, their financial situation, their family, their “can’t give up” means-nothing 8-5pm job. They’re scared to think of the future, think of the possibilities, to go out of a limb, get in the car – and just drive. They’re afraid they’ll mess up – but their real mistake was letting fear stop them from getting anywhere.
Where are you on the highway of life? Are you going straight towards your intended destination? Have you pulled off on a detour? Are you afraid to even get started?