From the time we are in kindergarten, we are often told that we can be whatever we want to be, that we can do whatever we want to do, so long as we set our minds to it. Accordingly, we start to dream. We start to dream big. The world is our oyster! We can do anything we want to do!
Unfortunately, I think that sometimes having this drilled into our minds over and over again has a little bit of a downside. As a little kid, hearing “You can do anything you want so long as you set your mind to it” is meant to inspire us to dreams of greatness. Yet in order to hold onto the “options” of doing anything we want, we often end up acting pretty mediocre. The fact of the matter is that no one can do everything, which means that at some point we have to stop thinking we can do anything and just decide on doing something.
This is scary to a lot of people in my generation. We love to “keep our options open.” In college, we put off declaring a major until the very last second. Then, we simply choose the most generic one that we can do most anything with. We think that by acting this way, we will be more free in the future to do whatever we want to do, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.
No one needs to hear this lesson more than me. I don’t even like to make the decision on what restaurant to eat at for dinner, let alone one that involves something as important and big as my future. For a while, I thought that by doing this I was protecting myself from making a wrong decision, but I was really just hurting myself even more by not allowing myself to develop opinions of my own.
I have such admiration for those that have the courage to make decisions, even if they end up being the wrong ones. It’s not that I think we should be rash or careless in our decision making. Of course we should weigh the options and never do anything that goes against what we know is right. What I now know is that when it comes down to it, you can learn a lot more about where you want to be by taking a wrong turn than by standing still.