Most young people know what they want to do in life.
Or at least they can self-prescribe the route to take on the way through life until self-doubt creeps in when someone or something challenges and insists they take a different path.
Can you relate to this? Have you ever been drawn to a certain profession or felt you had to learn a particular skill for your future?
My advice: Pay attention to that hint coming from within. Sign up for that training, ask your parents, relatives or friends to sponsor you, take up that hobby, follow through on your interest, take a job to learn.
Your inner compass is leading you in the right direction. Go in the direction of your interest and intuition.
I knew what I wanted to do at 18
At 18, I had the idea to go learn computers. Typing commands on the black MS-DOS screen was pure bliss from my first day; I felt I’d found my calling. That was 1998, before the internet went mainstream in Nigeria.
But within two weeks, another opportunity to attend the university showed up and I abandoned my computer lessons for one more attempt at a biochemistry degree.
Long story short, I came full circle nine years later to pursue a career in IT. Looking back, I can say I kind of knew what I wanted to do then but my desire lost against screaming ‘facts’.
Why did I want to sacrifice a good opportunity for a computer diploma?
This is what I’m saying: I don’t regret going to school but with some guidance, I would probably have made greater progress in information technology or had a more solid foundation if I had stayed with computers since 1998.
So it’s possible to have an idea about your future profession, and how to prepare yourself.
What stops us from going after our inclinations? Three things come to mind: parents, school, society. (The following is not an attack on any of these factors, only my observation of how things are.)
First, let me say that most parents mean well for their children. Most will tell you, some more forcefully than others, what you should or should not think of doing.
Nudges in the direction of school subjects to take, vocations to pay attention to, and others similar all come together as what they want you to do. As for what you really want to do? Sometimes they ask, often they don’t.
School, through teachers and administrators, tells us we have to achieve certain scores in certain subjects to consider pursuing an occupation:
How good is your maths? And physics? Not so good? Don’t even bother about engineering. Maybe you should consider a more suitable alternative like business administration.
School administrators are usually more focused on carrying enrolled students from one class to the other until a set is done than trying to help students establish why or why not or how they can pursue what occupation they feel drawn to.
Lastly, there is overwhelming noise about certain professions or industries, showbiz and entertainment are obvious ones.
People in those fields appear to make easy money without needing to attain some master’s degree or PhD, many barely going beyond secondary school.
Having an interest in showbiz is fine but is this what you want to do?
The way forward
These challenges are real but don’t give up hope. Here are a few things you can do to help you clarify the ideas in head and take action:
1. Pray to God about your future. I believe in a God who’s interested in our wellbeing and success as individuals.
Pray to God to help you understand your path better, and to provide the assistance you need.
2. Seek clarity for the idea(s) in your head. Write things down. Ask questions, record the answers you find. I’m a big fan of writing things down. You will get to know yourself better, as well as your challenges and opportunities when you write regularly.
3. Look for at least one person who will listen to you and support you. This can be your parent (most preferred), relative or even teacher. You will make better progress and succeed when you have a support system of encouragers and advisors to help you along your way.
4. Follow through on your ideas. Take steps in the right direction. If you’re reading this, you are probably well-equipped to take responsibility for your life. So, take action. Go for it.
If you’re confused about your future career, those ideas in your head might just be all you need to succeed now and into the future. All the best!
P.S. Want to talk? Please feel free to contact me via the comments section below or send me a message.