What am I doing with my life? Is this what I really want? What am I headed towards? These are some of the questions that often cross our minds. Finding the right direction in life is an existential problem many of us have to struggle with.
It becomes hard to find meaning in life without passion. Your passion is something that keeps you going.
Even if you’re doing a 9 to 5 job, good family life, and everything else that makes your struggles seem worth it are your motivation, you still sometimes get a feeling that this is taking you nowhere.
The feeling of “my life doesn’t make sense” is enough to make you feel drained.
We are living in an age of cut-throat competition where better living standards have unfortunately become the parameter of success.
Due to this, willingly or unwillingly, we all are made to run in a pre-set race of making good out of our lives depriving us with the chance to reflect within ourselves and know what actually our passion is.
If you are someone who feels their life isn’t making sense to them, here are a few ways to help you figure it all out.
Learn to differentiate between thinking and overthinking.
Thinking thoroughly while making a choice or evaluating a situation, is human nature.
But more often than not, we forget to draw the line between this thinking and overthinking and we get stuck in a trail of our own thoughts. Much of the strain and anxiety arise from the thinking we do.
A constant battling with the uncertainty of the future is both exhausting and frustrating.
The process of calculations and evaluations before making a decision often gets more exhausting than needed.
What we need to realize is, this over-analysis is not going to take us anywhere. It is just going to burn both our time and energy.
None of us can ignore the unpredictability of the future. Instead of worrying ourselves with the future, we need to focus on the present.
Only by accepting the unpredictable nature of life can we learn to let go of the fears of the future. This helps us to embrace the possibilities of today and the opportunities we have now.
In order to get a hold of our life, we first need to learn to stop the over-evaluation of the future and accept what the present has for us in it.
You might think that your current job is not the one for you when things aren’t going right for you, connecting your minor failures to a sense of not belonging in the given career or situation is a way of over-thinking.
So, know when you’re thinking and when you are over-thinking
Listen to your inner voice
“Learn to hear your inner voice, be led by your heart and never stop giving back – this way you shall always walk the right path and shall never be walking alone.” ― Aleksej Metelko
One of the main reasons which takes us too long to act is, we don’t trust our intuitions.
The thought of messing it all up scares us.
Before we take action, we’re hit by the question of “what if it goes wrong?”
We need to trust our intuitions. Even if it feels dark, learn to take small steps forward and it will eventually set you on the right path.
You need to let the voices of your mind go unheard and let your inner voice lead you. There are going to be times when you will feel off the track but this inner calling is what will actually tell you what you need.
You cannot know what you stand for till you have found what you’re truly passionate about.
Striving for what you stand for adds much more value to the achievements you make. Listen to your inner callings closely to know the right direction for yourself.
Pay more attention to what makes you happy
Once you realize that the direction you are following isn’t enough to meet your personal needs, you need to take a self-analysis.
While going through your daily life activities try noticing what part of the day or what activity makes you feel more alive and cheerful.
Pay attention to your body language during your daily activities. Notice when you feel more enthusiastic and what brings positive energy to your life. Make a list of all those activities and note them down.
Go through that list at the end of your day and try figuring out the common elements among all those activities that cheer you up and give a boost to your energy.
Finding the actual source of your pleasure is important to help you analyze the right direction for yourself. When we do what makes us happy, we eventually start feeling satisfied and fulfilled.
It helps us fill the void we feel have in ourselves. Turning your happiness into your passion gives you the direction and path you need to set yourself on.
So, if you want to set yourself up on the right path and know your actual passion, you first need to focus on the actual elements of your happiness.
Analyze the source of your positive energy and it will help you get on the track.
Determine your inner strengths
“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” ―Anna Freud
All of us possess a combination of inner strengths that makes us distinct from others.
These strengths play an essential role in letting us know what we stand for but it is often hard for us to realize them.
Either we don’t pay attention to them or we haven’t ever tried to discover them.
