“How the fuck do I figure out what to do with my life?” my little sister asked the other day.
I laughed. Then I text her: lol.
“Or maybe that’s just me,” she replied at the same time.
I think she knew that wasn’t true before she finished typing it.
How many people do you know who have figured out “what to do” with their lives?
I know a few who seem like they might have a good idea. But a lot of people don’t have a clear picture of what they want to do with their lives. We have ideas about the things we want, sure.
We mostly sort of trundle along waiting for something great to happen to us. I did for years.
I remember in school, it never seemed there were very many career options. As kids, you only really think of the obvious professions; doctor, lawyer, teacher, dentist, vet, fireman, policeman, postman…
Some of us head down those paths.
Most of us end up ejected off the conveyor belt education system with a stack of debt and zero clue about what to do next.
My current job wasn’t on the careers list at school. Neither are most of my friends. But we’ve all got bills to pay.
How to Figure Out What the Fuck to Do with Your Life
It took me about thirty years to commit to what I wanted to do, and I’d known all along. Finding your “dream job” is probably something we’ll do several times in our lives. Here’s a step-by-step guide to figuring out what the fuck to do with your life.
1. Don’t look for your fucking passion
In the knowledge that we have to do something, we bounce around on a rough career trajectory, often in a field only generally related to the things we actually have a passion for.
I probably shouldn’t use ‘passion’. It’s a little misleading. It’s more just something you actually care about.
The point is, the pressures and demands of modern life lead most of us into jobs, rather than vocations.
And everyone knows what they want to do with their lives.
We usually just haven’t given it the thought. Or we’ve made so many excuses over the years why we can’t do it, that we’ve forgotten what it was in the first place.
Or, maybe you’re scared that doing something exciting or fun or beautiful, something that you actually give a fuck about, will never work for you.
So, we just give up and do something easy or comfortable that pays the bills and gets you the things you want to buy.
“Yh it’s quite a depressing thought tbh” my sister said.
“It could be,” I replied, ever argumentative 😉
“Gotta use it as motivation I suppose” she countered. She was right, of course.
2. Give yourself space to figure out what the fuck you want
Everyone knows what they want to do with their lives. If you’re not sure, you’ve got to give yourself the chance and the space to figure it out.
What did you want to be when you were a little kid?
What did you enjoy?
Who did you pretend to be when you were playing games?
This might seems like a childish exercise but the trauma of adolescence tends to squash many of the things we enjoyed as children, as we try to fit in or be cool at school.
If you’re like most people, there are maybe a few things you love doing. The things you can talk for hours about. Or things you always wanted to explore.
But even if you still don’t know, and you’re not sure, you can always figure it out. That’s kinda the point.
“But it’s hard, coz I actually don’t know,” said my sister.
“Look at that sentence,” I said.
3. Stop trying to choose something to do for the rest of your fucking life.
You don’t have to choose something to do with your life forever.
You just need to give yourself the chance to do something you enjoy for a few years, a hierarchy of skills that you can climb that will support the things you need in life.
Passions can be flakey. You might think you should be doing it and find you don’t actually like doing it. That’s fine. Try something else you like the look of. Life is long.
It doesn’t even have to be a career. Think of it as a side hustle. But you have to give yourself the chance to be happy. You have to give yourself the chance to work it out, in your head. Spend the time thinking about what’s important to you and what you enjoy doing, and you’ll be further along the path of figuring out what you want from life than many people.
Instead of saying, “I don’t know”, try, “I’m figuring it out.”
Or, “I don’t know, yet.”
Or, “I’m working on it.”
I promise you this is not some wishy-washy bullshit. Words are powerful things.
It’s an old saying that your thoughts become your words, become, become your actions, becomes you. Like many old sayings, it’s true.
As soon as you tell yourself something, you’re making it real.
Your brain starts looking for ways to make it a reality, and your body follows. It’s just what your body is supposed to do.
It’s the same mechanism as when someone tells you about something and you start to see it everywhere.
Figuring Out What the Fuck You Want to Do in Life
So, step 1 is to stop telling yourself you don’t know. Instead, start telling yourself that you’re going to figure it out.
Step 2 is to stop asking ‘how’ and actually start figuring out.
Start asking yourself the key questions;
‘What do/did I like doing?’
‘What am/was I good at?’
‘What do/did I want to know more about?’
Think about the things you loved doing as a child. If you’re not sure, ask your friends and family what they think you’re good at. What questions do they ask you?
Whatever you do DON’T LISTEN to the voice in your head telling you that you’re being silly even thinking about it, that it’s impossible, that it’ll never work.
They’re wrong. They don’t know. They’re not even you.
Keep asking yourself every day. You’ll get an answer.
And if you’re still not sure, let me know and we’ll figure it out together.
You probably already have an idea, you just don’t believe you can do it. But I do.
Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash