You’re probably already overthinking right now, having just read the title of this post.
I know you are because I have been overthinking this subject for a long time and I know exactly how you feel.
If you’re doing some deep-sea trawling to find the question of where you should be directing your life, let me offer you some relief by telling you how close you really are to find it.
Hint: it’s so close, you can’t actually see it. And that’s the problem.
“Smashed avo toast, some organic free-range eggs and a Bloody Mary, please”
Some days, I feel I should be the poster child of how a 20-something millennial behaves.
I was not one who knew that I wanted to be a vet when I was 7.
I was busy being 7 when I was 7, like you were.
I’ve had more ideas about my life direction than any kind of vegan cereal with non-dairy kinds of milk and Netflix Originals all combined into one big ethical chill session.
Put it down to the abundance of choice we have and the fact that we weren’t prepared for any of it. But that’s where most of us find ourselves.
The combination of outward research into different careers and the inward influence I would get from people around me meant I was contemplating a lot of different paths I thought would suit.
Sometimes, it would even get to a point where it would only take a single podcast for me to decide that, “Yes, of course! I have it! Why didn’t I know sooner that I was meant to be an endurance athlete!” (True story).
But I found I could never sit with one idea long enough until another one came along and I would jump on that bandwagon too.
I would start to get suspicious with myself as to why I’m so into being a salesman all of a sudden. (Yep, true story. Just ‘salesman’).
I started to get really frustrated and ask myself:
“What the hell? Where did this come from and why am I so into this?”
Any of this sound familiar?
Are you jumping from one idea to another then getting tired of not relating to any of it in the end?
Pfff, tell me about it. And pass the oat milk.
Mind versus Heart
You see, I found that all of the processing I was doing was rational and logical.
I was weighing up of pros and cons of whatever I was focused on at the time like a project manager.
For example: if for some reason the idea of becoming a journalist came up (yup also true), I would think really hard about it and weigh up the pros and cons of say, going to university and being broke all the time whilst competing in a saturated market.
(Funnily enough, most careers these days involve us being broke for extended periods in saturated marketplaces — but that’s a whole other post).
I was going through a decision-making process of how I would live my life with my head; logically putting the pieces together of how my life could be designed.
Rinse and repeat for every idea that came to me.
But, inevitably, that feeling of self-suspicion would resurface.
I would change my mind or something else would come along that would make me go “Oooh” or “Hmmm” or “Wait, that’s a job now?”.
And again, it would never take much.
The long way round
Sowhy? Why was it so difficult to stay with one career choice for longer than a week?
Turns out, it was simple: because I didn’t care.
I was planning with my head and not my heart.
And you can’t care about something passionately with just your head.
You can’t be rationally passionate about something. Passion is inherently irrational in most cases.
The reason I never stuck with an idea was that my heart just wasn’t in it. It rationally made sense but I discovered that I need more than what just ‘made sense’.
If this feeling resonates with you, you’re probably in the same soul-searching place I was in.
The Industrial Revolution vs Vlogs
Welive in this golden age of the Internet. This year, a 7-year-old boy made $22 million simply by reviewing toys on YouTube.
You can make a living out of anything these days, as long as you work hard at it.
That’s an important distinction because even just a single generation ago, this kind of thinking wasn’t possible. Our grandparents could never consider this kind of opportunity.
But this isn’t the era of our grandparents.
The simple fact of having a job was enough for that generation to be grateful for.
We have the amazing privilege (and it is a privilege guys) to pursue a path that means something to us. This thinking has penetrated the cultural zeitgeist of our generation.
You know, “If you’re not pursuing your passion then you’re doing something wrong” is something we all feel, even if no one explicitly said to us.
(I would somewhat agree that if you’re not making the most of the golden age of the Internet right now then yes, you have no reason to complain that your life isn’t going according to how you want it to be. Because it is actually there for the taking).
But all this choice has given us much more anxiety about what kind of life we
Our grandparents were grateful to have a job and that was it.
They were never working and wondered to themselves, “are my values really aligned with core values of this car-engine manufacturer?”
They just did their jobs.
Then came home and made far too many babies because there was nothing else to think about after that.
But these are different times, with different issues and a different generation.
So, no judgments here. *cough* Except for the wealth gap and carbon emissions and plastics and over-population and stuff. *cough* ‘Scuse me.
So the question comes again:
How we take advantage of this amazing time of choice we live in if we don’t know what to do with it?
How do we know what we care about?
Accept and allow yourself
Having gone through a long period of self-discovery and soul-searching, I have somewhat frustratingly come full-circle and reached a conclusion that I knew all along.
That I love to talk about life. I also love to talk with others about their lives and help if I can. I also love and have a passion for apps that can support living a healthy, balanced life.
Sounds frothy, and it is, but that’s me and I was running away from it and looking under all sorts of rocks for years.
I also believe that you never truly know that something is your life-calling.
So, if you feel somewhat aligned with what you’re reading here, let me ask you, do you feel you’re doing the same?
Because most likely you are.
Most likely, you’re either running away from what it is or you’re too close to see it.
You may be running away because the idea isn’t super sexy in the eyes of others.
Or maybe you’re simply too close to see.
What to do next
As my father always said and continues to say to me;
The only way to see it is by taking a step back and maybe working with a coach who can help you to step back.
Zooming out involves removing yourself from what you know and stepping out of your comfort zone.
Because when you’re uncomfortable, the way you behave signifies the kind of person you are underneath and this can act as a kind of guide.
Working with a coach will give you unbelievable returns on your self-reflection and can rocket you along the path of self-discovery or whatever it is you’re having seeking guidance with.
Even talking to people you don’t normally talk with is all you need sometimes.
You’ll find that actually, not everyone likes in-depth analysis of the Marvel universe.
Or not everyone likes crochet work as much as you do.
Or actually, most people don’t care about the latest discovery in machine learning related to the field of deep-space optics.
That’s actually your thing.
The point is this: you may not actually have to rinse yourself looking for your life’s calling.
It’s probably already calling but you’re just not listening.
So, when you do take the step back or make time for a meditative practice to calm yourself and you do find that thing you want to do, you need to do one thing and one thing only.
So take a step back. Practice some meditation. Calm your mind. If you hear that calling then you only have one thing more to do:
To go full-force, all-in on that calling and to live it fully.
Because if you don’t, you’ll only continue your own suffering. Not only that, you’ll be withholding it from the world which is just as bad.
So it’s sort of your duty to fully realise your calling.
And because you deserve to.