MANILA, Philippines – When I graduated from college some years ago, I was dead-set on finding a job in publishing. I wanted a job doing the one thing I knew I was good at – writing.
Now that I’m a few years older, however, I’ve lost that single-mindedness. I find myself thinking, ‘What do I really want to be doing my whole life?’
I know I’m not alone. No one is immune to this uncertainty – whether you’re a high schooler choosing which course to take, a college grad unsure about which way your career should go, or a seasoned cog in the machine wondering if this is all there is to life.
At least 53.7% of Filipinos feel the same way, according to a Rappler survey commissioned by Globe. To help Pinoys achieve some clarity regarding their path in life, Globe Postpaid partnered with Bianca Gonzalez for #PaanoBaToLive. Panelists during the event included Solenn Heussaff, Saab Magalona, and Atom Araullo.
During the event, everyone shared misgivings about where their life was heading with fellow attendees. Thysz, who works for YouTube, and Vera, who does HR, were both complete strangers to me. We were in different industries and life stages. Yet we all had one thing in common. At some point, we all faced a crossroad: to stay where we are, or to go another way. But we weren’t sure which option to take.
Bianca summarizes this with a question: “Whatever phase you’re in, how do you fully embrace where you are and make sure you move forward to be your best?”
The decision won’t come at the snap of a finger. There’s no metaphorical lightbulb moment. This decision-making is a long process. Take your time mulling over what you really want. Don’t just jump blindly into the unknown – that rarely works, says Atom.
“You have to let go little by little. It’s only when you have a clear idea why you need to make that leap, is when you make it,” he adds.
Chasing your dreams requires a little pragmaticism. Saab says, “Na-roromanticize ‘yung kung ayaw mo ‘yung ginagawa mo, e ‘di mag-quit ka. Pero hindi madali, ‘di ba? Do your research first. Hindi pwede ‘yung thinking na, travel, wanderlust, ito gusto kong gawin. Girl, back to reality. Kailangan may balance ‘yan.”
(The thinking that you should just quit if you don’t like what you’re doing gets too romanticized. But it’s not easy, right? Do your research first. You can’t just go, I wanna do travel, wanderlust. Girl, back to reality. There has to be a balance.)
A lot of us hesitate to go after our dreams due to fear of failure. But cliche as it may sound, they’re all learning experiences. And no matter which path you take, you’ll end up facing failure in whatever form anyway – so you might as well take the risk. Don’t carry that what-if with you your entire life.
“I’ve tried so many things. I don’t think I’m the best at any of them,” Saab confesses. “I learned from all of them and I apply it to whatever I’m doing now.”
And is it failure you’re really afraid of, or what other people might say?
“These people are not just haters or enemies. They can be your parents. They can be telling you, ‘You should stick to this career.’ You let people’s opinion define your reality. But only you know how far you can push yourself,” says Solenn.
Atom adds, “Our journeys are different. Whatever anyone else achieves is their own thing. Pero ginagawa mo ba siya for you (Are you doing it for yourself)? Or to show others you’re good enough?”
And who knows, failure can help you rethink the path you’re on, and realize your true purpose.
“Sometimes when you’re not good enough, baka ‘di ka talaga para d’un (maybe it’s really not for you). Maybe you’re supposed to be on a different path. And that’s not bad,” says Saab.
I know that’s easier said than done. These days, there’s even more pressure ingrained in us to succeed because of all the #humblebrag posts we see online, be it about a job, family milestone, or even a vacation. It’s impossible not to compare yourself – and your suddenly trivial achievements – when you see these posts.
But Atom says you get to define what success means to you. Don’t use other people’s achievements as benchmarks for what you should achieve. Set your own standards for success. Whether you find fulfillment in becoming a CEO or being a homemaker is entirely up to you.
Of course, everyone wants to succeed. But at the end of the day, enjoying and learning from the process is more important. Atom says, “Don’t be afraid of mediocrity. Not everything is about being the best. In this hyperconnected world, we’re all pressured to be the best in everything we want to try. You can just enjoy it for yourself.”
Planning the future with ThePLAN
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What’s your next step to owning life? – Rappler.com