IF you had known me ten years ago, you would know my dream was to grow up to be a Gynecologist. I didn’t know why I wanted that profession. I just knew I did. As I grew older, I realized that although I harbored an interest in the science subjects, becoming a doctor was not truly my passion. I eventually came to realize that the reason I had been so eager to pursue a medical career as a child was merely because of the expectations placed on me by my environment.
Coming from South-Asian roots, all my life, I was trained to think by everyone around me that the only honorable profession for any decent human being was that of a doctor. Accountancy came next, and all other professions were simply something you opted for if you couldn’t cut it into the medical field.
Lo and behold!I had no idea what I wanted to do next with my life. For my O/Level examination, I opted for the commerce subjects (the only other option offered at my School) simply because I didn’t think I could pass the science subjects.
I was lost. I despised discussing my future with my classmates or friends because I myself had no idea where I was heading. I was, as they say, going where the current took me, with no purpose, no direction. I was a ship with no heading, floating on the seas of life. Everywhere I looked, everyone was bubbling with enthusiasm, full of plans, full of ideas they had for their future.
Now, I want you all to stop right there. How many of us are going through this right now? How many of us feel lost and confused with where our life is heading? I’m writing this article with the intent of helping fix this problem.
Now when I say this, I don’t mean I’m going to give you the answers to your life problems on a silver platter, no. This is a journey one must endure on his own. It’s not an easy one, admitted. But the end will be worth it. I’m writing this piece to give you the tools that will come in handy whilst on this path. But before that, I want you to take a piece of paper, and a pencil, and do this test:
You’re in a room.
You’re with someone. A friend, an acquaintance, someone important to you. (Not a relative)
You’re nervous because you’re waiting for someone.
You’re going to introduce this person to your friend.
The door opens.
You walk in.
But not the you the way you are today. This is a different you. A You from ten years ago.
A You that you’re going to re-familiarize with.
Take a deep breath. Remember exactly how you were ten years ago. Even the small stuff. The insignificant stuff. Your favorite color then. Your fears. Your goals. What you wanted out of life.
Write it all down. Everything. Every minute detail.
Turn the paper over.
You’re in the same room. With the same friend.
But now you’re waiting for someone else.
The door opens.
And there you are.
A future you.
A you ten years from today.
A you you would like to be, but a version tinged with reality.
Write it all down. Everything.
Now. Take a step back. What did you remember? What did you foresee? Did you have any bad habits you overcame? Anything you have yet to overcome? Are you heading down a dangerous path? How different are you from the 10-year younger self to your 10-year older self? Do you like the changes? Do you not? What can you do to change that?
If you are not pleased with how you are turning out to become, don’t fret. You can change that today. It’s all about decisions. Do you have a nasty habit that can rule the rest of your life? Take the stance to make an effort to quit it. Seek the help that you need. If you don’t have the means or the knowledge to fix it on your own, seek help. If you’re not comfortable seeking help from a familiar, there are a number of scholars and imams and lecturers and friends you can reach out to. If you need help, all you need to do is ask.
The first and foremost thing any individual intending to charter his life’s course will need is a map. Not a map you can find at a local bookstore, but the one where you begin your life’s journey with the end in mind. Some of us, albeit having begun with our goals in mind, lose sight of the boon at the end.
We forget the purpose of beginning the entire project and get discouraged, and sometime abandon ship altogether. It is therefore essential that we are constantly reminded of the purpose of the endeavor. Keeping a mission statement, something we can keep going back to to remind us, is one great way of keeping the end in mind.
A mission statement can be anything. It can be something you jot down yourself, a poem, a statement, a phrase. It can also be something inspirational that you feel really boosts you and keep you on track. A story, real or not, famous works of poetry, anything.
Secondly, you’re going to need to take control of your own life. Imagine your life like a remote control. Different buttons control different emotions and thoughts. Now, it’s pretty easy to imagine the out of control spiral that can start if you give the remote control of your life to someone else. Imagine you center your life around someone so much that what they say/do/think influences every single moment of your life! Taking that remote control back into your hands, controlling your thoughts, and emotions, is one of the biggest and most important keys to success.
Lastly, prioritizing is the cherry on the cake. If you’re able to prioritize, to put first things first, to be able to identify what’s important and accomplish them, manage your time in such a way that you never have anything pending or overdue, you’re pretty much set on the road to success.
I understand that writing about achieving success is easy, I know, I’ve been there, I’ve gone through the frustration. The hard part is applying it into our own lives. But take it from someone who’s gone through it. It takes time, and sometimes, you just want to give up and crawl into a corner in defeat. But pushing through, fighting back, swimming against the tide, not only makes you stronger, but truly does help you accomplish things you never imagined yourself achieving.
All it takes is a bit of faith and perseverance in yourself, and trust me, you can move mountains!