Table of Contents
- I don’t know what to do with my life! 😰 Keep calm and read this…
How do I know what I want to do for a living? Although it seems a very difficult question, in this post we will try to help you find it.
What are we doing with the future of young people? The level of uncertainty that families and adolescents have reached with regard to their future education and employment is shocking.
Countless are the degrees, masters, postgraduate and other studies that promise professional and personal success, but the reality is quite different. Once young people try to enter the professional world, they realize that they made a mistake in choosing their university degree, because after obtaining the “degree” they do not find a job. Or, when they find a job, they realize that they do not like the job, that they do not have the passion, enjoyment, or enthusiasm for the professional activity they are going to dedicate their lives to.
Why are we immersed in this crisis of clarity of decision? From my humble perspective, there is a great crisis of conscience. Young people cannot be expected to enter the real world without knowing themselves. They do not know what their abilities, potentialities, limits, passions, difficulties, and above all what their dominant multiple intelligences are. “Without knowing yourself, it is impossible to decide what your educational or professional future will be”. Statements such as; this profession have a way out, a good salary, many vacations or is for life, only lead to personal dissatisfaction.
What would happen if any young person would be encouraged to know himself instead of just looking for his school performance? And they would also be shown the true reality of the world of work. I think they would have an easier time choosing what they want to be. That is why I propose to young people and families that in order to have the power to make a clear decision, they must first “Discover what they want to do”. This subject is not included in the school curriculum, but it will be essential in the near future.
How nice it would be to know what to do for a living!
As I get the impression that many young people today feel lost, blocked, and not knowing what to do, in this post I would like to share with them the thoughts, beliefs, and exercises that helped me at the time.
I don’t know what to do with my life! 😰 Keep calm and read this…
You look around you and see that everyone is perfectly clear about what they want and where they are going. Everyone… except you, of course. So you come to the conclusion that the problem must be yours, that you were born defective, and that makes you feel very bad.
And you ask yourself “how can I know what I want, and be like the rest of the world”. That world is full of perfect people who have goals aligned with their values and philosophy of life.
Well, let me tell you a couple of secrets:
- You were born complete and flawless. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Having times of poor clarity is the most normal thing in the world.
- 99% of the population lives on autopilot and has no idea what they want. You get the impression that they have it very clear because you only see their good side and we humans always tend to think that the grass grows greener on the other side of the fence, but believe me: deep down most people are more lost than you, that you have at least stopped to think about it. If you are reading this article, means that you are not like everyone else.
So shake off all the pressure, relax and start feeling good.
2. Face the situation from a positive viewpoint
So you want to have everything absolutely clear and know to the millimeter what you will do for the rest of your life. Ok, very well. Take this magic book in which is written everything that will happen to you from today until the day you die: what you will work on, who you will marry, what will be your best moments, what will be your worst ones… You will never have to worry about anything ever again.
Would you read it?
I certainly wouldn’t. If the idea of being a civil servant and working in the same job for 50 years makes me dizzy, the idea of having my whole life decided beforehand is beyond me.
Therefore, I invite you to consider not knowing what you want is something positive, because maybe you have not realized but … you can choose what you want! There is nothing written and you have infinite possibilities in front of you. The world is your playground. Could you be in a better situation?
3. Spend time thinking about what you want. Search for your vocation
Asking yourself, “How do I know what I want to do?” indicates that you are searching for your vocation. By speaking of “want” and not “must,” you are alluding to an inner desire, not an obligation. For the vast majority, that is one of the great aspirations in life. And no one said it better than Confucius: “Choose a job you like and you will never have to work a day in your life”.
My friend Xavier is a mentor, and in a course, he asked a group of students two questions:
- What do you do on Mondays at 12 a.m.?
- What would be your perfect job?
The first one was answered by everyone. The second question was answered only by 1 in 20.
All those who did not answer the second question will inevitably end up dissatisfied with their work lives. They can’t possibly be happy, because if they don’t know where they’re going… how will they know they’ve arrived at their destination?
I say exactly the same thing to you. If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, the solution is very simple: stop and think about what you want. But really think about it, as if your life was at stake, not 5 minutes on a Sunday morning in the shower. More specifically, I recommend that you do the exercise of your ideal life.
