Adapting your dreams to change

The primary message of (many career) books and countless others is to listen to your heart and follow your passion. Find your true north by filling out worksheets or engaging in deep, thoughtful introspection. Once you’ve got a mission in mind, these books urge, you’re supposed to develop a long-term plan for fulfilling it. You’re supposed to craft detailed, specific goals. You’re urged to figure out who you are and where you want to be in ten years, and then work backward to develop a roadmap for getting there.  

This philosophy has some serious strengths. It’s important to have worthy aspirations. If you are passionate about something, you’ll have fun, stay committed, and achieve more. It’s also right to invest for the long term: to find out whether you’re good at something and whether you like it, you need to stick with it for a meaningful amount of time.  

But it presumes a static world. You will change. The environment around you will change. Your allies and competitors will change. It’s unwise, no matter your stage of life, to try to pinpoint a single dream around which your existence revolves.  

Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha from The Startup of You