If you don’t know what to do with your life read this
I must have been about 9 years old when my physical education teacher told me:
"Mario, class is over." Stop running everywhere, and go change!
To which I replied with the agitated voice of so much running:
"Sir, I have too much energy!"
Now you are probably wondering why I am telling you this.
That stage of my life and the following years were characterized by the same energy.
They were good times.
I played sports every day, I was having fun with my classmates, and although I didn't like many of the classes at school, I woke up happy and full of energy knowing that I could play sports and see my friends.
Give me that energy back
About 15 years later. Every morning the alarm went off to go to work. I felt I had no energy to get up.
Even when I went to bed early, I could not wake up rested and recover my energy.
The routine of going to the office to lock myself in a job that did not fulfill me, try to take advantage of the few hours that I had left after leaving work and then go to bed to repeat the same day the same one lifted without energy, had made me lose the vitality that characterized me.
That was all? Was this the meaning of life?
Growing up, finishing school, finding a reputable "good job" that pays well, then following that routine for more than 40 years until I could retire?
For a moment, I stopped to contemplate those who already held renowned positions within the company, and that I could achieve if I continued 10, 15, or even 20 years in the company.
I stopped to observe all those managers, directors, and executives, and I realized that I didn't see them happier or more satisfied than I was about the work they were doing.
I understood that my place was not there.
I realized that my colleagues - were also not full of energy and passion for the work they did, which only made me confirm that I had to keep looking.
The seeker always finds
As a gift from heaven, I found a book that would make me rethink everything. It was Stephen Covey's book, the 7 habits of highly effective people.
This book not only helped me to ask myself the critical questions, but it triggered a series of other situations.
I acquired the habit of reading and began to enjoy every book that passed me.
Book of Stephen Covey was followed by dozens of books that marked a before and after in my life.
I realized that I had disconnected from who I was, the things that I liked the most and that my body was screaming at me to make a change in my life and that otherwise, the energy would not return.
Expectations of the conventional world
And I kept quiet because I was in an "excellent job" and because I felt I could not be so thankful to complain when I was working in a good company where many would like to work.
But should I shut it up just because not doing so would go against what was socially correct?
There came one of the first lessons that would be of great help to me from then on:
We live making decisions based on what others expect of us, on the image we want to project, on what we have been led to believe is the right or conventional thing to do and many times we forget what really represents us and moves us.
We forget that we are all unique and that we have different tastes, talents, and preferences than others.
Follow your dreams, not those of others
In my experience, you cannot find a satisfactory path if you try to achieve dreams that are not your own but that you believe as such.
Sooner or later, we must realize that we are solely responsible for the decisions we make and that not being honest with who we are is to fail ourselves and fail the rest.
When we make decisions based on the dreams that others have or on what we were told to do, we distance ourselves from the potential we all carry inside and sooner or later, the inevitable happens:
We find ourselves in jobs that we don't like. It gives us anxiety, depression, and we live waiting for the weekend, we get sick and see how our light goes out.
Relief and regaining energy
On the contrary, what usually happens when we reconnect with who we really are, when we go through our dreams and when we take advantage of our potential?
When this happens, there is no doubt that incredible things happen.
We activate one of the most fundamental laws of nature: The law of cause and effect.
By becoming aware of our situation and accepting responsibility for our actions (cause), little by little, we are witnessing how things begin to improve and how positive results start to arrive (effect).
When I realized all this, I did not decide that I would quit my job overnight, but instead, I studied the options, read, save, and plan the next steps while I was still in my office work.
However, throughout this process, the energy began to return.
My body began to realize that I was working towards a better reality and a clear objective.
I answered the crucial questions that at some point in life one stops asking, I defined what was my purpose in life, what was the ideal life which I would like to live in, and started working every day to get a little closer to my achievement.
Finally, every day they started to make sense because every week that passed I was getting a little closer to the life I wanted, I was working for my goals, and although it was slow, I knew that I had already started to work on something that would fill me with satisfaction and meaning.
If you don't like your current situation, the first thing you should do is be aware of the problem, accept it without judging yourself and then have the determination to decide to do something about it.
