People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
I have asked myself what I wanted to do with my life for years. I studied nursing in school, but I am less passionate about it than I am about writing.
You will agree that there is a lot of advice out there telling us what to do with our lives, but I have realized that there is little or no guidance for people who need clarification about what to do with their lives.
We are expected to figure it out ourselves, and rightly so because it’s our lives. But, it would help to have someone guide you yunno.
In my short time here on earth, I have ventured into many things, hoping to stumble upon my life work.
I have gone from repairing slippers to being a sales girl for a pool agent. I have sold clothes, bags, shoes, lingerie, etc. I have even dabbled in UX writing, and I didn’t like it. I tried UI/UX design and decided against it when I completed the free Google UX program on Coursera. Now, I co-started a podcast service business.
Over the course of my trials and errors, one thing has remained constant, and that is writing. Whether it’s a blog, CV, or content, I only write.
I am telling you all this so you will understand you are not alone. A lot of people struggle with what they want to do in life. And it’s not just us, even the greats too. Did you know that Mark Twain wanted to be a steamboat pilot and even invested in gold mining? But today, he is one of the best writers the world has ever known.
So here is my advice for you. Advice from personal experience and reading Paul Graham’s “How to do Great Work” essay:
- If you are still trying to figure out what to do, guess. Don’t sit around waiting for your life’s purpose to fall on your lap. Try out different things. You will eventually stumble upon your life work.
- Follow your curiosity, especially when it bores other people but interests you. Look at people who have excelled in their field; they followed their curiosity. They asked questions and dared to be outliers. It is important to note that you will be curious about many things, track them, and eventually discover the one curious thing you have wanted to do for a long time. And remember, it’s never too late to change your interests.
Surely, age and youthful exuberance won’t be on your side, but you will have the necessary experience to decide what’s best.
3. If you decide on a field, learn enough to be at the frontier. Notice the gaps in that field and fill them. Don’t be mediocre. When you set your mind on something, be the best you can. That way, you won’t be essential.
4. Make what you are excited about. Write the book you want to read. Build the app you want to use. Start the business you want to see. As long as it excites you, do it. The reason why I write on this blog is, I used to wish someone told me everything I wrote here until I stopped wishing and started writing. If you are excited about something, create it.
5. Face your distractions head-on. You will be scared, broke, and pressured by society to change the course of your life because what you are doing is ‘stupid’. Ignore the noise. People will criticise what they don’t understand. It is your responsibility to hold on to the dreams you have for yourself that keep you awake at night.
6. Understand who you are. Study yourself. What makes you tick? It’s by understanding ourselves that we understand the world better. And when you know who you are, you won’t let the world fit you into its box.
7. Have the confidence to redo things. I spoke about this in my Sunk Cost fallacy blog post. Sometimes, you must start afresh despite the resources you have invested into a venture; don’t be afraid to do that. Of what use is it building upon something that is bound to fail? Break it down and start afresh.
8. Be curious. Remember when we were kids and asked annoying questions? Yeah, a lot of us have lost that part about us. But the good news is we can deliberately build that. I ask questions even when they look dumb. I try as much as possible to fight faux wisdom and ego. If I don’t understand something, I will ask.
9. Be willing to break the rules. Believe it or not, there are people rules don’t apply to. Look at the corrupt politicians in your country. Does the rule of law apply to them? No! They bend those rules to work for them. You, too, can turn or simply ignore regulations. Please, I am not asking you to be corrupt, but if you ever get to be, you won’t be different from the fools who have come before you.
Now you know what to do when you don’t know what to do, stand up and start doing something. Don’t drift along passively like you are a spectator in life. Your destiny is in your hands; use it or waste it. It is up to you.