So when people say: “What should I do with my life?” or “What is my life purpose?”
What they are actually saying is: “What can I do with my time that is important?”
This is by far a better question to ask. It’s far more controllable and it doesn’t have all of the silly baggage that the “life purpose” question does.
There’s no reason for you to be contemplating the divine meaning of your life while sitting on your couch all day eating crisps or Doritos.
Rather, you should be getting off your ass and discovering what feels important to you.
The “castle” I mentioned on my blog post “The power of Attitude, goals and actions” is what I can help you with. As a Counsellor and Life-Coach I have done this for years and the results are fantastic.
It’s impossible for me to find your life purpose. This is an impossible question for me to answer. After all, for all I know, you maybe in control of your actions, I have no clue.
But I can help you find a different meaning and purpose in your life. Who am I to say what’s right or what’s important for you? After research and my experience, I have put together some questions/statements to help you figure out for yourself the perfect combination between importance and urgency for you and also what can add more meaning to your life.
These are by no means detailed or definitive. In fact, they’re a little bit silly. But I did it on purpose because discovering purpose in our lives should be something that’s fun and interesting, not an unpleasant task.
So here we go:
1. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MEAL?
This is the all-important question. What meal do you enjoy the most?
Because here’s the truth about this:
Everything sucks, some of the time. That’s the reality of life: we tend to focus on the most unnecessary things, keeping our time occupied with what is not important and not urgent.
So the question becomes:
What struggle or sacrifice are you willing to accept?
Eventually, what determines our capability to stick with something we care about, is our capability to handle the bumpy territory and survive the foreseeable rotten days. Creating the vision for your future is about what are you willing to accept? What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? Are you able to stay up all night if needed? Are you able to put off starting a family for 10 years? Are you able to have people laugh you off the stage over and over again until you get it right? Failure is a necessity because failure is the fuel of achievement and success. What crap meal are you ready to eat? Because no matter what, we all get served one sooner or later.
2. WHAT IS YOUR REAL LIFE TODAY, THAT WOULD MAKE YOUR 16-YEAR-OLD SELF CRY?
When I was a teenager I wanted to become a doctor, help people and enjoy life at the same time. My first job was a PE teacher and I was 19. Some of the students were almost my age! I loved it; I taught them things that I felt they were happy to learn and enjoy. I loved it.
After that I started my own business and because of this I stopped doing something which I enjoyed. We all have a tendency to lose touch with what we loved as a child/teenager. Something about the social pressures of adolescence and professional pressures of young adulthood squeezes the passion out of us. We’re taught that the only reason to do something is if we’re somehow rewarded for it.
This is probably one of the most important questions to ask yourself:
What am I passionate about?
You need to rediscover how much you loved certain things. The funny thing though, is that if my 16-year- old self had asked my now-self, “Why can’t you find your castle anymore?” and I replied, “Because I’m not good at it,” or “Because nobody cares about what I do,” not only would I have been completely wrong, but that 16year-old boy version of myself would have probably started crying.
3. WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT?
Have you ever had that experience where you get so wrapped up in something that minutes turn into hours and hours turn into “Holy crap, I forgot to have dinner.” If you think about it you might have found your PASSION. That thing or obsession for something you are passionate about.
But this is not the whole thing: the whole of you, is not about what you want to do, but mainly who you want to become. Whatever it is, don’t just look at the activities that keep you up all night, but look at the cognitive principles behind those activities that enthral you; because these can easily be applied elsewhere.
4. HOW CAN YOU BE GOOD AT EMBARRASSING YOURSELF?
Failure, embarrassment and fear are the most important drives to success. Before you are able to be good at something and do something important, you must first feel the fear, experience failure, feel embarrassed about it…but NEVER, NEVER quit!
Failure is when you do not try again, when you never change your goals (your castle) when you never change direction. but simply by changing direction. Most people don’t succeed because they always avoid embarrassing themselves.
By avoiding anything that could potentially embarrass you, you’re actually stopping yourself from doing something that feels important. Yes, it seems that once again, it all comes back to vulnerability.
Right now, is there something you want to do?
Or are you just fantasizing about doing it?
You have your reasons for not to getting started, for not wanting to even think about it. You repeat these reasons to yourself over and over again. But what are those reasons? Because I believe some of those reasons are based on what others think, and if that is the case then you’re screwing yourself over big time.
Living a life avoiding embarrassment is similar to living a life with your head buried in the sand.
Magic happens outside your comfort zone and magic is, by its very nature, unique and unconventional.
Therefore, to become magical, you must go against the herd mentality and that can be scary.
5. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD?
Being honest with you: you can’t!
But there’s something you can do: save yourself! By doing that you become a source of inspiration to others. To live a happy and healthy life, you must hold on to values that are greater than your own pleasure or satisfaction. So first solve your problem, find you castle, be creative with it and start saving the world. Then find a problem you care about and start solving it. Obviously, you’re not going to fix the world’s problems by yourself. But you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfilment.
Now, let me guess, you are saying: “Gee Nuno, I read all of this stuff but I can’t figure out how this can translate into my new career path.”
Thank God you asked…
6. WHERE WILL YOU GO AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
For many of us, the enemy is old-fashioned complacency and procrastination.
We get into our routines. We distract ourselves. The couch is comfortable. We get overwhelmed (check my blog post here).
And nothing new happens. The problem is:
You need to understand that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it.
Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a one-to- several sport; on one side is you, on the other side a crowd of opponents starting with fear, failure and embarrassment you name it. THERE’S NO TRIAL, none of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.
So ask yourself, if you were forced to leave your house every day and only come back to sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself?
Would you sit in a coffee shop and browse Facebook no this is out of the question. You probably already do that most of the time. Just imagine there’s no websites to click on, no video games to play and no TV to watch.
- Where would you go and what would you do?
- Would you sign up to a gym?
- Write a book?
- Get a degree?
- Invent something that could save thousands of children’s lives in Africa?
- What would you do with all of your time?
Write down a few answers, then go out there and do them. You’ll get even better if you feel fear and if you embarrass yourself.
And we came to one of the most important parts of your life:
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED IF YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO DIE ONE YEAR FROM TODAY?