Do you know what I hate?
Not the concept, of course, but the intense pressure that surrounds knowing what your “life purpose” should be.
It starts so early.
As kids, we’re asked what we want to do when we grow up. As teens, we’re asked what our passions are.
We hear platitudes like “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” and “Decide what you want then make it happen”.
But deciding “what you want” isn’t so easy. I’m about as decisive as people can get and I don’t even know what I want most of the time.
There’s enormous pressure to find a life or career path that we not only have a natural aptitude and affinity for, but also makes some sort of difference to the world or gives our lives some kind of meaning.
If you’re in a field that matches your natural skill set and creates meaning and you love it and you have extraordinary colleagues who you sit around a campfire with every weekend, singing Disney tunes, go you!
Right, now for the rest of us:
It’s hard to find your purpose!
It’s also hard when we’re constantly questioning if what we’re doing is “right” for our unique skills, gifts and talents and if we could “better” use them somewhere else.
So, if you are like 99.99% of the population and you don’t know “what you’re doing with your life”, I have the following advice:
Forget that question. Focus instead on answering questions like:
“What am I interested in?”
“What should I try first?”
“What do I want to know more about?”
“What question do I want to find an answer to?”
Most successful people don’t start out with an all-encompassing vision for their life. They pull at an area of interest, chase an idea that excites them, or look at answering a question they don’t know the answer to.
Follow your interests. Be curious. And I bet where you end up will be pretty damn meaningful (and if it’s not, at least you’ll know a lot about penguins!).