Finding out what you really want to do with life is hard, and frankly, it continuously changes. What you’d want to do with your life when you are 22 would be totally different from what you want to do at 35 or 43, even your day-to-day want changes.
But here’s the good news.
It is all right if you don’t know what you want to do.
As a matter of fact, it is totally normal and healthy. If you have taken a traditional education path, up until your graduation from college, everything has had a roadmap.
We have all gone to school our whole lives, and there have always been specific next steps. First of all, you take Algebra then Geometry then Pre-Calculus, and so on.
We’ve been conditioned to see life as a series of concrete steps. So It makes absolute sense that we find it hard to find purpose after school. Society has mentally conditioned in such a way that the “purpose” of life until we’re 21, is to get excellent grades so that we can progress into the next classes, colleges, internships, and jobs.
So, it’s no fault of yours that you haven’t figured out what you want to do after college. You have technically never been rewarded for thinking about it.
Still, knowing why you haven’t thought about what you want to do with your life, isn’t a reason to abandon all accountability. It just gives you the perspective not to beat up yourself about it.
- Work really hard
It’s a common misapprehension that you could only work hard when find you find that thing you’re passionate about. However, in reality passion hardly works like that, more often than not, when we begin doing something and work hard at it, we tend to learn to love it.
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And even if when don’t love the thing we try out, building an excellent work ethic can only help us when we find that work we grow to love.
Take going to the gym as an example. Starting out, gyming is no fun at all, it sucks cause the exercises are strenuous, your body aching from top to bottom, you sweating unnecessarily, plus you’ve to take out time from your already busy schedule to do it. And yet, so many people love hitting the gym. Were they passionate about all the annoying stuff, no. But they put in the work and developed a passion for it, even learning to enjoy the body aches. A lot of things in life are like hitting the gym.
- Try everything at least once
There’s an old adage that goes like, you miss 100 percent of the chances you don’t take. Truth is, you wouldn’t know if you like or dislike something if you never tried them. The sweaty palms theory is a great rule of thumb here. The idea revolves around doing something weekly that makes your palms sweat. Simply put, do something that scares you weekly. This is the only true way to keep growing.
If we continue to push our own personal limits, we are more inclined to find what we enjoy doing, note that failure is to be expected as it is normal. Embrace fear, Embrace failure and Embrace new experiences.
- Set actionable goals
Working hard without having a set goal is like running in an aimless circle. True, you are doing things and you feel like you’re getting somewhere. But it’d never really get you anywhere.
Goals and objectives don’t need to be perfect, the basic point of them is developing an outcome oriented mindset. Starting with the goal in mind has multiple benefits.
We are more likely to spend less time on frivolous things, because we understand they won’t help us get to our goal. We are more probable to finish what we’ve started. A clear picture of the final output in mind helps us drive forward when barriers arise.
- Surround yourself with better people
Interpersonal relationships is the most important factor for success in life. A toxic relationship can pull us down, while a healthy one can push us up. If we wish to find our purpose in life, then it’s necessary to surround ourselves with people with purpose and conviction and use them as our inspiration.
Not sure where to find these people? Use Meetup.com, volunteer when you can or go for a free lecture at a local college.
Conversely, if we spend most of our time around people who derives satisfaction from taking the easy way out or have low self-esteem and seems not to have a care in the world how they turn out, well what do you think will happen to you?
- Be okay with not knowing
Relax, it’s okay not knowing what you want to do after college. Embrace it. Own it. When I was in 4th grade, I used to think that the 8th graders seemed so mature and they had their life all figured out. Then I got there and was oblivious and then I thought again that juniors in high school had it figured out, I mean they could drive.
Once you can drive, the world is so much better. Nope, wrong again.
So it went on and on till I graduated and was still very unsure of what to do with my life.
After spending two full years out of college I then came to the realization that no one ever fully figures it out. From an outside perspective, lots of people and organizations seems to have cracked the code, but pull back a few layers then you’d see all the uncertainties.
Truth is, our Imperfections never go away. The best thing we can do is learning to embrace and leverage our idiosyncrasies.
Searching for your purpose is a continuous process, and some will never find it, while some will find it really early. But for the majority of the human populace, our purpose is a moving mark that changes always.
Change is the only guarantee, so instead of fighting it, the best we can do is use our lemons to make lemonades. It may seem basic, but we will learn in the future when reminiscing that even in failing, we learnt more about our purpose.