We habitually take those strengths for granted. To discover your strong points, you can either take strength tests which are available online to help you discover your fortes, or here are certain ways you can evaluate them yourself asking yourself questions like:
- What are the things I am good at?
- What are those things I often get compliments about?
- What do I love as a hobby and why do I love doing it?
- What are the tasks I do with the most positive energy?
- What are the key traits that make me feel distinct from others?
Asking yourself these questions and making a list of those traits can help you analyze your inner strengths and abilities which are your main guide to help you determine your passion and what direction you want to follow in life.
Same as our inner strengths, we all have a core set of values that are deeply important to determine the way our lives are going to be.
“What do I stand for?”
It is the most significant question we all need to ask ourselves. Whether we identify them or not, our values do exist.
Defining your personal values helps you discover what is actually important to you. The more we live in accordance with our values, the more peace and satisfaction we find within ourselves.
Most of the decisions we make in our lives are deeply reliant on what set of values we believe in. asking yourself a few questions, you can define your values for yourself.
- Do you want to be someone who is known for their integrity?
- Do you want to be known as someone who is compassionate?
- Do you want to be someone who people know of as understanding?
- Do you want to be someone who likes to have their tasks accomplished?
- Do you want to be all of these or is there something else you would like to be known for?
You will find the answers to all these questions within yourself.
You need to identify the occasions which made you most upset and find the root cause which made you feel uncomfortable in that particular situations. Then you need to remind yourself of the occasions you felt proud in.
Realize the cause behind your pride.
List down all your values and prioritize them. Your values are extremely important to determine the way you lead your life.
When you realize that your values play a vital role in what you achieve and what you stand for, you will find yourself getting on the track.
Believe in yourself
“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Once you have realized what you are passionate about and what you stand for, there comes the next step that is believing in yourself and trusting your abilities.
Whenever we step into something new, we find ourselves flabbergasted by the competition.
We find many like ourselves trying to do the same. This is where self-doubt gets its roots stronger in our minds. The feeling that “I might be not good enough” is there to discourage us.
This is the point where we need to gain momentum and believe in our capabilities. Learning how to believe in ourselves opens a way of never ending opportunities for us. To believe in yourself, you need to believe first that nothing is impossible. Add visualization to your routine. When we visualize something, we become more motivated toward our goal.
Try to think of where you will be in the next five years. Believe the set of strengths and values you possess, are enough for you to rely on.
Throughout our lives, we are conditioned to doubt ourselves. The first thing we need to learn is, to let go off this self-doubt and begin to work on building our self-esteem.
Three major steps to help you believe in yourself are,
- Believe in the possibility of your plans
- Visualize your goals
- Be practical about your aims
If you have stepped into something new or started a new job and you are already feeling like you are not good enough to be in this position, stop for a moment and assure yourself that you have those abilities. If you were able enough to get this job or start this new beginning, you have those traits as well to make it work. Just believe that you are capable enough and you have the right direction.
Keep supportive people around you
American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn says,
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
To find the right direction in life, it is important that we surround ourselves with right kind of people.
Your circle should be supportive enough to encourage you towards betterment. People we surround ourselves with play a vital role in determining whether we move towards growth or be stuck at a point.
Our company has a lot of influence on us. If our friends are goal driven and strive towards betterment, it would ultimately motivate us but if we are under the influence of people who do not know what they are doing with their lives, it would also make us go astray.
It is necessary that we keep ourselves among those who strive to do better and would bring out the same in us.
The good company you keep, empowers you to bring changes you need to prosper and applaud your achievements. To determine right sort of company for yourself, you need to observe the qualities of people you spend most of your time with.
Can they be listed as positive people? Ask yourself some questions about the people you have major interactions with.
- Do they help you set goals?
- Do they encourage you regarding qualities you need to achieve your goals?
- Are they supportive enough?
- Do you feel yourself energized after meeting them?
Evaluating your company on certain parameters will help you decide whether your company is inspirational enough or is it holding you back from finding the right direction and passion you need.
Think big and be specific about your goals
“I dare you to think bigger, to act bigger, and to be bigger, and I promise you a richer and more exciting life if you do.” – William Danforth
An essential development you need in refueling your passion and finding the right direction for yourself is, breaking the limitations you have set for yourself.
You need to get out of your comfort zone and get yourself comfortable with the discomfort.
To be a big thinker you need to outlook the confines and fears but “Thinking Big” doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to set unrealistic huge goals for yourself. Instead, you need to be specific about what you aspire to achieve.
Set attainable objectives and be specific about them.
Looking for a bigger picture is worth looking at but you should frame your way to your aims that it doesn’t feel a burden on you. To achieve big, decompose your actions into smaller pieces so that they become more realistic and manageable. If you give yourself burdensome goals in the first place you’ll end up procrastinating unless you immediately choose to take your first step.
So, if you feel you are passionate about something and you aspire to be in a certain position but at the same time, you believe that goal is nearly impossible to achieve, know that there is nothing that cannot be achieved.
Anything is possible if you take one step at a time. Don’t bombard yourself with ideas. Get them into working one by one.
Quit procrastination- Start acting
“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Discovering a direction for yourself in life isn’t something that happens to you on its own.
It is something you need to create which means you will ultimately have to stop thinking and transform your thoughts and ideas into actions.
One of the reasons we prolong the thinking process and keep procrastinating is that we are not sure where to start.
We feel overwhelmed and confused because we are not sure about our first step.
This procrastination is actually an avoidance of negative emotions than the avoidance of task. We don’t want to feel incompetent or naïve.
It is important that we realize that it is alright to feel confused when we are just starting.
Take some time first to figure out what steps you need to take and then start acting upon them. Tell yourself that if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you do not have the option to change your mind.
Taking action doesn’t mean you have to stick to that path forever if doesn’t work out for you.
You need to assure yourself that fear of failure is not something to prevent you from taking action. We procrastinate because we feel we are not perfect. Tell yourself that your performance is not tied to your self-worth.
Your performance is something to add to your experiences.
To stand for your passion, you must learn first that it is important to take action.
Living through unexpected circumstances, and coming out the other end with more insight and wisdom is far better than not taking action at all.
Even if you have realized your direction you will still need to be practical to get yourself on it. So, stop delaying and giving yourself excuses that you can’t and what will happen next.
Start working on your passion right now.
Stop thinking about society standards
One of the major reasons that hold us back is, we give a lot of concern to “what other people will think?”
Even after realizing our inner calling and being aware of what direction in life we need to follow, we hesitate taking action because we care way too much about the opinions and pre-set standards of the society.
The societal pressure of fitting in among the perfect creates a mess in our thoughts and we end up ignoring our inner voices staying in an unfulfilled state and the feeling that “there is something missing in my life.”
Here, you need to be true to yourself and realize that there are no do-overs in life. Keep that in mind that you can’t please everyone and it’s necessarily your job to come up to everyone’s expectations but your own.
Living up to the expectations you have associated with yourself is what matters the most.
Every one of us, at some point in life, get that feeling of being lost. We all find ourselves confused and purposeless at some time.
All we need to do is, not to get stuck in those thoughts. We need to give time to our feelings, quit overthinking, and start listening to our inner voice. Sometimes we need to let our intuitions and gut feeling take over our minds.
Only by paying more attention to what makes us happy and realizing the key strengths we possess, we can set goals and find ourselves the right directions in life.
Looking at the bigger picture of life is important but setting small attainable objectives for yourself is important.
These small steps when combined with enough support, a positive approach, and practical actions will ultimately set us up on the right path. Being lost or feeling unsatisfied is not something to feel bad about.
Realization of this unfulfilled feeling, taking necessary actions to get yourself out of this situation, understanding what you are passionate about, and being practical about your goals one you have set them, is what matters the most.