It’s a small exercise that will take you less than 30 minutes and will give you tremendous clarity on what you really want. When I did it for the first time it changed my life, and I’ve been doing it again every year since.
4. Imagine yourself in the future
Have you ever tried to imagine what your life will be like 10, 20, or 40 years from now? Realistically, it will be difficult to get it right. However, establishing a model of your ‘ideal life’ will guide you to get as close as possible to it and establish priorities and purposes for your daily life. The smaller the distance that separates you from that ideal life, the greater your happiness will be.
5. Discard what doesn’t suit you
It may be difficult to discover at first what you like. But it will certainly be easier to know what you don’t like. Play a game of antonyms and discard the one that sounds worst to you. For example, physical or intellectual work? manual or computer tasks? with adults, the elderly or children? literary or scientific? a creative job or a mechanical one to ‘think’ as little as possible? self-employed or salaried professional to minimize risks? And so on, with many other examples.
6. Observe your environment
Many people work in the same profession as their parents or relatives because they want to maintain the family tradition, even if they do not have a vocation for it. Others, on the other hand, choose it because they know it firsthand and know the advantages it provides. In your case, you can look to it for either of the two decisions: choose or discard. And not only in the case of your family: take inspiration from the professions of those closest to you and try to imagine yourself in them. Which ones would satisfy you the most?
7. Look at what surrounds each job.
Beyond the tasks involved in a particular job, there are other ‘collateral’ factors that you should take into account because sometimes they make it more attractive… and sometimes they make it an ordeal. And it is something totally subjective because for one it will be the first and for others, the second.
For example: would you like your job to involve travel? Do you want to work from home? Do you want to be a freelancer? Are you fascinated by technological innovations or are you more old-school? Are you mentally strong enough to face complicated situations? Answer these questions, you may find more useful information than you imagined when evaluating your options.
8. Explore and experiment
If you don’t know what you want, the worst thing you can do is sit on the couch waiting for it to magically come to you one day. To get that clarity you lack, you need to interact with the world and change the “I don’t want to do anything” for “I’m going to experiment”. Travel, meet different people, explore, experiment, do things.
LIVE NEW EXPERIENCES.
My recommendation is to start with something that excites you. The question “what accomplishments would I be excited to achieve?” is a good place to start. But when you go to try something, don’t dip your little toe in the water and say it’s cold and you don’t like it. No, when you go to try something, you have to dive into the pool headfirst.
I was listening to a guy recently who was telling how when he was young he dreamed of being a rock singer, so one day he bought a guitar, leather clothes and dyed his hair blue. He lived 3 months as a rocker, realized it wasn’t his thing, and quit.
That’s how you should explore and experiment: dye your hair a color that excites you to see if you really like it.
9. Develop useful skills
Sebastian Marshall, in his fantastic book Ikigai, recommends to people who don’t know what they want to do with their lives to assume that they will eventually figure it out, and in the meantime develop relationships, skills, resources, and experiences that will be useful when they finally figure out what they want to do.
I think that’s great advice, and when the day comes you’ll be thankful that you’ve been preparing instead of sitting on your hands.
Here’s what Sebastian recommends:
- Start studying and developing your own ethical system.
- Meet friends, advisors, and mentors who are good people.
- Learn universally useful skills
- Get some credentials
- Save some money
- Study history to learn what is possible
- Establish good habits that you will keep for the rest of your life
- Get in shape
- Learn to think rationally
Then accompany the list with some more concrete and actionable recommendations. I’m not going to put them here because they take up several pages, but if you are interested you can find them in the book.
Of these, we highly recommend these three:
- Learn other languages. If you don’t know English, you’re too late. Not knowing English today is to be a modern illiterate. Information is power, and the best information is always in English. If you already know English, I recommend that you learn one of the most spoken languages in the world. This will open doors for you.
- Study personal finance. Having healthy beliefs about money and understanding how the stock market and the financial system works can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
- Travel. If possible alone; visit countries different from yours, countries that will leave a mark in your life.
And here ends our article. We hope we have helped you focus on what you want to be in the future.