Imagine telling your parents in 1960 or 1970 that you were going to design video games for a living. Or telling them in the 1980’s that you were going to design websites. Or telling them in the ’90’s that you were going to get paid to create software applications for mobile telephones. Or in the early 2000’s that you would be paid to “tweet” 140 character messages.
Chances are, whatever you’ll be doing in 20 years doesn’t yet exist, or at least not in any way you can imagine or describe. Not long ago the idea of work that didn’t require manual labor, or living in a big city, or going to an office was unthinkable. Today it’s ubiquitous.
Innovation keeps moving. That means picking that one clear career destination and forming a perfect path to it is probably unrealistic for an increasing number of people. It’s more important to start with a broad swath of things you’re interested in, get as much knowledge and experience as you can in many areas, and begin to add to the list of things you know you really don’t want to do. Eliminate the bad options. Anything else is fair game.
Do this, and develop and refine general, transferable skills like critical thinking, communication, emotional intelligence, and a reputation for hard work, and you will be able to see and seize opportunities. Better yet, you’ll be able to create new ones.
You’ve got to think like an entrepreneur, whether you ever plan to start a business or not.
Ask around. How many people imagined 20 years ago they’d be doing what they do now? Neither will you.
The world can be your oyster. Be ready.