Have you ever realised that the biggest investment you can ever make is to invest in your own future? You could be a scientist, doctor, accountant, banker, sales professional, sports person, student or any other, you have an infinite interest as well as reasons in securing a better future for yourself and your family. The investment being talked of here is all about making requisite efforts and devoting time so as to carve out a secured career for yourself that is long, stable and fruitful coupled with financial safety & security. Did you ever wonder why it always seems too early when you start planning for your future? You always think you have more than enough time in which to plan and act. Consequently, you relegate such thoughts to the back burner. But the reality is quite different from what it might seem. Ultimately it turns out that you never have enough time to give effect to all the planning you ever needed to do. At the same time, one can also not say for sure how early should one start planning for one’s future. Therefore, the answer to this question eludes most of us? What we forget is that the quality of output depends on the time we devote to careful and meticulous planning. The straight answer is, the sooner you start planning for your future the better it is.
Another important factor in planning for one’s future is that there should be a realisation by the inner self that nudges you to take up the activity of planning with full vigour. To most of us the need might not seem so dire or pressing that the realisation does not sink in even when the time to plan has run out and we have reached the eleventh hour. This does not portend a healthy sign of things to come. Some of us just take things as they come. This is called as passive or reactive approach to planning. Can you keep this kind of attitude or opinion towards all your tasks, including that of building your future?
Some sane person averred, what meaning does planning for the future hold when life itself is at stake. True, there are some preconditions to planning for the future. The first and foremost precondition is that there should be no threat to life. Let me put a question here. Would you send your son or daughter willingly, to a war-torn nation or place for the purpose of work or education? Clearly the answer is ‘No’. What prosperity or good future or fortune can be promised if life itself is uncertain? The second most important precondition is the continued good health of the person whose future we intend to light up. If the person is afflicted with a deadly disease would he care for his health or future planning which may seem to be a vague concept at this very moment. For this person, all his future planning will revolve around securing better health for himself and only later does the question of planning for prosperous future arise. I remember once a municipal corporation had served a notice on an old residential society complex in Mumbai to vacate it as its structure had been deemed unliveable and risky. People ignored the directions of the municipality and continued to live in the complex for years before the tragedy struck and many lost their lives. What future planning could fructify for those who lost their lives in the incident. You cannot take refuge in saying that it was an act of God as occurrence of the tragedy had been foretold. Only the next day the remaining people moved out to a safe location. Should people not have moved out in good time especially when it was a matter of life and death? On the corollary, if you do not care for your life what planning can you ever do for your future?
Research shows that in most cases it is a matter of personality trait of an individual that makes one feel uncomfortable and restless that pushes him to start planning even when there is much time. Such people do not take anything lightly, no matter how significant or trivial the task is. These individuals put all their focus and energy into meticulous planning and then the performance of the task that they leave nothing to chance. They would have calculated and balanced everything in their head that the uncertainty associated with the task is nearly zero and so is the risk of the unknown.
Let us talk of professionals and persons in worthwhile employment. For them, professional success leads to successful careers and financial prosperity. Both, successful careers and financial prosperity are assured when there is success at the professional front. In similar manner, failure on the professional front might spell failure of careers and no financial prosperity. Take for example, launch of a product or a service by a company which in itself is a big project starting from conceptualising the idea of the product, manufacturing, distribution, finances, promotion and advertising both offline and online. The success of the project is very crucial for the fortunes of the company and also for its employees, particularly those connected directly with the project. Can the employees take the project lightly? No, they cannot.
Let us now devote some thoughts in understanding the perspective of a teenage child who is yet to make a mark in this world and choose a career for herself against the backdrop of a number of careers that appear to be equally promising. If the child is a prodigy in the form of an accomplished singer, artist or a sportsperson then, more or less, her future career path is already carved out. In every other case, soon the child would be asked to make a choice of subjects in class 11 that would probably usher her in the chosen career path as decided by her subjects of study. There is a high probability that the decision she takes today will remain with her for the rest of her life. So, does it not call for a thorough research on various careers that tells which of them are flourishing and will further prosper in future? The careers for which the child has the most aptitude and skills? What assistance can the parents give to their child in choosing a career? What knowledge do the parents have to be able to make a material difference in helping their child choose an appropriate career? Will the child be able to crack the entrance test and get admission in the best/better college to pursue the study? How to determine if she will be able to find success in that career is a tough ask of parents. Does the child have an interest and aptitude to be able to stay put in that career? For example, if one has chosen to become a lawyer as per her interest, then does she possess the aptitude for the subjects and possess set of qualities and the personality traits that are required of a lawyer to fulfil daily functions. Does she have an aptitude for the career in law? All this is tricky and the job of a specialist counsellor. The counsellor is typically a person with vast experienced dealing with student issues, who by way of elaborate tests and interviews can determine the interest and aptitude of the child for a particular career to a greater degree of accuracy. It makes all the sense to take the services of such an expert before finalising a stream of study in class XI.
It is never too early to start planning for your future. Think about what kind of study program will better secure your professional longevity, the kind of job or an activity that you can be most effective in. Re-skilling yourself as per need of the changed environment will also put you in good stead. Understanding your competencies and skills that only you can do or none can do better than you, will always make you a coveted employee. If you do not wish to land up in an odd job or stuck in a career that does not interest you much, you have to take the responsibility in your hands and get on with the process of active planning right now. The sooner you start the better it is since it takes time to build and cultivate requisite competencies, talent and skills that take you closer to the final destination.
It always pays to invest time and effort in shaping your future.