I'm just laying bricks

By Ray DePaul

"I have no idea where I'm heading."

This can be an unsettling feeling when you're in a car, but it's downright scary when you're talking about your life. I know this is a common feeling among students and even graduates. When I hit this point in my own career, it was my son that gave me the most profound advice.

He told me to start laying bricks. Everytime he went to a networking event, inserted himself into a new group of people, learned a new skill, took a class, had coffee with a new acquaintance, he felt like he was laying a brick on the ground in front of him. Sometimes those bricks were scattered and didn't appear to lead anywhere, but as long as he was laying bricks, he felt like he was making progress. "If you lay enough bricks, a path is bound to appear." Brilliant.

While I'm a fan of goal-setting, there needs to be room for those of us that might be stuck on what our goals should be. My son's simple advice doesn't deliver an instant solution but it is far more constructive than fixating on the fact that you are lost. Back before GPS, getting lost in the car often meant taking fascinating detours and back roads, having experiences that were far more thrilling than the direct route - but you had to keep driving (yes, I'm ignoring the scenario of running out of gas in the middle of the desert, or the pride-swallowing option of asking for directions).

When I shared my eldest son's advice with his younger, hockey-playing brother, he immediately said, "Sure. You have to keep your feet moving." It appears that my offspring are far wiser than I am.