The Struggle Of Not Knowing Your Purpose
I’ve been feeling lost for the past year. Ever since reading The Success Principles, I haven’t been able to stop thinking that I have a purpose. Yes, it sounds cheesy and lame and something I used to make fun of, but I do believe we all have something to contribute to the world that makes us feel 100% alive.
The trouble is, I have no idea what mine may be.
And it doesn’t help that I can’t seem to get away from articles about finding your purpose, following your passion, or quitting your 9-5 job to do what you’ve always dreamed of. I tell people I’m not particularly satisfied with my job right now, and they ask, ‘What’s your dream job?’
What if I don’t know? What if I’m driving myself crazy trying to figure it out?
They tell you that deep down you know what you’re supposed to do. They say find your passion and that will lead you to your purpose. What if I’m passionate about so many different things that I can’t figure out how to tie them together into a cohesive ‘purpose’ or a career path?
From the moment you start college, you’re continually asked what your major is and what you want to do with that major. I always felt pressured to come up with a solid answer for fear of sounding indecisive or lacking drive. But I was just a Sociology major who liked writing and learning about everything, and I didn’t really have a plan.
And once you graduate and find yourself in your first ‘real world’ job, it doesn’t get much easier. Somehow we’ve been tricked into believing we’re supposed to have it all figured out in our 20s, especially when you hear about those 23-year old CEOs who are making millions and ready to retire in a year. They may have known their whole life what they wanted to do and they stuck to it.
But it’s okay to not have everything figured out.
Through all of this searching and comparing myself to others, I’ve somehow come to terms with the fact that it’s normal to feel lost. It doesn’t make you any less of a person for not knowing what to do, and you shouldn’t feel pressured because anyone else seems to have it figured out.
Though I can’t help you find your purpose, I can share a few reminders that help to ease my restless mind when I’m struggling:
1. Your curiosity is an asset.
Having drive and the desire to improve yourself is irreplaceable. Many people do not have the drive to seek out their purpose. Stay curious, but do not let that curiosity consume you.
2. Your passions, interests, and skills will change.
When we are young, we have the opportunity to try anything we want and learn everything we can without being too committal. Take full advantage of this privilege.
3. Focus on the now.
Keep the future in your peripheral vision, but try as hard as possible to stay present and learn from the current moment. Each day, you could make a note of what excites you, what frustrates you, and what challenges you, and eventually you may just start to see a pattern that makes you feel a little less lost.
Is anyone else struggling with the whole purpose thing?
Photo: Vera Yumira