Defaulting: accepting what life hands to you. Specifically, following the expectations of your peers, parents, and everyone else, rather than consciously deciding what your own needs and desires are.
The algorithm I was presented with, over my life:
- Go to elementary school
- Go to middle school
- Go to high school. Make some hopeful predictions about what you want to do for the rest of your life. Maybe even try out two or three in some manner.
- Go to college, based on the “plans” you made in high school.
I made a choice then, but it was an uninformed choice. And I was lucky, because it was almost on the mark.
The problem with the algorithm is that you have little to do with the choices. While some paths are proposed, they are limited for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad.
I propose this as a better algorithm:
- Consider what you like, and what you are good at.
- Consider what your needs are.
- Make a plan to gains skills and abilities to help you meet your needs, preferably by doing what you like, or at least what you are good at.
- Gain those skills
- Go back to step 1.
This is living with intent. You might decide to go to school, but you will have a different attitude about it, which will make it easier and more useful. More importantly, when it’s clear that a particular school or situation is the wrong next step, you will know to consider changing the plan.