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Success - as you see it

Poonam Singh Jamwal

What are your future plans?

“To be successful and rich,” 15 yrs old.

“To be an actor, and therefore, rich and famous,” 10 yrs old.

“To be a scientist and go to NASA,” 12 yrs old.

“To earn money but I donno how,” 17 yrs old.

 What is success?

In one word - Money.

 How do you get there?

“Learn dance/drama (to be an actor) and study hard (if the first doesn’t work out),” 10 yrs old. “Study hard and get to good college,” 15 yrs old

“I dunno, with 89% in 12 th too I could not get through a professional college and I am lost as to what is the next step.” (Placing all eggs in one basket???) What are the options?

“I dunno, I will cross the bridge when it comes. Teachers and parents will tell me what to do in due time.” 12 yrs old (Do they know enough?)

In all my years of interacting with young people I have come across a similar pattern of answers. The young are drifting and parental anxiety is almost palpable. This is because there is no one credible source of information or counseling. Most of them are at the cross roads, quite unsure of the next course of action.

There is a basic thumb rule to beat the stress and make the right choice.

Today the world offers multiple options for careers and everyone is employable. However, every profession requires a basic pre requisite which is mostly similar-like enthusiasm, involvement, depth and expression being some. If the probables are equipped with these it would increase their employability. As parents and counselors your advice to young wards could be:

Enjoy what you do and you will do it well: Proficiency is achieved through acumen and interest. Do not pick a subject or a course if it doesn’t interest you; and don’t give this excuse down the unhappy work years that -you only took it up because you had no other option. Remember you would have to go through the torture of assimilating a subject your have no aptitude for 3-4 years of training. Post which you would try sustaining a job you don’t enjoy. It would be a cause of stress and would be a personal waterloo all through your life.

Focus on soft skills/life skills - communication and personality development. This may be possible through short courses. But, effective way of polishing soft skills is through reading and getting involved in intellectually stimulating interaction - be it through formal lectures or informal groups -forming your own book club or movie club. This is an important aspect as in today’s world of sms and chatting - the biggest victim is your development - intellectual and verbal. And across the table, whether in admission counseling or job interview, your true value comes through. Your ability to express ensures your pickability and popularity. Whether you are a vegetable vendor or a marketing director of a firm - your ability to communicate your idea is as important as your wares. Besides all our life we need to have human interface and this is the most neglected part of training.

Have Plan Two and an ability to explore up to plan four. This would help you explore the possibilities available, handle stress and anxiety. Since putting all the eggs in the same basket can bring you to a dead end. This means that while undertaking research for you future growth, explore wider options. The options are easy to pick based on your gut feel - what do I like and what would I like to be. And if plan A fails what is my scope and interest in the backup plans.

Professional input: Mostly gut-feel is colored by our impressions and exposure. It is good to explore aptitude tests and counseling by professionals. Many institutions and individuals offer it. They have undertaken research and study. They should have credible background. This would give you direction and a focused approach to your career. No shooting in the dark.

Therefore, plan well, plan ahead, have a backup plan and chisel your expression-stress would be a stranger to you and success would be your friend for life.

Jeanne Sharbuno says in “52 ways to live success” that “success necessarily needs to be inside out i.e. Being + Doing + Having = Success. Most people work backwards and thus want to slog and earn best salaries and then retire at 40 to do the things they enjoy. They are so busy ‘having’ and accumulating that they forget ‘being’ themselves and thus, stop ‘doing’ what they enjoy.”

Try to pick a line that you have to tow the lifetime –which is based on your interest and everything will fall in place.

You are on the threshold of your life and career. Start by saying no to ‘having’ as your primary goal and commit to saying yes to ‘being’ first; and then ‘doing’ and ‘having’ will flow naturally.

Best of luck to all of you. May you find satisfaction and success in the line of career you have picked up. Counseling as a career brings with it lot of responsibility. Please back it with sensitivity and research.

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