I’m sure you’ve been told that you can be anything you want to be.
That is true and, at the same time, not really true. It is misleading.
It is true in this sense. You can choose just about anything you want to choose to be. There are very few doors that are utterly and always closed. Most doors are open. Some are closed, but open with some knocking. A few doors need to be kicked open. And there are probably a few that are bolted shut on the inside. But, most options are available for you to choose.
Keep in mind that you are really simply choosing what you would like to be. Whether you will actually become what you want to be, that is where the simple answer is misleading. Many things you would like to be will only be possible with massive study, substantial money, amazing support, and sustained hard, GRITTY work on your part. You may find that you don’t have what you need to be anything you would like to be.
With that said, the field is WIDE OPEN. There is so much you can do, so much you can learn, so many options to pursue.
And there is your first big problem: There is just too much to think about. It is like walking into the grocery store. You want to get a box of cereal. You go the cereal aisle and find out it takes up the entire aisle. There are hundreds of choices. What do you choose? How do you decide what to choose?
You can have a paralysis of indecision. This is a real issue in the United States. We often avoid choosing because we want to keep our options open. Something better might come along! When you choose one thing, you simultaneously choose not to do many other things. That’s hard!
But choose you MUST.
You need a DIRECTION for growth and development.
So, here are a few questions and observations to help you choose what to study, where to focus, and what areas of growth will be best for you.
ONE: What is your work speciality? Or what is something close to your area of work?
Don’t ever coast in your field of work. The world is changing. Your work is changing. You want to stay at the top of your game so you can keep your job and be very good at it. Be a lifelong learner in your field of work or in a different discipline that will have spill over impact on your job. Are you staying on the cutting edge of your work?
TWO: Where is life hard? Or where do you hurt?
You don’t want to hurt forever. You don’t want that part of life to always be hard. Start learning and growing in that very area. Find out why it is hard and why you hurt. What do you need to know? What changes can you make so that part of life becomes better for you? In one sense, all support-recovery groups are designed to help people learn wisdom and skills they need so they can overcome addictions that hurt them. This is one form of learning and growing.
THREE: What is one new skill you would like to have? Or what one skill will really help your career?
I still remember my dad discovering computers were here to stay. Dad was an early adopter of the personal computer. He sat down and started learning how to use the computer. He was way ahead of his time, especially for his age. You have to practice to gain skills. Whether it is computer or the piano or solving crossword puzzles, the right kind of practice will lead to amazing skill.
FOUR: What is one hobby or personal interest that you want to dive into?
Learning and growing applies to everything. I have had many hobbies that have been wonderful times of enjoyment over the decades, but I had to practice and practice and practice to get good at them. Waterskiing, chess, bicycling, stamp collecting, guitar playing, gardening, tennis–all have been areas of learning and growth.
What about learning a foreign language? What about learning the history of part of the world?
P.S. I have always refused to take up golf. I don’t have anything against golf, but I generally like to be pretty good at a hobby. The time it would take at this season of life to get good at golf – nah – it just ain’t gonna happen!
FIVE: What is one area of growth in your Christian faith that is of interest?
Do you want to learn more about the Bible, about how to study the Bible, about prayer, about a particular part of ministry or service, a particular theological subject, a book of the Bible, financial wisdom, parenting, marriage … ?
SIX: Is there a character quality where you would like to see growth?
Surprise, surprise. This is just one more part of life where you can (and need to) grow. No one is born humble or patient or gentle or courageous or disciplined. You can grow in virtue, you just have to want to and choose to. Well, you will need to do more than choose, but that is the start of all growth.
Now look at your list. Of all the things you have mentioned, what are the two or three that are of most interest to you? Pray about it. It is possible for you to have more than one area of focus for learning, but it is best to have ONE area that is your PRIMARY area of growth.
Tomorrow I will help you design a plan for growth.