Having No Big Life Vision Is Okay. Life Takes Care of Itself.
You don’t always need a map to find your way
Getting lost is not an option.
You must have a life plan, a strong ‘WHY’, an ambition, a goal, and a purpose. You must have a business plan if you’re a business owner, a lesson plan if you’re a teacher, an editorial plan if you’re a blogger.
‘Winging it’ is for the lazy and the disorganized, while the most successful people have a clear vision of where they’re going. They’ve been saying this over and over.
“If you don’t have a vision where you go, you drift around and you never end up anywhere.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger
“I believe in the saying, ‘If you aim at nothing, you’re going to hit nothing.’ So if you don’t set goals, then you have nowhere to go.” — Taylor Lautner
“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.” — Earl Nightingale
Wise words. But whatever wise words you hear, the opposite of those words is also likely to be true.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t get lost. You’ll find your way. I have a short personal story to prove this.
Finding my way without maps
In 2011 I was an office worker in Italy — my native country — in a place where no more than two people were allowed to stand in front of the coffee machine at break time.
No two days were different and the paycheck at the end of the month was all I cared about. I was 24, had done nothing with my life, and already had a dead-end job.
I felt trapped. I felt they were robbing me of my time but I didn’t know what job I wanted. In fact, I had no idea what I wanted in life.
One day I walked into my boss’ office.
“I’m resigning. I’m flying to London next week.”
I was smiling, he wasn’t.
“London? What are you going to do there?”
“I’ll be making sandwiches in a shop.”
“Is this what you want to do in life?”
“No, but I’ll be learning English.”
“Okay. Just remember that if you don’t know where you’re going, you risk crashing into a wall.”
His words killed my smile. They awaken that part of me that had been saying, “You’re leaving a permanent job for the unknown? What are you doing?!”
My boss sensed I didn’t really know what I was doing. All I knew was that I would make sandwiches in a foreign country and learn a second language — nothing else.
No plans, no maps, no big visions.
But then in London, I fell in love. Not with a woman, not with making sandwiches, but with learning English. And when I discovered I could even teach it for a living, I thought, That’s where I’m going. I want to become an English teacher.
I ended up studying for academic qualifications and teaching my second language around the world. For the first time in my life work didn’t feel like work.
I didn’t crash into a wall. Instead, I knocked down several walls along the way thanks to the power of the passion I had discovered.
I found my way.
Ending up somewhere else
Why do we believe that ‘crashing into a wall’ or ‘ending nowhere’ are the only option available when you don’t have a vision? Why such a pessimistic prospect? Can’t it be that we’ll find a mine of gold instead?
But it’s true, when you have a goal everything becomes easy. You know where to direct your efforts because there’s a clear target to hit.
That’s what happened to me when I learned I could work as a language teacher. All my energy went into that so, no, I’m not advocating for leaving everything to luck or fate. Be in control by having a vision. You can’t live your life hoping that something magical will happen.
But the opposite of that is also true: let randomness rule and life will take care of itself. It’s okay to get lost, it’s okay not to have a clear, well-thought-out plan of where you’ll be in 3, 6, or 10 years. It’s okay not to know what you want.
Keep walking the way and you’ll find your way.
That’s why my favorite quote is this:
“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” — Lawrence J. Peter
‘Somewhere else’ could be anything: a dead-end street, a mine of gold, a trap, an ocean of love, the moon, a cemetery.
I lived this quote myself and my ‘somewhere else’ was a classroom.
We look up to people who are in charge of their lives. We ask kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” At job interviews, some will ask you, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
But life is a mapless long walk in an unknown forest. You never know what’s around the corner and not knowing where to go is normal. Just keep walking and exploring.
Your way might be closer than you think.