Five Steps to Shape Your Future

By Ravy Sophearoth,

Most young people likely don’t know what they should do in their future. I’m a living proof of that. Most of my high school friends didn’t know what they wanted to be in the future and what major they should choose at university. So, I’d like to share five steps to shape our future: have our own goal and dream, look for our own talents and interests, get involved in social work, educate ourselves and learn from failure.

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Having our own goal and dream is the first step to having a picture in mind of what our future would be like. Sometimes we should ask ourselves the question, “What do I want my future to look like?” Let’s dream with our eyes open. To me, I’m dreaming of becoming a person who could work as a superhero to help a lot of people.

When I was a child, I wanted to become a doctor, but after I finished high school, I wasn’t allowed to take the medical school entrance exam. Thus, I decided to study psychology. Even though my future career plan changed, I still stuck to my dream since becoming a psychologist is also a way of helping people. I told myself – not every hero works in a hospital.

Sometimes, we have don’t have the possibility to go after exactly what we want, but there are many ways to find and make changes. Remember, we have our own goal and dream to reach so be flexible. It’s okay if  we walk on different roads since we walk to the same destination. But if there was no goal, our future would be lost.

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The second step is finding your talent and interest to chase your dream. I have a story for you, but first please decide between 1kg of gold and a barrel of petrol.  Which one is more valuable? The answer might be 1kg of gold because it’s more expensive. That’s right. But let’s think about it a little bit more critically. Gold is more expensive in the market system but if we compare gold and petrol from a transportation point of view, petrol would be more valuable and useful.

The moral of the story is that everything or everyone is perfect in their own way. Maybe you don’t have a talent in math but in literature. You could become a famous writer, so why do you need to stress so much about your math score? After all, your childhood dream might change after you find the real hero in you. For example, now I’m a media student because I found myself more interested in media than in psychology. Again I changed my interest, yet I didn’t give my dream up since becoming a media practitioner could help people in other ways too. I could make inspiring films to encourage millions of  people. I could both enjoy my life and help people at the same time.

Taking time to explore your talents Abraham Lincoln described in the following way, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four shaping the axe.” This second step allows you to change your goal or dream because you might find other right ways that lead the way to your future. When you know what you’re good at, it’s your duty to pursuit it.

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“What if I have no dream and I don’t know what my talents are. Does that mean I have no future?”, you might be asking yourself. This leads us to the third step – doing social work could help you to find your talents and dream. Some young people would like to walk on the paths that are paved for them by other people such as their parents. As a result, they will live others’ peoples dream in the future. But to live in your own world, you should consider doing social work as it’s such an eye-opening experience in life that allows you to find your own dream and talent. You wouldn’t only be serving your community but also exploring yourself. You serve to learn and learn to serve. My classmate, who is one of the best photographers in my class, told me that he found his interest in photography because he worked for his community.

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Step four is about using education to build your talent. As Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” If you want to become a professional in a particular field, you may need to get a degree, but don’t dread about getting the highest score. School has many subjects to complete; you should try your best with all of them with the purpose of finding subjects you like the most. For me, at my school, there are eight  subjects per semester, but I only do well in five of them. I don’t become a top scorer, but the good thing is I enjoy my studies. You shouldn’t force yourself to get the highest score at school since you might miss the chance to shape your talent just by focusing on a high GPA.

Beside education at school, self-learning is important as well. Your teachers wouldn’t be able to pass on all their knowledge to you. I recommend that you should find suitable ways to study and do the practices in real life yourself. Moreover, during this education step, you should apply for internships, exchanges or scholarships abroad because these chances allow you to get out of your comfort-zone and see the world. You might have some ideas to compare between the outside world and your society. Learning from positive points and using them can develop your skills, society and future.

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The last step is Do Not Be Afraid to Fail.” Our plans will not always be successful. Sometimes, we have to go through numerous failures to grow  stronger in life. We’d better learn from our failures which teach us what we should do or avoid doing for better results in the future. J.K. Rowling, the famous British author of the Harry Potter novels, is one of the greatest examples. Her book was rejected by many publishers, but she kept seeking for the right one until it got published. Not only J.K. Rowling, but also Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other famous people failed before they succeeded. So will you, but don’t give up easily. As J.K. Rowling said, “Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected.”


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To sum up, the five steps to shape the right future require that we, young people, have our own goal and dream, find our talents through doing social work, then shaping these talents by self-learning and education. Finally, we don’t need to be afraid of any failures. Don’t compare your future with others since all people have different goals. Don’t feel bad when you see your friends reach their dream first; you might have to walk farther or find more solutions to deal with problems that hinder your way. Nevertheless, it is better to walk longer on the right way rather than shorter on the wrong one.

“The best way to predict your future is to create it,” said Abraham Lincoln.



Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

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