Dan Pink: On personal roadmaps and plans…

The following short extract is taken from Dan Pink’s recent 2014 Weinberg College convocation speech, given at Northwestern University earlier this year. It’s a great summary of the “got to have a plan” approach versus the “just gonna do it” approach that many of us struggle with throughout our professional and personal lives. For fully committed Dan Pink fans, I’ve also embedded the actual commencement speech, which clocks in at some 15 minutes…

Sometimes you have to write to figure it out…

This advice wasn’t just savvy guidance for how to write — it might be the wisest advice I know for how to live… The way to be okay, we all believe, is to have a specific plan — except may it’s not…

The smartest, most interesting, most dynamic, most impactful people … lived to figure it out. At some point in their lives, they realized that carefully crafted plans … often don’t hold up… Sometimes, the only way to discover who you are or what life you should lead is to do less planning and more living — to burst the double bubble of comfort and convention and just do stuff, even if you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead, because you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead.

This might sound risky — and you know what? It is. It’s really risky. But the greater risk is to choose false certainty over genuine ambiguity. The greater risk is to fear failure more than mediocrity. The greater risk is to pursue a path only because it’s the first path you decided to pursue.

 

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