What Should I Do With My Life? – 6 Questions to help you find your purpose
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With all the questions we face in our lives, finally we have an easy one!
Easy question, honestly.
I guess if you absolutely don’t want to farm crabs (which I simply don’t understand) then that question becomes much more complicated.
I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid it seemed like by now I’d have it all together, knowing where I was going and how I was getting there.
Now that I’m older I recognize that I’m floating in an ocean of uncertainty.
But I’m not alone. It seems many people are navigating the dark waters with me.
Many people are asking questions like:
What do i want to do with my life?
What should I do for a living?
What is the point of life?
One thing that makes these questions so difficult to answer is the fact that…well, there’s no easy answer.
Except for crab farmers, of course.
These questions vary vastly from one person to the next. Not only that, but even within the same person these things can change with time.
Think about it; do you have the same desires and goals now that you did when you were fourteen?
Unless you’re incredibly single-minded, the chances are no.
So what are we to do about this difficult question?
Trust me, there have been many times when I’ve thought to myself: I don’t know what to do with my life. I found that I was just going through the motions.
In order to get to the bottom of what to do with my life, I realized that it was time to get introspective. Let’s dive into those self-reflective questions.
6 Questions & Tips To Answer “What To Do With My Life?”
1. What are you passionate about?
The first thing you should focus on when trying to figure out what to do with your life, is to figure out what it is you’re passionate about.
There are a few steps to this and I go more in depth about it here at how to find your passion, but I can break it down briefly here.
First thing’s first: what is it that drives you?
What’s the thing that you can spend hours on and never tire of? It could be something like art, or writing, or bull riding.
Whatever it is, find the thing that you love beyond just about everything else.
Assuming you’re not a serial killer, driving to follow your desires should be your main concern and can be cathartic in its own right.
Many people confuse ‘what should I do with my life’ with ‘what am I expected to do with my life, and that’s a big mistake.
Say your father and your fathers’ father are lawyers. You might feel a pressure to be a lawyer as well. In fact, it may be expected that you’ll be a lawyer.
That’s all well and good if you want to be a lawyer. But what if law doesn’t suit you? What if the pressure of having someone’s future hinge on your success or failure makes you sick to your stomach?
I know it’s easier said than done to ignore or outright defy the wishes of your family, but if your goal is to make you happy, sometimes hard choices must be made.
On the bright side of that, know that while the initial decision and reaction from those you care about may be tough, following what you truly love will have the opposite effect.
Rid yourself of those negative thoughts, like…
I can’t do what I really want.
I’m not good at anything.
Nobody believes in me.
These thoughts and other thoughts like them need to be pushed from your mind. They are counterproductive to your success.
Words, more specifically your own thoughts, have power. You can limit yourself with your own thoughts and ideas about what you are capable of.
Think more positively in your life. If you haven’t achieved what you want to in your life, say “I haven’t achieved that yet.”
Dont be your own worst enemy.
Always push yourself to keep striving toward your goals.
2. What is success?
So one thing to ask yourself when trying to decide what to do with your life is what success means.
Success is different for everybody.
Maybe your idea of success is to make piles of money. You want to just Scrooge McDuck it up.
Possibly success to you is leaving a positive impact on your community or the world.
Try thinking about the five things that make a person successful in your mind. This list is yours and yours alone.
Be completely honest with yourself when making your list. Don’t let society’s idea of success complicate it.
As you start to dial in on the things that make a person successful, you’ll begin to get a clearer idea of what you may want to do with your life.
3. What is your ideal life?
Think about what your ideal life would be. What would it take to attain this?
For example, have you always wanted to live on a beach front property? Maybe you want to live somewhere with extremely mild summers.
Don’t limit your thoughts to where you want to live! We’re talking about an ideal life!
How do you spend your days? Helping old ladies cross the street? Water skiing? Perhaps writing?
There are definitely a couple sort of “subset” questions to guide you here as well.
Where in the world are you living?
Maybe you love the dry heat of Arizona and that would be the top place on your list. What about the rolling green hills of New Zealand? I’ve always heard Guam is nice pretty much any time of year.
Who is in your life? Are you surrounded by friends and family? Perhaps you’re a more reclusive person and want to have your own little piece of paradise far from the noise of society.
Once you’ve got down the what, the where, and the who start putting together a realistic list of what it would take to make that dream life a reality.
Let’s be honest with each other. Chances are our ideal life doesn’t come to fruition, because most of our ideas of ideals simply aren’t realistic.
But we can fashion a more realistic version of our fantasy life and live a sincerely fulfilling and satisfying life.
So let’s get down to the cold hard bottom line: cash.
Money makes the world go around. That’s a fact, and circumventing that will be next to impossible.
How are we going to fund our life?
It’s possible that your income is part of your ideal life. For example if your ideal life is hunting every season, you can make a living guiding hunts. You can actually make a very good living doing this.
When you can monetize a part of your ideal life, you’re looking real good.
If, however, your idea of ideal is jet setting around the world, eating the most expensive meals and collecting the rarest Pokemon cards in the world, you’ve realistically got a lot of work before you can make it a reality.
Are you going to work a well paying job for thirty years or more, then fall into a glamorous and relaxing retirement? That’s one way of accomplishing your ideal life, and it’s well deserved.
If not, consider a job that allows you the freedom and time to still do the things you love while earning money at the same time.
