What Do I Want to Do with MY Life?

“Information is not knowledge.” ~Einstein

When I was a child growing up exploring the big world, I remember my parents would always use the disciplinary words rather than seek to understand me, they used to say:

Don’t touch that!

Don’t ride the bike, you are a girl!

Don’t do that! Don’t run!

You should be ashamed of yourself, Vadia!

Does this story sound familiar to you?

To avoid being lectured, I quickly learned how to do the things that my parents wanted me to do, rather than those that I wanted for myself. As I grew older, this way of living—operating to satisfy others at my own expense—became the norm and I forgot the simple joys of making up my own mind about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.

Can you relate with the way I began to live my parent’s vision for my life—or rather was limited by their lack of vision—instead of deciding what I wanted from life and who I truly wanted to be? My early childhood programming got in the way of discovering what I really wanted in life.

I remember thinking that I had to pick a career at which my parents already advised me to have; which would make them happy for the next 50 or so years of my life. What a daunting task! How do you know what’s going to make you happy for the rest of your life, especially if you’re only 17 and you’re still getting a thrill out of watching “Friends”.

You can’t know. You can’t know what’s going to make you happy even a year from now. But you can know what makes you happy now and if you’re current position — or relationship — isn’t it, then you need to move on. Life is often about trying things and realising what you don’t want to be when you “grow up.”

Few years ago, I realised that “I want to be living my dream, not someone else’s”. So I started using a creative approach to goal-setting and drawing a map of my life.

Discovering what you really want to do with your life isn’t an easy task for anyone, nor is it something that you can really create a step-by-step guide for. That said, when you’re not really sure what you want to do, whether it’s a career, a lifestyle, or anything else, a few different exercises might help you pinpoint what it is you truly want. Here are three steps to try to pinpoint what you want from your future.

  • In the first section, draw a picture of your life today. Use images or words to represent aspects of your life – you can cut pictures out of magazines and make a collage if you prefer.
  • In the third section, draw a picture of your life in two years’ time as you would like it to be. Again, use images or words.
  • In the middle section, draw images to represent what is preventing you getting from section one to section three.
  • Finally, draw a path from section one to section three, crossing section two. Put words and images on here of everything that will help you cross to section three.

Remember, You’re not getting younger. Sorry, but it’s true. If you don’t start taking the time to pursue your dreams, you might find yourself at the end of your life with nothing to show for it but a lot of Facebook posts and a bunch of TV shows you just had to watch. If you are serious about pursuing a dream — whether it’s designing jewellery, professional skateboarding or being a rich and famous computer guru, you better get on it. Take those first steps. Turn off your Facebook notifications and get working. You won’t get anywhere merely thinking about how great you could be.

The most important thing to remember when trying to figure out what to do with your life is that no action is an action in and of itself. You must make decisions and try things — even if you end up hating them or wanting to do something else. At the end of your life, you won’t regret trying things and failing, but you will regret not ever trying at all.

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