Often when I am engaged in conversation with someone struggling with the question, “What’s next for me?”, their biggest challenge comes from not knowing what the end point will be. They perceive their imagination as having failed them because they don’t know exactly what they want to do, what would make them happy. This happens to all of us at times, even if we have had many, many experiences of having set off on a particular path, only to end up somewhere that we never dreamed of.
The desire to know exactly where we are headed is common. That kind of certainty makes us feel safe and confident. An unintended consequence of traveling toward a tightly defined goal however, is that we often miss opportunities to explore an interesting side street that has the potential to expand our knowledge or appreciation of the larger picture, and perhaps set us off in a direction that would lead to a more fulfilling endpoint.
The barrier itself is the need for assurance about the endpoint, even before we even get started. Getting up and getting moving (in any direction) is essential as we seek the clarity we desire. We will learn more about ourselves and the world as we actively engage in it.
“Each of us has worked by improvisation, discovering the shape of our creation along the way, rather than pursuing a vision already defined.”
~Mary Catherine Bateson