I know that’s easier said than done, but understand we live in the most flexible time in the history of the world. What you do to earn money is limited almost literally by your own creativity.
No joke. I know that sounds like some lame “reach for the stars” quote, but look around the world. Everywhere you can find people that made a living out of some of their favorite things.
From shooting exotic guns to playing video games at an elite level, the possibilities are endless.
So back to your ideal life. How much dough would it take to get there? How much do you need to make to sustain yourself and your lifestyle.
To interject my own personal feelings on the matter, you should build your life around something you love to do and dig deep into that creativity to help get you to where you want to be in life.
4. Where does your skillset lay?
Alright, friend, now it’s time to decipher what it is that you’re good at.
Trust me, everybody is great at something. At the very least, everybody has an aptitude for something that they can become better at easier than the people around them.
What is the thing that you constantly overachieve at? What is the thing that seems to come easy to you?
Some people have it easy and have that clear advantage in a certain field. Others might have to work on it to find what it is that they really vibe with.
Whatever the case may be, find your skill and embrace it.
Michael Jordan didn’t become the most dominant and feared player in the NBA for fifteen seasons by throwing up one basket and saying, “Hey I’m pretty good at this.”
He worked and grinded and worked some more until he was arguably the best player to grace the court.
The same must be true for you. When you find your gift, hone it and perfect it. Work on it until you can confidently proclaim that you’re great.
Once you’re comfortable with your art it’s time to try to find ways to monetize it. This is where the creativity comes in.
5. Find people with the same love as you.
Finding a person or a group of people that share your passion is a fun and productive part of deciding what it is you should do with your life.
Grouping up with people that love the same things that you love elicits a creativity that you may not have found by yourself.
Maybe you find that partner in crime you’ve always been looking for!
Hanging out around people who have the same interests as you can be a breath of fresh air.
It’s often fun and productive, and you find ways to expand your craft. Even though you’re now a master of your craft, you can always get better.
These are the people that can help you and push you to the next level.
Having a group of people that are knowledgeable about your craft doesn’t just lead to the possibility that you’ll create lasting friendships or relationships, it also opens the opportunity to collaborate with them and do amazing things in your field.
Remember, people are starting businesses every day based around things they love.
6. Don’t waste time.
In fact, there is a quote by Benjamin Franklin I really love about wasting time –
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
And although I typically have zero grasp of old english, I doest understandeth (or something like that) exactly what he meant here.”
Time is precious, it is the actual essence of our life, and it should be treated that way.
Do you find yourself stuck wasting a lot of time?
Stop that mess!
No one is saying that every moment has to be serious and full of work, but work is the basis of what is going to make your life fulfilling.
Of course fun and relaxation is important, but take a mental quiz real quick.
When was the last time you made yourself better?
At anything, mind you.
When was the last time you read up on a subject that interests you and you learned something new?
Has it been days? A week? Maybe a couple of months?
Aim to minimize these time gaps.
There is always time to kick back and relax, but when that overtakes your forward progress is when you need to buckle down and make a change.
Have you always loved music?
Try to listen to a new artist with a new perspective. Give it a subjective chance. You may find that you like something you otherwise wouldn’t ever have known.
Time is the most valuable resource we have as human beings. We have a finite amount, don’t know what that amount is, and once it’s spent we can never get it back.
When you think about it that way, every day that you spend doing nothing is a day of your life you’ve objectively wasted to no benefit.
This isn’t something to be despondent about.
We all get caught up in the daily grind and find ourselves just going through the motions from time to time.
The trick here is to realize when this is happening and break the cycle.
What’s the bottom line?
The bottom line is that I can’t just come out and tell you what it is you should do with your life.
As much as I would like to say crab farmer…
Nobody knows you like you do.
Nobody understands your mind, your skills, your desires like you do.
So when you ask what should I do with my life I say this:
Be a positive force on the world.
There is too much negativity around already for us to generate more.
You need to be able to accurately and honestly navigate your own mind. Figure out what it is that lights your fire. No one can tell you what that is but you. Once that fire is lit, protect it fiercely.
Knowing what it is you want out of life means absolutely nothing if you don’t act on it. I can say for years that I want to be a successful writer, but if I never write, it will never happen.
Actively search out your passions and the things that drive you, don’t wait for it to fall into your lap.
NEVER be afraid to make moves toward your ideal life or your goals. Even though there will inevitably be setbacks, don’t let them halt you in your tracks.
Change can be scary, but change does not have to be bad. Oftentimes, in fact, change can be a good thing. Be open to change. The more you resist change, the more you hold up your own progress.
You may be great at what you do, but recognize that there are probably people out there better than you.
Never be the smartest person in the room. Find like-minded people that are better than you and use that to push yourself to the next level.
Don’t waste time.
I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I honestly believe that no matter what it is you want to do with your life, wasting time is the most detrimental to doing what you want to do with your life.
That’s not to say that play and relaxation is wasting time; these are both important parts of life. It’s when those aspects rule your time to the point that you sherk other responsibilities that it becomes a problem.
Go forth and do.
I know things are hard sometimes, but anybody who wants it bad enough can make a life they love for themselves. Go forth and do it! You may be surprised by what you can actually accomplish.
Hey! I'm Noah Riggs.
Noah is the founder of Busy Living Better and has built a life he loves, despite growing up poor. He shares exactly how he started his six-figure business, became financially stable, and lives his best life so that he can help you do the same. You can read more about how he did all of this before the age of 23!