“On any one day you can massively change the direction of your life.” ~Jim Rohn
Have you ever felt as though you needed to have your whole life figured out right now?
When we’re young, we are often encouraged to consider the same common careers such as being a police officer, firefighter, doctor, lawyer, or teacher. Then in high school, we feel pressure to make a decision because we’ll have to major in something in college.
We may love music, writing, or something that people associate with struggle, only to get bombarded by advice to do something that will make money.
People constantly ask us what we are going to do with our lives. The pressure on all of us is huge.
In college, this pressure only increases, because with a major, now everyone wants to know what you’re going to do with it. For example, I majored in sports medicine and Hispanic studies, and people would constantly ask me about my plans. When I said I wanted to be a physician, there was even more pressure from people. This creates stress and anxiety, and can push someone toward burning out.
There is a certain expectation that we need to pick a traditional career path, especially when we speak to older individuals who chose a career and stayed there until retirement.
The older I get, the more I realize there are many things I want to accomplish in this life, and I have no desire to stick to one career and be defined by it.
There are parts of me that are strategic, other parts that are itching for me to take crazy risks, and others that tell me I want to be the best doctor. There are so many things to fulfill that I am not quite sure what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I know there are other people who feel the same way. If that’s you, I want you to know that…
It’s okay to not know what you want to do, or to have a plan for a lifelong career.
There is time. Time to look at different careers and do as we please. No longer do we have to follow the traditional route of getting a job right away and sticking to that one job right for the rest of our lives. If we want to change, there is a way to do it.
After graduating from college, I traveled around Europe, took some classes, worked in the entertainment industry, and grew as an individual as I was exposed to different areas of life.
I met many different types of people who all provided different perspectives. The amount of learning and knowledge that I absorbed throughout these meetings was more than I could have gotten from any type of formal education.
Currently having my vision set on being a physician is great. I love medicine, and as of now, I want to be a doctor. However, I am not defined by my title of physician, because later on I may change careers. I may decide it’s time to open a business or join a jazz band and travel the United States.
I’m not sure what I will be doing for the rest of my life, but I know that if I continuously remind myself to have a smile on my face, I will be happy.
You don’t need to worry about other people’s opinions.
One of the things I struggle with is worrying about what other people think. The majority of people I met while working at a hospice center told me they were not afraid of failure or afraid of doing what they truly wanted with their life; they were afraid of what people would think of them.
This was eye-opening, because I realized how often we limit ourselves based on what other people say we should do, and that their opinions don’t matter because they are not living our lives.
The people who tell you no and criticize are often the ones who are not following their own dreams. They may have been knocked down by not succeeding and may have become jaded by the world. You don’t have to live your life based on what they say.
When I tell people that being a doctor is only a fraction of what I will accomplish in my lifetime, more than half of them make a comment or show through their body language that they don’t believe in my plan.
It’s frustrating how even the people closest to me do not support some of my views on life, and they make sure to let me know it. I am still learning to not be affected by this because it’s challenging, but I urge you to do the same.
Tell more and more people about what you want to do with your life because then it will become your truth, which will make it much easier to stick to your plan.
At the beginning of my undergraduate career, there were over 100 people interested in the pre-medical track. By the end of my college experience, there were around twenty who were still dedicated to the pursuit of medical school.
Time and time again, people told us how hard it was going to be, the sacrifices we were going to have to make, and how there were always people better than us. Those opinions discouraged the majority of my peers. As hard as it has been, sticking through it has been the most rewarding experience ever.
You can create a worthwhile future while enjoying the moment.
When we get wrapped up in believing we need to know what we’re going to do, we can lose sight of the present. I know many people who are constantly worried about the future. They’re afraid things won’t work out, and they never truly live in the moment.
We need to think about the future in order to create it, but we can actually do that most effectively when we focus primarily on the present.
People who diet often talk in terms of the future and how much weight they need to lose, but if they were to focus solely on the day and what needed to get done, before they know it, the results would show!
This kind of focus can be challenging, as this requires us to engage in positive habits every day in order to find success in what we desire. However, when we become conscious of what we must do every day, we can then relax knowing that in due time, the results of our consistency will show.
It’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life. I see a negative stigma associated with people who do not have a clear plan for their career path, but there’s nothing wrong with going with the flow and allowing yourself to grow, evolve, and change.
What is life if you make it to the end and do not have any exciting, crazy memories to look back on and remember with a smile on your face?
We should all go out and explore many different fields to see what we truly love—and we may need to do this several times throughout our lives.
Whether it’s working from a remote location, working with children, or becoming a missionary, do it all and see what you like best!
At any time we can change the course of our lives. It might not always be easy, but all we have to do is put one foot forward, knowing we’re creating a change that will bring us more joy in life.