Saturday, November 09, 2013

What I Want To Do With The Rest Of My Life... :) Or Not ;)

What do you want to do with your life?
Where do you want to be in five years?
What do you want from life?

If you’ve been asked one or more of these questions at some time in the past, I wrote this for you; for us.


This morning, I found myself in an embarrassing situation – courtesy conflicting answers I had previously given to one or more of the questions above. After blurting out several incomprehensible and contradictory explanations for why my answers kept changing, thoroughly feeling like a fool in the process, I decided to shut up and explore the matter further afterwards.

To provide some perspective, I’d like to share some of the many different things I have wanted to be through the course of my twenty-some years…

1.    Airplane Pilot.
2.    Aeronautical Engineer (when I realized it was safer to build planes than to fly them).
3.    Neurosurgeon (thanks to Gifted Hands by Ben Carson).
4.    Mechanical Engineer (when I realized no Nigerian Universities offered Aeronautical Engineering).
5.    President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (thanks to my first of three ASUU strikes).
6.    Minister of Power and Steel (thanks to Dr. Ogunleye, best Energy Lecturer ever!).
7.    Renewable Energy Engineer (same reason as 6 above).
8.    Industrial Farmer (after rudimentary analysis of opportunities posed by Nigeria’s burgeoning population).
9.    Professional Soldier (after falling in love with the order & regimented life of the Nigerian army).
10.  Marketing Professional (same as 8 above).
11.  Consumer Goods Professional (same as 8 above).
12.  Supply Chain Professional (same as 8 above).
13. And a number of others I can't remember at the moment.

*Phew!* That is a lot, right? Right. That’s what I thought too :)


As I write this tonight, I step back from my usual over-thinking, and ask myself two simple questions:
1. Do I love where I am and what I do today? – Without an iota of doubt, the answer to this is a resounding YES!
2. Could I have predicted where I am and what I do today on this day TWO/THREE/FOUR years ago? - The answer to this is a resounding NO! In fact, it wouldn't have showed up on my top 10 list!!!


Here is what I think.

My answer to the “what I want to do with the rest of my life” question is continuously evolving, and heck, might evolve so till the end of my life! Five years ago I would never have guessed I would be where I am today – doing what I do; why obsess likewise with five years from now?

A brief review of my favorite books and articles shows that I am being subtle. David H. Maister posits that this question is a stupid one. In his words, “You will be a different person five years from now. Decide what you want to do with the next three (or so) years and throw yourself into it”.


Am I encouraging directionless and flippant living? Oh no! I deeply believe that we all have pole stars, big pictures that provide a general sense of direction. And even if we are quite fuzzy with respect to the details, we all should have a general sense of direction.

“Aspirations include your deepest wishes, ideas, goals, and vision of the future, regardless of the state of the external world or your existing asset mix. This piece of the puzzle includes your core values, or what is important to you in life, be it knowledge, autonomy, money, integrity, power, and so on. You may not be able to achieve all your aspirations or build a life that incorporates all your values. And they will certainly change over time. But you should at least orient yourself in the direction of a pole star, even if it changes”. – Reid Hoffman, The Start-Up Of You.


Here is the one thing I’m clear on… I want to do work that makes the world a better place, and work on products or services people use often to improve the quality of their lives. That is my pole-star!

I’m sorry, but if you want the specific details of what I will do with my life…you just might need to wait for my Biography :)


Further Reading:
1. Wear Sunscreen (Mary Schimch)
2. Some Advice to a Young Professional (David H Maister)
3. The Start-Up of You (Reid Hoffman)


  1. Did Joseph know he would one day be the Prime Minister of Egypt? Did Elisha know why tending sheep, he would be the next big thing in the prophetic ministry? Did David know he would be one of the greatest king that ever reigned? Did Paul know he will write 2/3 of the new testament? Did Abraham know he would be a father of many nations? My guess for all is NO... but did Jesus know he would save the world from sin? did John know he was a fore runner to Jesus? did Samson know he was born to save Israel from oppression? My answer is Yes... But you can obviously see the difference from the circumstance leading to the birth of my latter three examples.. it seems for the rest of us who don't have such,... lol... Whatever you find to do today... Be faithful and give it your all... For it is when you are faithful at little that God hands over more to you... Selah

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks for providing balance to my piece :). That's one thing I left out. The key to more is to be faithful with little. If you do well whatever it is you do today, chances are you will be rewarded with more.

    Separately, I'd like to posit that all John and Samson had were pole stars too. Albeit, theirs were more clearly defined following from the circumstances that surrounded their births.

    I daresay they were equally in the dark wrt the details of how they would go about fulfilling those purposes too... :)