Some think about the future every day, it’s a part of our natural thinking process to set up goals and having a vision for life. But even then, it’s good to identify and define the choices that will help us reach that vision.
When trying to imagine a difference on a scale of 5 years, it’s sometimes much harder than imagining on a scale of 20 years. For example: how much of our lives will be integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) in 5 years? It’s really hard to say because we don’t know exactly when that trend will disrupt our current systems. But, in 20 years? It seems obvious that AI will exist on a major scale by then!
So when you think about that 5 year plan, if you find yourself having a hard time to think short-term, then scale it up. What about 20 years? Use what you find there and adapt if necessary to your 5 year plan. 5 years ago I was 20 and had just moved in with my first boyfriend, I had graduated from high school and spent a semester in Beijing, partying and studying mandarin. I was still a kid, but an experienced kid compared to before my endeavors abroad.
In these 5 years I’ve achieved so much more than I even could have imagined when I was picturing it as a 20-year old. Even small but good decisions end up having a major impact on us. When I decided to study engineering at KTH, it was not only the studies that would come to be a part of my life. The life around me that I got from studying at such an ambitious school, brought with it so many opportunities that I never even saw coming.
At 20, my 5 year plan included studying my engineering program at KTH, and doing summer courses in interesting subjects. As it turns out, I’ve not even once done a summer course. Instead I’ve been going on incredible journeys with friends, my former boyfriend, and work. I’ve worked in retail. I’ve gotten the opportunity to work for global companies in new countries and to learn how to run non profits. But even more important, I’ve had spare time. This is the one single thing that has made it possible for me to manage my high paced life.
During my time free from work and projects, I’ve taken the opportunity to develop myself on a personal level. By spending time doing what I’ve dreamed of, like traveling to new places, finding friends from different cultures and learning new fun ways to enjoy myself, I’ve actually managed to create a new level of personality. One that many miss when they simply become the role that comes with their career.
By developing my interests that are not at all related to what I work or study, I’ve found out what kind of life I want, which in turn affects the choices I make in my career.
Having a 5 year plan is a good way to find your direction, but keep an open mind, because you can never know exactly what a certain road will bring. So find your direction and see what you’ll find along your way. You can always indulge in the fun things you find along the way, and even more importantly, you can always change direction. If you’re already on the path of personal development, then You today will be wiser than You a year ago. So go for what feels right today.