I accidentally saw Neil Gaiman's talk from Alexis Ohanian's blog, and there I heard he mentioned he didn't have a career plan, never. "The nearest thing I had was a list I made when I was about fifteen, of everything I wanted to do." "I didn't have a career; I just did the next thing on the list."
There you go. Neil Gaiman, a great talent, a successful man, still alive, wealthy and happy. That could be my model.
I don't mean it's not important or necessary to have a plan. A plan for your education, your career, your family, your life, everything--that's awesome. I do admire people who have a plan and follow it. Actually I have tried to do that many times so far, and failed. I've struggled to find a clear path in my choices, and reading other people's LinkedIn profiles made me loathe myself, for, they all seemed to have a plan: say, a girl, studied sociology/psychology for undergrad, did a stint in a marketing agency, then went to grad school for MA in marketing, or MBA, and then went on to be a marketing director, manager, consultant... You see, she's got a path, and gradually walking farther and farther on that path. She's focused, confident, experienced and secure. At least it looks like so.
Neil Gaiman didn't have a plan. But he was sure about being a writer--I'm in a much worse situation. I don't see any talent of mine standing out distinctly, and I don't know out of my many interests which to dig into, and I haven't followed anything for a long enough time yet.
I've finally talked myself into believing that, maybe some people just can't define that one single "passion" of their lives, and they don't follow a linear ascending path, yet they can still have a productive and happy life.
I know focus is essential. I know choosing one doesn't mean losing all the others. And I know how lucky I am to live in an era where I'm allowed to have the luxury of thinking all this "nonsense" and to have the freedom of making choices. I'm deeply grateful. And I do appreciate being in uncertainty because it also implies all kinds of possibilities ahead of me. Yet, I can't stop feeling confused and self-doubt from time to time. I know it's dangerous when one has too much thought but no action--that's why I wanted to create this blog and start to make lists and check off them. Lists of small or big, trivial or transformative. I want to hesitate less and take more actions. Just do it. Make the next move. One thing will lead to another. More opportunities will surface. Gradually I'll have a better idea of what I want, or at least be at a calmer state. And hopefully the dots will connect, in a wonderful way. I have always wanted to live a fulfilling life, and help others along the way (I don't dare say change the world, but simply, leave some positive impact here and there). Hopefully, with my lists I will live up to that, and this lasting quest and introspection will yield some sweet fruits.
Okay, start, now. And carry on.