Many lament the problem instead of acting and follow the example of the dog story. It goes more or less like this:
A man sees a dog lying in the middle of the street, whining and moaning.
"Why is the dog moaning?" The man asks.
"He's sitting on his nail." It hurts enough to moan but not enough to move."
Have you ever been the dog in this story?
I certainly have been.
We have all complained about our situation, instead of proactively taking action, even when we want things to change, just like this dog.
Do you want things to change?
Well, today is the day when you will begin to stop complaining like the dog, and you will start to make things change.
However, before achieving this, we need to understand something that I will explain below with another story.
Wherever you want, the taxi driver story
Can you imagine crossing the street during a rainy day, stopping a taxi hoping to weather the storm, and telling the taxi driver the following? :
"Good afternoon, please take me wherever you want."
Could you guess where you would end up?
You probably cannot know, because you left your destiny at the mercy of another person.
Your whereabouts options would be something like this:
- The taxi driver travels throughout the city and leaves you at the other end of where you got on. It charges you a large sum of money for the tour, and also when you get off, you realize that it is raining even stronger than before. As if that were not enough, you have nowhere to take refuge: A disaster.
- The taxi driver takes you out of the city to a hill, leaves you dumped there, hits you, and steals everything you brought with you: a tragedy.
- The taxi driver drives for a few minutes stop as if by magic in front of your house and tells you that you have arrived at the destination safe and sound: A miracle.
- The taxi driver starts to drive hours and hours around the city while the taxpayer's bill payable increases and increases. You relax and decide to settle for at least not getting wet during the journey. However, this continues for longer than due, and after a few hours, the money in your wallet is not enough to pay the taxi driver, and you do not even know where he is going to leave you: You are in an enclosure.
- The taxi driver is a great guy. He asks you where you are going, and although you are not sure, he advises you on where you should go, guides you and leaves you in a safe place, protected from the rain. At the end of the journey, it also makes you a discount: What a great guy John is (at this point and after talking long and hard, you already know his name and half his life).
As you can see, this taxi trip can end in various destinations.
But what do they all have in common?
What they have in common is not precisely the final destination of the trips.
What they have in common is that none of the destinations are under your control. Despite having the hope of avoiding the storm, you left your life in the hands of another.
You did not take responsibility for your destiny and allowed external factors to determine where you would end up.
As you can imagine, this is not just a fictitious exercise. This happens in real life.
Many times "we hope" that something will happen, but we are not able to decide what our true destiny is.
We don't even have the time to define precisely our goals.
The natural question is: How are you going to reach the destination you would like to achieve if you have not even defined it?
It is practically impossible!
If you have not stopped to study and seriously analyze where you want to be, how do you expect to get there? As in this story, a miracle may occur. A disaster or tragedy may occur.
You may settle for little at the beginning and that as a result, you end up in an enclosure.
It can also happen to you that you meet people who help you and guide you along the way. This is where I would like you to consider joining the community of Successent.
6 tips for finding out what to do with your life
Next, I will give you some advice that, based on my experience and research, can be of great help when you do not know what to do with your life.
Regardless of where you are in life, I recommend that the first thing you do is perform an introspection exercise and take into account the following tips:
1. Ask yourself the right questions
If you don't ask yourself the right questions, how do you want to find answers?
As basic as these questions may seem, the answers you can get can change your life. They have certainly changed mine.
- What is my goal in life?
- Where do I want to go, and why?
- What are my priorities?
- What would be my ideal lifestyle?
- What would I have liked to have achieved in 1, 3, 5, or 20 years? Write it down.
- What would you enjoy in the process of doing so even if the end result is not what you expected?
- What is my definition of success?
Thanks to asking myself these questions (and some others) and giving me the time to answer them, I started to move from a job that did not fill me, to one that I am passionate about, that allows me the lifestyle that I always wanted, and that genuinely fulfills me.
If you want to find answers to your problems, take some time to stop and find solutions!
Personally, I am sure that if I had NOT answered these questions, I would probably be partying and getting drunk.
If you want more of the questions that helped me, and other helpful tips, you can access them by downloading the free guide here.
2. Don't waste time feeling guilty; take responsibility.
We have all been victims of ever not keeping the promises we have made, of not performing the actions that we know we should perform, or of seeing how time goes by and we do not achieve the expected results.
