For a few years, I’ve been wondering what to do. What should be the thing, the job, the work, that I will do for the rest of my life. What will be my calling? The thing that resonates and aligns perfectly with my own self. I’ve tried a lot of things, worked a lot of jobs, for my short existence in this world. Unfortunately, nothing I’ve done so far I can call my thing, my precious.
Many people online talk about finding meaning in their lives, and many people don’t know what they’re talking about. Over the past few years, I have read tons of info on the subject, hoping that I will discover my life meaning. Alas, I still couldn’t. No matter what I’ve started working on, I’ve always felt that something was missing despite all my efforts.
Finally, after a lot of grief, discomfort, inner struggle, I think I understood what’s the truth. What’s the deal with one finding himself. I understood what I should strive for and what I was doing wrong all along.
In this post, I will explain everything I’ve learned about finding meaning in this world full of noise. What we’re doing wrong. What we should stop doing and how we can find our own purpose.
Before everything else, let’s observe for a moment why the hell finding your purpose, finding your true meaning of life is so difficult.
Why finding meaning in life is so difficult?
It should it be easy right?
And actually, it is if you don’t trouble your mind with such existential questions: You go to school. Later you go to college and you start a job. At least that’s the current way the machine works. This job helps you earn money so that you can survive. So, if you don’t ask questions, you will be OK. As the saying goes: “Ignorance is a bliss.”
But why satisfy yourself with what others are doing. You’re different and you most probably want something slightly diverse than working in a bank, working at a grocery store, sitting on a desk for 8 hours straight. If you’re a curious person, don’t quite fit the norms, and your mind is restless, you’ll eventually question your existence and you’ll surely search for a higher purpose. Like I did.
I think that we’re so lost when it comes down to finding our meaning because no one truly makes us think about what we should do or want in our lives. Even if your mother asks you when you’re little “what do you want to do for the rest of your life,” she will surely try to convince you not to become a pilot if that’s what you respond. Our parents rarely help when we’re looking for a purpose. Mainly because they think differently. And they think differently because they’ve lived in a different era.
In general, finding meaning in life is a taboo subject. No one talks clearly on this subject. If we read a book on the subject we never share this with other people. Our parents don’t help. The articles online all tell you different things. If you ask your teacher she will probably tell you to study hard so you can find a stable job. Wherever we look there’s a dead end.
3 main reasons you’re having trouble finding your purpose:
Not a lot of outside help: As I mentioned, our parents don’t quite help. They are in our way when it comes down to finding meaning. They usually suggest us to do things they know, without taking into consideration our nature and our talents. If your mother is a doctor, she will try to convince you to follow her steps. If she works a job she hates, she will tell you to seek something else, but not knowing what exactly. In both of the cases, the advice we receive are not related to our own persona, thus we’ll most probably feel miserable if we pursue what our seniors tell us.
So many options: Hundreds of thousands of years ago this decision was way easier. If you’re a man, you’re a hunter. If you’re a woman, you’re a gatherer. These were the main professions and this was our destiny. Now, you can “become what you want in life.” Thanks to the internet and the new technology, we can indeed create our desired future. Still, with all the options it’s hard to decide what this magical future should be.
Our approach is wrong: Our approach towards making a living and finding a dream job is wrong all along because we try to become someone else. Let me clarify. We seek to transform ourselves and become accountants, lawyers, bankers, instead of asking ourselves why we want to become these things. In most of the cases you don’t want to become a lawyer because of what you will be doing, you want to represent other people in front of the judge because you want to earn a lot of money. You see on TV that lawyers earn big bucks and you desire this position. However, you never consider what a person in this position does for a living – on a lot of occasions these people protect criminals, lie, cheat, and other things you might not like.
What can you do to find your purpose?
What happens in life is the following: we’ll convince ourselves that we need to pursue a job, a position, created by other people. We persuade our minds that we need to become doctors, for example, never thinking about if this role will fit our personality. Usually, we aim toward that direction for financial reasons. I don’t know if you noticed, but this type of thinking leads to a lot of miserable lives.
Instead of making the individual conform to the goal, we should make the goal conform to the individual.
When I was a little boy, I wanted to become an astronaut. Later, I wanted to become an architect. Later, I didn’t want any of the above. Why’s that? Certainly being an astronaut or an architect, as a position, as a career, has not changed. Both were still prestigious occupations. What then? It was me that was different, my perspective shifted.
While we grow, we experience different things, we encounter new things, fell different emotions. This, of course, changes our view. Transforms the way we perceive life. That’s why the things we do while we’re young are quite different from the things we want to do when we’re growing older.
So, it’s quite foolish to think that by working one job, executing one type of tasks, for the rest of your life will make you happy.
What can you do then?
Stop aiming towards things that won’t make you happy
For the last few years, I’ve started a couple of different sites. The main reason I’ve started these sites was to make money. No wonder I failed miserably. If you’re starting a business, or you’re starting a new job, and your sole idea is to earn money, only, you better not start at all. There are 0 people in this world that are both happy and relatively rich. Well, let’s exclude the Insta famous people. These guys are famous for only being famous. But that’s not the point, the point is to understand that if money is what you pursue, money is what you will get. But that will surely won’t make you contented.
