During high school and college, I took a lot of standardized exams. You probably took your fair share of these tests as well. You had a question packet, but you didn’t fill in your answers on the question packet. You bubbled in your answers on a separate page, and you had to use a #2 pencil. It was stressful!
For the most important exams, instructors handed out multiple versions of the same test to the class. On each version, the questions were in a different order. You indicated which version you had on your answer sheet so your test could be scored correctly. The purpose of using multiple versions of the same test was so students couldn’t cheat. If you copied from your neighbor, you would do poorly, because the classmate sitting next to you had a different version of the exam.
I think this testing scenario is a lot like life. Life might be the most difficult exam of all. But we each have a different version of the test. Each of us has a unique set of strengths, weaknesses, abilities, challenges, interests, passions, and values, based on our genetic makeup and socio-cultural upbringing.
Sometimes we might think we want to copy our answers for how to live our life from someone else, but this doesn’t usually work. Each person has a different version of the test. To reach our full potential, we need to resist the urge to copy the life of someone else. Instead, chart your own path, completing your exam one question at a time.