How To Know What You Want To Do In Life
This is part of the Ask Celes section where I answer readers’ questions. Feel free to send in your questions (guidelines here).
Hi Celes, I have no idea what I want to do. I wish I am strong enough to concentrate on one single thing and do everything to be the best at it. I believe it is the only way of attaining something. My problem is that the variety of decisions make my head spin. I envy those who from their early days know what they’ll be and what they’ll do. Please help. – M
Getting clarity on what to do is one of the most common questions I get from readers and clients alike. For some of my clients, they feel they are entering a period of their life where they should have clarity in what they want to do. Hence, not knowing what they want to do makes them feel frustrated. They feel that if they can quickly discover what they want to do, they can get started on it right away, rather than waste time doing seemingly unrelated things.
Here’s the thing though. To get an idea of what you want to do, you have to first base it off a reference point. This reference point is based on your past experiences. If you have not accumulated a set amount of experiences, you can’t possibly generate a meaningful answer in that regard.
For example, let’s say you want to buy a mobile phone. However, you have never used a mobile phone in your life. You don’t know how a mobile phone is like or what kind of functions it has, much less all the brands out there and the differences between the models.
Sit at home and mull over what mobile phone you should buy, waiting for the answer would pop in at some point. Maybe an eureka will strike, maybe it won’t ever, but either way you don’t plan to do anything until the answer comes. OR
Get to know what a mobile phone is. Go out there and explore the different
mobile phones available. If possible, you want to try them out too, say by using your friends’ mobiles and visiting the phone shops.
Which option will help you make progress in your dilemma? Which option will give you new insights, new information, and new data points for you to base your decision on? Which option is a more reliable method to get you what you want?
If you are thinking option 2, we are thinking the same thing.
You see where I’m getting at with this?
The fog in your mind
For you to know what you want to do, you have to have some kind of experience you can refer to. Now, if you have never been out there getting into the thick of things, there’s not going to be a lot of things to reference with in your mind. There’s a fog in your mind, and the fog exists because you have never ventured much beyond your current point.
It’s like asking what’s your favorite sport when you’ve never exercised in your life. Or what’s your favorite book when you only read less than a book a year. Or what’s your favorite restaurant when you don’t eat out at all.
The fog will remain as long as you stay still. It’ll still be uncertain, hazy, possibly confusing and disempowering. To clear out the fog, you need to explore. You need to get out there and start trying out different things. You need to gain experience, to pick up new knowledge, to get into new situations. By building up as many of these experiences as possible, you create a baseline reference point in your mind.