When I was back in my former secondary school and had a discussion with headmistress, I asked what’s the biggest challenge for teenagers these days. She straight away pointed out that the students (majority of them) are lack of direction in life. No goals, no objectives.
I almost blurted out that, “Even adults a lot of them don’t have directions too”.
Few months ago I met a Fengshui consultant, he volunteered to analyze my destiny by looking at my birth date. By the way, it was my first time doing anything like this! I have never talked to any fortune-teller / drawn divination sticks at temple before. Based on his analysis, I am someone who is lack of direction. Well … let’s just take it with a pinch of salt.
It’s partially true, I was someone lack of direction when I was still a teenager. I had no idea what should I do in life, apart from studying, tuition, and other curriculum activities.
Why so? Apparently we are accustomed to everything being arranged by others. Our parents, teachers, seniors; they are the ones who did all the work for us. From daily meals to outfits, day-to-day activities whether they are leisure or academic related, all are arranged for without us involving much in the process.
When we are asked for opinions, we just answered “not sure”, “whatever”, “I don’t know”, “anything”. By default, we give these kind of answers. Where to go for lunch? What to do this weekend? What should I wear? I don’t know.
“What to do when we grow up?” “I don’t know!” We give our default answer.
Now instead of default answer as I don’t know, how about we change the way we respond to these questions?
1) Explore Options
We often answer “I don’t know” because we know too little. We don’t know what other options are available. Hence the first step to take is to explore for options. For example, “Where to go for dinner?” Explore online, offline brochures, find out at least 3 places to have dinner. If not, think of cooking at home as another option.
2) Decide on Top 3 Ideas
After putting up a list of ideas, now shortlist the top 3. Suggest back to the other person who asked you the question, and discuss together. If you are the one asking yourself a question, for example, “What should I become when I grow up?”, do the same. List down top 3 preferred ideas.
3) Analyze the Pros and Cons
For each of the option, analyze the pros and cons. Of course, we don’t need a suffocating analysis for dinner idea. But we can do this for something more important, which might make a substantial impacts in our lives. List down what are the benefits if you take option A, what is the downside of it. In business world, we call this SWOT analysis – strength, weakness, opportunity, threat.
4) Rank the Options
When you have nailed down on 3 ideas and finished analyzing each, next is to rank them. The top most would be your best case scenario, second one is your best alternative, and third one as your worst case scenario. Yeah, now we have a plan!
5) Take Action
No plan is useful without actions. Actions are louder than words and reality might be different from our own imagination! Take action to experiment with different jobs, it can be job shadowing, volunteer for others, freelance project or part-time etc. Only after we experience things personally, then we know what is the actual reality.
I bet you have better ideas about future and direction after all these steps. Don’t thank me, thank yourself for being a proactive action taker 🙂