Defining a path without grades is a struggle. In fact, it’s one of the most common struggles I see in people years into the workforce.
When you are in education there was always a path. You go from one year to the next, learning a bit more (hopefully) every year. You have grades to know how you are doing. If you’re doing well, you’re encouraged to follow up on it. If you’re doing poorly, either improve or at some point give up on the subject.
Either way, the path is clear.
Everything is quite simple as you only need to look a year or two ahead of where you are.
Your path is simple because you need to pass every year as it comes, and make few decisions about where your path leads.
Then when you get to the next year, there are few options. Your path is simple.
Maybe you choose some subjects, or specialise, or when you finish education you look for work in a narrow area. The path is simple.
Your grades let you know how you’re doing so you have your options narrowed again. The way to is guided by grades, but these measures of success are set by someone else and given to you.
Then you leave education and go to work.
Suddenly the path is no longer clear, the grades are infrequent, unclear and often unhelpful.
You no longer have a simple path defined by pre-set years of steady progression. Now you have too many options and no path.
Do you stay in the same city or country? Do you look for a job in one company or a thousand others? Should you stay in a job for a few more years and hope for a promotion or try move to another company you might not like? Do you move in with your partner and get married? Do you have kids now, never or in five more years?
Rather than simply focussing on one thing now, you must define a path in your career, personal, financial, and relationship life. It’s easy to let one or more areas slip. Your plans used to be from year to year, but now you need to think decades ahead.
You also need to learn to grade yourself.
Are you successful if you have a great job, more money than you need, but you never settled down and had the family you wanted?
Are you a success if you travelled and saw the world, but you’ve no money in the bank and have no career in your thirties?
It’s harder to grade yourself when there are multiple counteracting goals and dreams. Often you can focus on one area to the detriment of others, until it’s too late and you’re already behind.
If this is something you struggle with you’re not alone.
You can define your own path, and choose your own methods of grading your progress.
You have to. Nobody else will.
Financial literacy leads to reduced stress, better decision making and the ability to plan to meet your personal goals.
Money Boot Camp Ltd.
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