Like most of my posts, this post just came to me as a thought and will probably take me about 5 minutes to write (alright grammar Nazi’s I hear you – maybe I should spend more than 5 minutes writing…). I was driving home the other day and had this thought about my kids – I tend to do my best thinking when I’m alone in the car signing. I was thinking for how much I want my kids to be successful, it might be more important for me to wish them this one seemingly simple thing:
“The ability to know what you want to do in life.”
Simple, right? Simple, but it seems like so many people I meet in life don’t know this and really struggle most of their life because of this one little concept. Yeah, we know all the statistics – you’ll change jobs 132 times during your career, blah, blah, blah. This is something you can’t give to someone -it’s truly their journey. People go to college and can’t make this decision. They decide not to go to college and can’t make this decision. They go and do and try and try again – and still don’t know what it is that they want to do in life.
I don’t take this concept lightly, and I don’t think most others do as well. That is probably why it becomes just an overwhelming process. “What is it that I want to do for the ‘rest’ of my life?” There in lies the problem with this concept – ‘rest’ – to try and make someone chose what they want to do for the ‘rest’ of their life is almost impossible. I think it’s great when I meet someone and they have this desire and passion of knowing what it is they want to do with their life. It’s such a great energy to be around. I’ve seen it in teachers, clergy, doctors, etc. – it feels like a calling to them.
But I can’t get over the majority – the majority of folks who don’t have this ‘calling’ and yet still feel like they are waiting for something to do for the ‘rest’ of their life.
Here’s what I will tell my sons when they feel this pressure put upon them by society, by me, by whomever feels it’s their right to place burden:
“Do it all.”
“Try everything. Then try it again if you want.”
“Never feel like you have to do any one thing for the ‘rest’ of your life.”
G*d, I hope I have the foresight and courage to say this to them! Knowing what you want to do in life, really at any given time, might be the greatest single gift you could have.
It’s wonderful that you are getting ideas from this article
as well as from our argument made at this time.
From one Tim to another…I hear ya! I think about this often as I too have young kids. I remember when I was approaching the end of high school; I had a tough time figuring out “what” I wanted to do. The worst was there weren’t many people to help me figure that out. I’ll tell you something… it would have been much easier if someone helped me figure out the “why” rather than the “what”.
If someone can figure out “why” they do what they do – their purpose – then it becomes a whole lot easier. Once you figure out your “why” you can do a variety of “what’s”. I realized my “why” later in life (not realizing that I knew it all along, just needed to be reminded)…and that’s what clarified my career path. I’m sure I’ll have many different types of roles, but the “why” will remain the same.
Help your kids figure out their “why”…it’s important. They will thank you for it…someday.
Do you really want your kids to know what they are going to do with the rest of their life, or do you really secretly want them to explore, try different things, and enjoy the journey? I think a natural adult tendency is to focus on the destination more than the journey, and that could be a big mistake. Because in reality there isn’t a lot of foresight and that means that sometimes what a person ends up doing doesn’t resemble what they thought it would be like. Hence, dissatisfaction and the terrible penalty of regret and what could have been.
I challenge my kids to get better everyday, at something. Try new things, as you’ve stated and in doing so figure out what you like and want to do. If you try something and you don’t like it, try something else. Don’t feel tied to a particular goal, it’s way too early for them. The best way to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life is by wandering … and the journey will be that much more rewarding if it hasn’t been a point A to point B journey.
That’s my two cents.