Would you let a teenager take charge of your life?
After 20 years many people are stuck in the job a 17-year-old chose for them.
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Would a teenager know what’s best for you, understand what a grown adult needs in order to feel fulfilled and know your core values and passions in life?
You’d probably agree they likely lack the maturity and wisdom to make these life choices.
Teens live for the day, their life experience is limited, they still have much growing, getting to know themselves and learning about life to do. So they’re not that well-equipped to make choices which have long-term repercussions for you.
Well, what if I told you that is exactly what most people do? They let their teenage selves decide what they will do for the rest of their lives. Then they persevere with that choice even when it’s obvious a change of direction is appropriate.
I was recently shocked to find that even in this day and age our fifteen- and seventeen-year-old daughters are feeling pressure at school to figure out "what they want to do with their lives." Really? They can barely work out what they want to do next weekend, let alone actually stick to it!
I also fell victim to the "what do you want to do with your life" approach at school, but that was a long time ago. I’d hoped that things would have changed by now, but apparently that's not the case. At age seventeen I decided "what I wanted to do with my life" only to wake up at age twenty-six and realize it was not for me.
These days people do change careers multiple times in their lives. It makes sense that as you grow, mature and get to know yourself better, you’ll need to try different things.
If you chose your current career while you were still at school and are still loving it twenty years later, I applaud you. You’re one of the lucky ones.
However, after twenty years many people are simply stuck in a job a seventeen-year-old chose for them. They usually ended up on that path without giving it too much thought and now they feel stuck. They have a mortgage, a car loan, children; commitments and ties of all sorts.
They feel trapped and decide to bravely soldier on and "hang in there" until retirement. At least it pays the bills.
I’m not saying you should go quit your job, but if it’s not giving you much satisfaction, please realize that you do have options.
Go back to school. There’s night school and plenty of online learning options.
Most people stop learning when they leave school. They may go on to university or college, but after that they’ll usually only study what’s mandatory for their job or career. They stop learning, exploring and opening their minds to new ideas. They therefore also stop opening themselves up to new opportunities.
Sink your teeth into something that excites you. You’ll be amazed how much life this will breathe back into you.
You don’t have to take a radical approach. Go easy.
You can start building a new business or finish your new qualifications while you’re still working in your current job, paying your bills. You don’t have to take massive risks.
Yes, it’ll be a bit of hard work for a while, but it’s only for a short time. You’ll still have the rest of your life ahead of you. And you’ll get to spend it doing something that gives you true satisfaction.
Remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Do the thing and you’ll find the energy to do the thing.”
So go for it! It’s easier than you think.