Where are you heading?

Recently I met with a 16 year old girl who is trying to decide whether to prematurely end her time in high school [she has 1.5 years to go], to finish this year and defer her final year or to continue on and finish year 12 along with her peer group. That’s an easy decision you may say but it is only easy if you know where you want your life to go.

Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People states that we should begin with the end in mind. The Cheshire Cat informed Alice that she could turn any way she liked at the crossroads because, as she didn’t know where she was going, it didn’t matter. Without a definite destination there is no preferred route. It reminds me of a pre-school activity we used to play entitled ‘taking a pencil for a walk’. To the untrained eye it looked like a scribble but to the bright eyed youngster it was an imaginary journey whose route was permanently recorded by the pencil.

The sad fact is that many young people and older people are living their lives without a definite aim or purpose. If they continue aimlessly they will eventually look back on their time on earth to observe what others may refer to as a scribble. Others have a dream but don’t have a plan to achieve it, they know where they would like to go but they too are wandering aimlessly and they too may end up producing a scribble.

The difference between these people and my student is that she has recognised the risk and has begun a process to determine her future. She has considered her life to be like a flower that is wilting and that she is in a maze trying to locate her dream but it seems to be hidden and unable to be found. Whilst this me be her today she has begun to see that she wants to become strong, more emotionally stable and live life in a more carefree way.

Having started to catch a glimpse of her possible future she then began to plan. Initially she considered the strengths in her life [for her these are friends and family] and also the areas she needs to work on [her emotional health, career plans and school life]. For each of these 3 areas she will begin to create specific goals and then plans to achieve them.

The process is not difficult which not being simple either. One certainty is that without a vision the people perish and cast off restraint. One young woman has definitely decided against that.

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