And why that’s not a bad thing.
There’s been a recurring theme in my life where I plan for things to work out a certain way, and then they don’t. I’m sure you can relate.
But the fact is if you ask any successful professional whether they knew they’d end up in the spot they’re in, most will say no. For example, when Dr Blair Feltmate first became a professor, he had no idea that he’d be negotiating million-dollar deals with the insurance and resources industries (more on that here). But that’s what he’s doing now.
And while I didn’t ask Blair what his career aspirations as a young adult were, I can guarantee he didn’t see himself deeply entrenched in climate change adaptation. It just happened that one opportunity led Blair to the next, and so on and so forth, until he ended up where he is today (read about it here).
The moral here is that things rarely work out the way we plan them to. Unexpected opportunities pop up, doors close that we thought would be open, what we want changes, etc. So in the words of Assistant Professor Michael Wood, who pursued life for almost a decade before even getting a degree, “don’t worry about what’s next; be present in what you’re doing.”
This is a message to all the anxious, hardworking, success-driven people out there (and myself): take your sweet time to define what success is to you, and what your path is. Better yet, let it just unfold in front of you. The best you can do is to seize the day, take opportunities as they come, and gravitate around your interests. Just don’t forget to work hard.
Hope that soothes your soul. And out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on this?