Making mistakes is normal and not knowing what decisions to make too, so don't waste your time feeling guilty.
We think again and again about our mistakes, about what we could have done better and about how bad we are compared to other people.
And so we spent hours feeling guilty. In this regard, I propose the following: do not feel guilty, feel responsible.
The difference between the two is subtle, but enormous at the same time, and is that guilt has a negative connotation and is useless.
On the contrary, responsibility tells you that you accept the consequences of your actions and that you decide to take responsibility for them, which in turn makes us learn from each situation and seek solutions.
Therefore, the best we can do is set aside guilt and adopt an attitude of responsibility.
Each of us is responsible for everything that happens to us, and the only thing we can control in life are the decisions we make and the attitude we have in the face of the different challenges we face.
Forget about blaming the neighbor, the government, your family, your teachers, or society.
The only person responsible for improving your life is you.
3. Calm down, nothing happens!
If there are days when you feel like a freak when you see how everyone uploads photos to Instagram showing their best face and gives you the impression that everyone has their life resolved except you, be clear about two things:
- You are not the black sheep: Although it may not seem like it, they ALL go through difficulties at some point in their life and have to face some problem. Remember that 80% of the population feels dissatisfied in their work and that, therefore, you are not alone in this, nor are you an extraterrestrial.
- All in time: You probably make the mistake of comparing yourself with the rest and especially with those who seem to "take the lead." Understand that everyone has their own pace and that there is nothing wrong with going at a slower pace. Keep in mind that just by reading this and questioning things, you are one step ahead of where you were before. That's all you need. Take one step at a time in the right direction without comparing yourself to anyone but yourself. Everything comes to its time, and it will touch you, you need to go one step at a time and learn from each part of this process.
4. Conquer your fears
Perfect, I already answered the questions, wrote my goals, and I have all the motivation to achieve them! But what usually happens when you set a big goal?
First, you feel the joy, enthusiasm, and confidence to go for it, BUT then it gets complicated.
The shows fear, the doubts and insecurities :
What do I do if it goes wrong, what will they say about me, and what happens if I don't have what it takes?
At first, this makes you hesitate to take action and can paralyze you.
However, between book and book, courses, and videos, I learned something significant and that, during my reinvention process, helped me to forget all these fears. I will continue with that, but first, let's understand the following:
Yes, we all have fears. Do you want to admit it or not.
But what is fear? Defined by the dictionary, fear is "anguish for risk of real or imaginary damage."
As you can see, I have purposely highlighted the word "imaginary."
And the truth is that our ancestors YES who had REAL fears when their survival was in danger every day against the possible attack of some predator.
Most of our fears are IMAGINARY and are caused by ourselves for thoughts, beliefs, or actions that are born and live only in our minds.
To overcome it, I want to share with you 3 tips on how to perceive the fear:
- 1) Understand that fear is an imbalance between your resources and the situation:
An imbalance between my resources and my situation. What does this mean?
It means that to get ahead of fears and any situation that fills you with insecurities, what you should do is increase your resources.
Your resources can be your knowledge, your skills, your beliefs, your preparation, your money, your mentality, your contacts, your experience, among others.
Therefore, if you want to make a significant change in your life, but you feel terrified, you should take it as a challenge and an opportunity to increase your available resources compared to your current situation.
In my case, in the face of the dilemma of what I should do with my life, I decided to increase my following resources massively:
My knowledge, my mentality, my skills, my savings, and my experience.
As soon as I began to invest in my resources, I witnessed how my fears and insecurities were dissolving and how everything started to become a little easier and clearer.
- 2) Be clear about your goal and let this be your guide and motivation
Once you are clear about your goal or purpose, you can draw strength and firmness from that goal.
You can now act with confidence because you know where you are going.
For example, if you are at point A, and you took the time to analyze enough to know for sure that you want to get to point B, you already know that all you have to do to get there is overcome any fear and act in spite of the doubt.
Sounds so easy, but how can I be so sure to act despite these obstacles?
The answer is clear: you are supposed to take the time to analyze and evaluate where you wanted to go (you want to get to point B).
