Recently, I had a conversation with a colleague. It was not just a business conversation, and it was not just a colleague. We were talking about personal as well as career development, and all kinds of thing that came up around it. There were a universe of possibilities we could foresee, but we agreed on one thing: While we can, and should, push ourselves toward certain direction, life often times set its way apart of our choosing.
A part of that conversation that kept me in wonder for sometime was the one about how we set goals in professional life. My colleague believes that the best way to build a career is by letting life reveal itself, and we just have to enjoy and do our best go through whatever life has to offer. This sounds very evolutionary to me, and while I agree to her statement, I also believe that we have to set our eyes to several possibilities and push ourselves to explore those directions. In other words, I believe that we must also proactively plan for which possibilities may serve us best, which is somewhat more revolutionary.
No one can fully predict what will happen in the future. Not even the near future. Therefore, we need to see all options, and pick a few among the most promising alternatives, and invest ourselves into them. And, along with what she said, it will be revealed which one among those few alternatives is the best path to pursue further.
Sounds like logically correct, right? But, I can’t deny that there is more in her view.
Yes, there are ways to predict and plan in life, from the blind guessing to the most complicated forecasting methods. Still, no one will be able to guarantee a 100% accuracy on prediction, to assure a 100% according-as-planned execution. Neither gut feeling or the smartest brain can ever give us 100% guarantee that the prediction will definitely happen. Mathematically speaking, there are always a chance that things will not go as expected, planned or predicted.
I think, we are not supposed to predict, though. Predicting, for me, is basically saying that we are assuming that the future already lies ahead. It conveys the idea that life is like a book, where things are already written on the next pages. We just have to predict, or guess, what will come next. Some even believe that there are ways, or tricks, to fast forward to next pages. I’m sure you must have met people who believe there are ways to speed up or create a shortcut the process of climbing the ladder of professional life through instant tricks!
But, professional life, and all changes that happen in it, is not necessarily like that. A shortcut in professional life is more of a short-lived game of marketing gimmick, and not a real professional portfolio building. Soon enough, there will be unexpected challenges that push us to prove whether we are really capable in what we professionally claim to be. When this time come, it is no longer about our CV or personal branding. It will be about who we truly are.
This is where my colleague’s view become even more profound. In her view, our real professional capabilities are developed through the interaction of personal passion with all kinds of experience, opportunities and challenges we face in our working life. All of these shape who we are as professionals, despite all whatever expectation and plan we have for ourselves. While this view is definitely evolutionary, I couldn’t agree more!
In a simple words, life is a messy intertwining actions and consequences. We can only try to understand it better by setting a clear goal, prepare effective plan and take revolutionary action to make it work according to our expectation. But, it is still a path of surprises and challenges, and will continue to push us to check and adjust our plan. Our expectation and logic encourage us to think as a revolutionary, through goal setting and smart planning. On the other hand, life is teaching us to be an evolutionary by accepting that life surprises forge us to become the true best of ourselves.
Therefore, my dear fellows, keep thinking as a revolutionary, but be wise enough to act as an evolutionary!