Troubling to some, exciting to others, there’s a persistent question that comes around no matter what stage of life we may be tackling. It’s the question of planning your future. This thought could surface in discussion with friends, your family, a job interviewer, or your brain at 3 am.
One of the biggest reasons that the majority of us don’t like to think about the future – whether a plausible career plan or life in general – has been backed by science. Studies suggest that our brains think of our future selves as strangers.
But this doesn’t mean we should let ourselves off the hook. In fact, it gives us an opportunity to think about our future selves with empathy and care, like we would other people.
We know it’s tough, and we’ve mostly come to associate this superhuman skill with the highest achievers, justifying to ourselves that we’re not one of them. So to make things easier, we’ve listed a few things you could think about to think about the future. It’s time to think about thinking about putting our thinking caps on! Yes, there’s quite a lot of thinking ahead.
1. Have a plan, but also, don’t have a plan
Sounds confusing? Because it is! When you think about the future, the first thing that might come to mind is to make a plan that you could follow.
Maybe two years back, like a lot of us, you made a plan to travel the world in 2020. You know what we’re getting at. Plans tend to fail or get postponed. So don’t set rigorous timelines to whatever it is that you plan to do, whether you’re considering personal development or professional development backed by a career plan.
It’s a cliché because it makes sense to focus on your journey instead of your destination. Do that, and you’ll forget to ask, ‘Are we there yet?’
So have a general plan outlined, and fill in the colors on your beautiful and fulfilling journey as you go along.
2. Work for the tomorrow you want, today!
If you wish to achieve a goal tomorrow, you have to start today! Maybe your career plan is to have your own business someday or have a job that gives you the freedom to travel. Whatever your dream is, wake up and start working towards it now. Put in the required amount of work for personal development and start becoming the person you want to be tomorrow from today. Like they say, ‘Don’t dress for the job you have, but for the one you want.’
3. Actively participate in your present to change your future
Simply cribbing about your present and longing for a desirable future isn’t going to cut it. Everything you desire as a part of your professional or personal development has to be embedded into your life now. If you have some complaints about any current aspects of your life – maybe you have trouble managing your work hours, or perhaps you dislike the work you do for a living – it’s time to do something about it.
You need to start figuring out how and then start working towards eliminating what you don’t like. If it is out of your control, you could try changing your perception towards it. But your problems won’t disappear on their own, and your dreams won’t materialize on their own either.
3. Have someone to look up to
One of the best ways for personal development is learning from other people. There is always something to learn if you look in the right direction. Make it a point to look up to someone you admire. Maybe it’s not someone who has it all, but someone who constantly works towards achieving what they need. It could be one of your friends, one of your relatives, your colleagues, or an inspiring TED talk. Let someone inspire you to become the best version of you!
4. Don’t expect to know all the answers
- Because you can’t.
- Life might become a very tedious ride if you have all the answers.