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“We all have some vision of ourselves and our future. And that vision creates consequences. More than any other factor, vision affects the choices we make and the way we spend our time.” Stephen R. Covey

And the corollary of that is a lack of vision also affects the choices we make and the way we spend our time. Which also has consequences, consequences we would not ordinarily choose. I thin Jim Rohn put it best when he opined that people who have no sense of a plan work for people who do.

So why do many people drift about?

First of all, society. Philosophers suggest that we are the average of the 5 people with whom we spend most of our time, which means that what those 5 people think, say, feel and do diffuses into our own souls and creates ‘us’. Which would explain why people spend such a lot of time ‘socialising’ by standing in loud, dark rooms imbibing intoxicants and consider that activity to be ‘creative’. (In my world, every retirement ‘do’ starts in the same pub in Cardiff, 20 miles from where most of the participants live. As if there are no pubs nearer. Weird. And hugely unimaginative.)

In other words, the majority goes along with the majority. They talk the same, think the same – and end up with the same. I love my retired colleagues, but when you go to a meet-up for a chat, it’s allotments and holidays. Like they’ve given up.

Secondly, the belief that talent is something you have or you haven’t. maybe. But the key to progress is the ability and willingness to learn. If you know what you want, learn what you need in order to get it, don’t just bemoan the lack of opportunity. Fortune, they say, favours the prepared mind. Go prepare.

In my own case, years ago I had the opportunity to provide training to others but had no training experience. So I joined a speakers’ club, attended courses and gained a training qualification. It is really not rocket science to learn. (Although school is wasted on the young.)

The third, tragic reason for drifting is – not knowing what you want (or not knowing that you are allowed to seek out what you want). Now that really is a challenge. Floaters (unfortunate term!) go with the flow and end up where the masses collect instead of discovering something wonderful, like the opportunity to contribute beyond oneself.

And finally, simple stubbornness. The number of floaters I have met who refuse to take training in self-development ‘because it’s American/pointless/pop-psychology/mumbo-jumbo’ probably equals the number of people whose retirement won’t be noticed because they just did what was expected and nothing else. And they probably didn’t do what was expected very well, either. Turned up, did the minimum, went home. (Although truth be told we all have days when we feel like that!)

Look, if you haven’t ever done an exercise designed to identify what could make you different, to stand out, to succeed, then go to this page and just take 30 minutes or so to find out. Buy a book from Stephen R. Covey, Tony Robbins, Charles R. Hobbs, Hyrum W. Smith or some-such (me?), and do the exercises and thinking they promote. Find out what you really want from life, then develop the plan that will make it happen. Then execute the plan violently, as Patton would say.

You might just surprise yourself.