Learn From the Past AND Work Towards the Future
Knowing yourself is an important catapult for the future, but Psychologist Dr. Jennice Vilhauer describes reflection of the past and projection of the future as an intricate relationship between expectation (past) and desire (future). As a psychologist who studies how people create their futures, she’s discovered a formula to this common life question: what should I want (not expect) from my future career?
formula is the following:
Expectation + Action = Creation (of your life experiences)
Inventory of the past + working for the future = life experiences
In her 2015 Ted Talk, Vilhauer makes an informed declaration on acting on what you want to happen, opposed to acting on what you expect to happen.
“When you don’t act on what you want, you take yourself out of the game,” says Vilhauer. “When you prepare for something that hasn’t even happened yet, you participate in creating the outcome.” This latter point could work two-fold since you could be prepping based on the past while simultaneously excluding the future.
Here at CareerZone, we endorse understanding yourself because it is a vital foundation to the job acquisition process. And employers encourage this. They want to know that you understand who you are because you will consequently place yourself in a position that you want, based on who you perceive yourself to be. Dig deep to determine your existing skills, interests, values, personality, background, and circumstances.
In and of itself, this inventory will also lay out the dislikes and areas of improvement. When you rule out what you don’t want, what you do want moves closer within reach. As Vilhauer puts it, “One serves as the reference point for the other.” You are not married to your past experiences since you can always develop and grow for the future. Does what you want align with who you are? If it does, great! If it doesn’t, then there’s room for growth, which is also great! Work to build yourself up from where you are. This entails discovering possibilities and experiencing more.
“What you want is oftentimes the very thing that you’re not expecting,” says Vilhauer.
So not only is understanding the past important, but it also is important to grapple with the future. Based on what you don’t enjoy, what will you likely enjoy? How will you build on what you like? Plan for the outcome that you want by keeping in mind the paradox: “When you prepare for something that hasn’t even happened yet, you participate in creating the outcome.”
“When you are motivated by what you want, change is possible.”
By Lisa Brown, Career Assistant and Blog Manager
Edited by Kara Renaud, Career Education Supervisor, CCEE Department