PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”—Eleanor Roosevelt
Our final examination was the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This exam was a moment of truth for myself, my colleagues in Achimota School, and of course all form 3 students in Senior High School. The WASSCE was a decider for us; it was set to evaluate our learnings, access our understanding and performance, and very importantly launch us into a future of greater possibilities. Our posture towards this future of gaining admission into one tertiary institution or the other was a whole plot for a movie! We stayed up to study. We studied all day. We placed our feet in water to ensure we do not even doze off. We chewed gum. We reduced idle chatter. We denied ourselves of our regular excitement and fun activities. We were planning for the future!
Planning for any form of future will require a conscious decision, sacrifices, and a commitment to see that future take shape. In the next paragraphs, you will appreciate some instructive guidelines as you embark on a journey into the future.
To begin with, when we talk of the future, the discussion is centered on an activity that is to happen at a later date. It describes a time that is yet to come. In the scenario of our WASSCE exams, our entrance to the university remained in the future. It was to happen at a future date.
To plan, on the other hand, is to have a detailed proposal of achieving something. It explains a decision to perform an activity. A plan captures an intention or a design to make something happen. As students, our decision included us studying more than we would. We can consider the placing of our feet in the water as a strategy as part of the plan. The chewing of gum was an effective plan as well to keep us up. For whatever endeavor you seek to achieve in the future, you will find solace in the pointers I discuss in the foregoing.
- CLARITY: Being coherent, certain, and intelligible with what you intend to achieve. We were sure of what our intention was; it was to gain admission to our preferred tertiary institution. How clear are you on what you need to achieve?
I recommend exercise for you. Find a place you are certain you will not be interrupted. Conduct an introspection and make decisions for yourself. Decisions that you are comfortable with. Ensure that these are not decisions that reflect the kind of life that others want for you, but something you want for yourself. Very importantly be sure of where you want to get to. Access your current location.
Ask critical questions about the future. When you are certain about where you want to go or what you want to achieve, you are at the starting point of getting there. You can now channel all your energy into it. Preview the future in broad terms and settle on the minors that you need to do to get there as well.
- THE PAST IS NOT THE PRESENT: In my attempt to ensure that I pass my WASSCE, I did not have to dwell on my performances whether good or bad in previous classes. In investment, advisors often say past performances do not reflect future results. When you dwell too long on the past it traps your present joy and freezes you from getting into the future.
- DO SUSU: Susu represents a traditional way of saving. In Africa, predominantly in Ghana, Susu collectors are a traditional form of financial intermediaries. Often for a small fee, they provide convenient means for individuals and small businesses to save, get access to loans and other credit facilities with time.
A journey into your future will place a financial demand on you. With the periodic hike in prices, the chances that the price of items and services will remain changed at a future date is high. Start a form of savings or investment. Join a susu group, get a susu box for yourself, visit a bank open an account, and if you have an account already be consistent with your deposits. Your future ambitions will cost you some money.
- FORMAT YOUR LOCAL RESTRICTIONS: For a typical student who is in a senior high school like myself then, a university was a big place. We certainly could not enter with a dining hall mentality. Today you are at entry level in your organization, how do you envisage your future? The preview you give to this future will inform the kind of activities you do now. If you see yourself as a senior executive shortly you will place a demand on yourself to think big, read wide, take on some professional courses, and very importantly understudy a senior executive in your organization.
Just like how you will format your phone and or computer to make new or better installation, format yourself of small-mindedness. The future you seek is big, think as such.
- BREAK FEAR and INERTIA: The fear of sitting and writing any examination can be daunting. Be it the first degree, postgraduate examination, or a professional one like the ACCA and SPHR, all exams can excite some fear in you. Your resolve to harness this fear to your advantage is critical to launching you into the future.
It has been said that if your dreams do not scare you, then they are probably not big enough. Your future is certainly bigger than your present, it is only right that you are intimidated slightly by the thought of it. The important thing is to embrace the joy that comes with achieving the goal.
Break free from the shrouded confines of fear. Take a step into the future and become a better version of yourself.
Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh is a corporate trainer and professional ghostwriter assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles, and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness, and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency. You may contact the author via; Meprempsa@gmail.com