So many of us are feeling frustrated because we can’t seem to find our purpose or our “why”. Amazing self help gurus around the world keep telling us happiness lies in finding your purpose and taking action everyday towards that purpose.
That is amazing advice, but what if you havent found your purpose and you are having trouble picking a path to take. I’m here to tell you the problem lies in the fact you simply can’t make a decision at all, and the answer is to just make a decision and stick with it.
There are so many interests and passions that I could be pursuing, but fitness and health was a passion that I pursued and I loved so much, so I stuck with it. However I tried so many other paths before I decided on this purpose. I tried so many, not because I was indecisive, but because I knew, if I didn’t try them, I would never know if they were my true purpose and I would be living in the world of “what ifs.” The secret is to pick from one of the infinite choices you have and try it, then try another and another until something sticks, you love it and it becomes your purpose. I really feel your purpose chooses you, not the other way around. You will know when you have found it because there will be a curiosity and a passion driving you to want to pursue it more. You can sit around for years and think about which path you should take, that you can drive yourself crazy and worse still, you overthink every decision, talking yourself out of every one of them until you end up not trying anything. Just make a decision and do it. If it doesn’t work out, that’s not a failure, at least now you know that wasn’t your purpose and you can try the next one. Plus you have saved yourself years of mental torment. Remember the only failure in life is not trying at all.
Another trap we can fall into is the trap of thinking we should know what we want for the rest of our lives at 18 years old. We are meant to decide on a college degree and the one we pick is meant to be our purpose and path for the rest of our lives. No pressure. I don’t think this is a healthy way to think or teach our kids because most humans are not supposed to be doing the same thing their whole lives. People beat themselves up because they went to school for four years and their parents paid for them or they have student debt for a piece of paper and a path that doesn’t excite them anymore. I am here to tell you to stop it. Listen, do you beat yourself up that you are not still dating your high school boyfriend, that you moved away from the town you grew up in or that you no longer swoon over N’Sync (although JT is still the man) no you don’t, because that would be ridiculous to still have the same tastes and interests that you do now. So why are you beating yourself up and not allowing yourself to change yout mind about the decsion you made about your life path at the same age.
The fact is as humans we are constantly evolving and growing on a biological level. So if our brains and bodies are constantly changing why wouldn’t our passions and purpose change too. Our environments change, the people in our lives change, our beliefs change, but our purpose is never meant to change. That kind of sounds ridiculous and utterly boring to me. I know the Allira now is light years away from the 18 year old Allira, and I laugh at some of the decisions I made back then. Traveling the world, making new friends in new cities, the different cultures, people and environments I have been exposed to, have expanded my mind so much that there is no way I could go back to the way I thought when I was 18.
I know you may feel pressure from your parents and your peers to be in a certain career because of all the years of putting you through college, but that is an awful reason to stay miserable in a career which no longer serves you anymore. You have to remind yourself and everyone else that this is your life and you are the one that wil be feeling miserable and resentful about your life choices, not them. If they are not supportive of you pursuing a different path that will feed your soul, well I hate to say it, but maybe you need to look at the people you surround yourself with and you may have to take some space from certain people.
Another thing to consider is your mindset when you chose that career as a teenager, usually your ego was ruling that decision. I know mine was. I chose broadcast journalism because I thought I could work my way up the ladder and be on TV. As I matured and was offered that opportunty, I realised I no longer wanted that for my life and it didn’t excite me anymore. It took great courage for me to leave that career as it was very impressive to the ouside world, because in their eyes I had the “perfect” life and on paper I did. I had an amazing job as a Journalist for one of the biggest newsrooms, I had an amazing apartment in North Bondi where my backyard was literally the ocean, I lived about a minute walk from Bondi Beach, I had a convertible car, amazing clothes, amazing friends and a great social life. But deep down I was miserable and beating myself up about it. I should be happy, I felt ungrateful for everything I had and guilty that strangers were more excited and happy about my life than I was. But there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. I was just miserable because I was chasing a false, superficial purpose that was not truly my own and that my 18 year old self had decided that’s the life for us. My false self, my ego, loved the admiration I received, but my true self was miserable.
Now I am not saying this is true for everyone. Some very lucky people know what they want from a very young age. I know some amazing successful artists in NYC who came out of the womb with a paintbrush in their hands and it’s all they have ever known. Many successful athletes found their purpose and passion from a young age and never strayed from that path. Novak Djokovic has said his purpose since the age of 7 was to be the number 1 tennis player in the world and to win Wimbledon. However I feel this is the minority and the rest of us get lost along the way so we have to put a little extra effort into finding our true purpose.
Now I know it’s a scary thing to own up to the fact you’re not living your true purpose, as you’re afraid you will be judged or worse abandoned, but having the courage to take the first step to finding your true purpose, will bring you that much closer to your true happiness.
We are so concerned about making the “right” or “wrong” decisions in our lives, we end up making no decisions at all. Well my friends, I am here to tell you there are no right or wrong decisions, there are just decisions, so just make one.
I heard an analogy about making yourself the President of your own life and I loved it. We all should vote ourselves in as Presidents of our lives and act accordingly when it comes to decision making and the direction we want our lives to go.
When asked to make a decision, the President doesn’t stumble, freak out, ask to ring their mother for advice or hide under the covers, eating a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and binge watch a series on Netflix. No, he makes a fucking decision.
Once he has made that decision, that’s it, the decision has been made and it’s in the past so time to move into action. Believe me becoming a quick decision maker will change your life.
If you don’t know how to start, start small. When you are out at dinner, choose quickly what you want to eat and stick to it, put away your menu and continue to connect with your friends at the table. Don’t ask their opinions, don’t ask the server what they recommend, just choose for yourself and leave it. Even when it comes to watching a movie on Netflix, most of us have wasted away months of our lives aimlessly clicking from option to option, not being able to make a decision. Next time you turn on Netflix, give yourself a 5 click rule, on your fifth click you have to decide what you are watching and just watch it.
You will notice this will trickle out into other areas of your life, what time you decide to wake up in the morning, your health and fitness routine and of course deciding on what passions to try out.
Becoming a fast decision maker will not only give you more energy throughout the day it will allow you to be more creative and productive with all that extra brain space. Be an amazing President of your own life and I guarantee you will want to vote yourself in for a second term.