This helps you know that any insecurity or doubt, is nothing but fear trying to stop you to "protect" you from the unknown.
However, once you recognize that everything is in your mind and that this fear is a product of your imagination, it is much easier to take action.
If you want to get to point B, all obstacles, fears, and insecurities are part of the price. You must be willing to pay to get where you want. Is that simple.
- 3) Perceive your fears as challenges you must overcome
Overcoming you is uncomfortable. Change is awkward. Growing up is uncomfortable because it involves overcoming inevitable obstacles.
It is true, it is. But it is also a challenge. And if you manage to get ahead of the awkward things. That is an indicator that you are growing and surpassing yourself.
For this reason, I invite you to perceive your fears as challenges necessary to achieve your goal and that you must face with the courage to overcome them.
5. Become a better version of yourself
Although we are not aware of it, absolutely every day we have the opportunity to improve in some aspect or learn something new.
Every day we can improve our discipline, our habits, our efficiency, our knowledge, and so many other things a little.
As I mentioned earlier, it is crucial to increase our resources and continuously acquire new resources.
These are some of the things you can do to improve your skills and knowledge:
- Create a morning routine
- Sign up for a course of your interest (in person or online, it doesn't matter)
- Learn a new language (studies have shown that knowing how to speak fluent English is more valuable than a master's degree or an MBA)
- Start exercising
- Read books on topics that allow you to improve skills that you think are necessary
- Spend your money and time on useful things
- Surround yourself with people who inspire you (if you don't know anyone in person, read books, bibliographies, interviews, or websites of inspiring people.)
- Define what would be your best version as a human being and decide that you will achieve it
- GROW DAY BY DAY and invest in yourself
As we begin to perform these small actions and get closer to a better version of ourselves, we begin to see opportunities that we were not able to see before, and we begin to open a world of possibilities.
The "coincidences" begin, certain people appear that give you a little push, and you begin to make better decisions.
But for that, you must be prepared and be your best version.
Otherwise, you will ignore and miss great opportunities.
-If you are looking for a new opportunity and one day a recruiter goes to select candidates where you are, but you have not prepared enough, nor are you your best version, you are likely to choose another and miss the opportunity.
-If you want to find a partner, but you have not invested in your resources (trust and confidence in you, knowledge, values, skills, charisma, integrity, etc.), your better half can pass in front of you, and you may not even dare to talk to him
-If you have spent time with the idea of setting up a business, but you have not analyzed the needs of people or the current situation in the market, the perfect idea may happen in front of your nose, and you may not see it.
As you can see, you must not only be in the right place, at the right time, but you must also be the right person.
Become your best version and be the right person at all times.
It may interest you: Rules you Need to Follow if you want to Win Friends and Influence People
6. Take action and experience
It would be nice that with just THINKING about all this we could immediately find the best alternative, but the reality is that this is only half the work. The other half is to take action and EXPERIENCE.
Experience everything you want, just don't get paralyzed!
If, for example, you have been thinking that you would like to volunteer for a year, but you do not know if it really is what you need at this time, do not stay reflecting on it.
Take a day off or a weekend, and EXPERIENCE with a situation similar to the volunteer you plan to do.
You can go to a nursing home and help with chores on a Saturday, or maybe you could go to a charity and volunteer for the weekend.
Do you want to start a blog and see how much you like it? Do it as an experiment!
Are you thinking about changing your profession? Find someone who is dedicated to that and spend a day with this person witnessing the good and bad of this profession.
The important thing is to take action and experiment!
If I had not been in regular office jobs for more than 2 years, I would not have known that was not for me. Experiencing is when we obtain more valuable information.
Discovering what to do with our lives requires, like most things in life, work, and effort.
And as you know, discovering is a verb, and as such, it implies action.
The answers are not going to fall from the sky. However, once you make the decision to find your way and take the reins of your life, you come into contact with the power to design the life you want.
Set aside a full weekend to clarify your ideas and answer the questions above and perform some of the tips described in this article.
Invest in yourself, take action, grow, get over it, enjoy the road, and then remember to send me greetings, from the top, when you've arrived!
Now tell me:
What did you think of this post, and what made the most sense to you?
Did you set your goals, and more importantly, an action plan to get there?