Are You Planning Your Own Life – or – Are You Letting Others Plan Your Life…?

For Teenage Children (and their Parents)


Musings By Vikram Karve 


If you travel on a road which others have built – then you will reach the destination where the road goes.

Yes – if you travel on a road that someone else has built – you will reach that destination which those who built the road want you to reach.

You will not reach the destination that you want to reach.

It is true – isn’t it…?

Since others have built the road on which you travel – you will reach the destination which the road-builders want you to reach.

In a metaphorical sense – it is the same with the “journey of life” too.

If you let others plan your life – then you will reach the “destination” which they want you to reach.

That is why – you must plan your own life according to the “destination” or goal that you want to reach.

Unfortunately – it is easier said than done.

How do you land up travelling on the wrong road on the Journey of Life…?

It all starts when you are small – at that age you are too young to understand things – and you are too immature to formulate your “Life Goal” 

The moment you enter school – your parents decide what they want you to achieve

You parents decide the “destination” they want you to reach – and – your ambitious parents start planning your life accordingly.

Your teachers play a role in planning your life too.

And – you are quite clueless to understand anything – since you are too young to understand what is going on.

It happened with me too.

In Class 9 – I was put in the “Science” Stream.

No one asked me my choice – whether I wanted to study in the “Science” Stream or the “Arts” Stream – because probably – I was considered too young to make a choice.

In our school – there was a simple rule – only those students who were “weak” in Mathematics – were sent to the “Arts” Stream.

Unfortunately – I was good at Mathematics.

Sometimes – it is a great misfortune to be good at something you don’t like.

Later – my parents, teachers and “well-wishers” decided that I must appear for the IIT JEE (IIT Joint Entrance Examination).

I cleared the JEE – studied Engineering for 5 years – I got a B. Tech. degree – and – I reached the “destination” that they wanted me to reach.

“They” wanted me to be an Engineer – and – I had reached the “Destination” (Engineer) – that – “They” had wanted me to reach.

I did not want to be an Engineer.

In hindsight – had I been enlightened enough – given a choice – in school – I would have chosen the “Arts” Stream – and later – in college and university – maybe – I would have studied Liberal Arts – especially Literature.

However – I was never given a free choice – and – in acccordance to the plans made by “others” – I dutifully studied Science – then Engineering – and – I landed up becoming an Engineer – which I did not want to be.

Sadly – no one ever asked me what I wanted to be – and since – I was never given a choice – nor was I given an opportunity for “aptitude testing” or “guidance counselling” – so – I too was was not fully aware of my true métier.

So – I blindly followed the plans that “others” made for me – and – I reached the “destination” that “they” wanted me to reach.

The same thing happened during most of my working life too.

It was “others” who did my career planning.

After I joined the Navy – the HR Bosses in the Navy decided everything for me.

The “Powers-That-Be in the Navy decided which Training Courses I should attend – they decided in which areas of expertise I should specialize – they decided on which ships I should be posted – they decided my shore appointments – “they” decided everything.

“Others” planned my career path – and I had no choice but to follow that path towards the “destinations” that “they” wanted me to reach.

And – I kept “travelling” on the “path” they planned for me – and – I duly reached the “destinations” they wanted to me to reach.

First – my Parents and Teachers planned my life.

Then – the Navy planned my life.

It was only after my retirement – that I had the luxury of planning my own life according to the “goals” that I wanted to reach.

No longer do I have to “travel” on roads that others have built for me.

No longer am I reaching “destinations” that others want me to reach.

Now – I am my own “Master”.

I decide my goals – I plan my life – and I “build” my own road towards the “destination” that I want to reach.

But – I can do this only now – after my retirement.

Just imagine what could have happened – if I had been given an opportunity to plan my own life in school – and travel towards the “destination” that I want to reach – rather than forcing me to travel towards the “destination” that “others” wanted me to reach.


What I told you about teachers deciding to put me in Science Stream – it happened 55 years ago – in the 1960’s.

No one asked me what I wanted.

Even if I was unsure of what I wanted – no one helped me discover what I wanted.

I trust things have changed now – and young children are being given greater independence to decide their own destiny.

I really don’t know – so you tell me.

Are young children being given the freedom to plan their own lives…?

Or – are parents still planning the lives of their children…?

Are parents making their children “travel” on roads towards “destinations” that the parents want their children to reach…?

And worse – are some parents trying to achieve their own unrealized goals vicariously through their children…?

If you are a young student – remember that you have to plan your own life according to the goal you want to reach.

If you let others plan your life – then you will reach the “destination” they want you to reach.

And once you have travelled too far down the wrong road – it becomes difficult to turn back – and you are left with no choice but to continue travelling – till you reach the wrong “destination”.


Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is a revised repost of my self-help article posted online many times earlier including at urls  and  and and and etc

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