It’s fairly easy to make money nowadays. You can work 2 jobs and run a side hustle. You can become rich by working 80 hours a week, but is this what you really want? No, I don’t think so. People want money to a certain extent. After a given threshold, it doesn’t quite matter how much money you make. What will happen if you earn 100,000 a year and you suddenly start earning 120,000 a year, a slightly better camera and one additional vacation for this year, right? OK, but I’ll ask again: Is that all you want?
A lot of people put “making money” on the top shelf, thinking that this will solve all of their problems. But as others put it, earning a lot of money will only solve your money problem, they won’t cure you or make you happier if you hate what you do.
I’m sure you know people who make big bucks but don’t even have the time to spend all that amount. But not only that. In most of the cases, they hate the work they do.
Before we move on, here’s an interesting question I want to ask you, which one would you prefer: Making a lot of money doing something you absolutely hate, or, working a meaningful work which you love but it’s not highly paid?
Choose a Way of Life
Don’t search for meaning, search for a way of living.
Let’s imagine that you want to become a doctor. You want this because it’s a high-paid job, but not only. It’s also a way to help other people. Ok, now, let’s imagine that you are a doctor for a day: How will your day look like?
Waking up early in the morning. Eating healthy food because you need to be healthy. Operations. Blood. Tension. Pain. Long hours. Night shifts. Sadness. Grief. Weekend shifts. Arguments with people in the hospital. Arguments with your wife because you’re never home. The list is probably longer, I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.
It’s admirable if you really want to become a doctor to save lives. But’s it’s surely devastating if you want to become such only for the salary. Not only for the patients that you’re going to operate, but also for yourself. Unfortunately, I see a lot of people who go to college to study for becoming doctors only because it’s a high paying job. They rarely think about what type of work they’re going to do. And we all know what happens when you’re doing something you don’t quite like: you’re not good at it. And not being a good doctor is life-threatening.
Before you aim yourself towards a certain job, or a certain position, think about how your life will look if you start this position. What’s the process? What’s the life of a person in this position? If you don’t know, look at the lives of people who are working this type of work. Search online if you don’t know anyone working for Nasa, for instance. This way you will understand if this life fits your personality.
Finding meaning is hard because we don’t really know ourselves.
Ok, I know that this post probably won’t help you. You probably already figure it out. If you’re reading it, you’ve surely read other posts about finding meaning, about what’s your purpose. But, and as you can figure this on your own, nothing will. There isn’t a video, post, book, movie, an elder dude with a stick, even the Oracle from the Matrix, can tell you towards where you should direct your efforts, your life, for an obvious reason: No one knows yourself like yourself.
If meaning is what you seek, meaning you should search for. But don’t Google it. Search inside yourself. Sit in front of the mirror and start asking yourself questions. Here are a couple to start with:
- What do you enjoy doing? Why?
- What are the things you hate? Why?
- What kind of people do you enjoy hanging around? Why?
- What do you dream of doing? Why?
Question everything you hate and love. This way, you will get closer of doing fewer of the things you hate, and more of the things you love.
We should strive, above all, to be ourselves. To make work that is meaningful to ourselves. So, obviously, the starting point will be to understand the person reading this before you do anything else. Become friend with yourself. Once you have an idea, you can move forward:
Choose The Right Path
It’s your obligation to choose a path in which your abilities will work at maximum. This is the only way to ensure that your time and your talent is not wasted. That’s why the previous step – knowing yourself – is of a great importance. Because it’s the only way to understand what these abilities are.
Since money is one of the main resources we need to survive in life, we need to figure out the best use of our talents. But it’s not only about the money, don’t get me wrong. It’s also about time. The other major resource we have on this planet. Your job should be both something that doesn’t waste your time, and also makes you enough money to survive. Well, that’s surely a difficult thing to figure out. That’s why I named this post “Why finding meaning in life is so difficult?”
Let’s assume for a moment that we’re graduating from school and we’re considering what we should do next in our lives. In front of us, we have five different pre-defined paths that we can follow: to study medicine, to work in your dad’s company, to study economics, to study for a lawyer, to study mathematics. Let’s now assume that we don’t find real meaning in any of these paths. We know what will happen if we pursue these things and none of them are appealing to us. Then – and here’s the most important part of the equation for finding meaning – we should find another path, a six path that is tailored specifically to our own persona.
This is where most of us fail. We fail to choose the right path. To be more precise, we fail to make our own path. If you postpone the choosing, this choice will be made for you no matter if you like it or not. That’s why there are so many older people who regret what they didn’t do, not what they did do.
Look for a way of life you’ll adore, and start pursuing it today. Today, because tomorrow can be too late.
Each of us is uniquely designed to do certain things. God, if you believe in religion, made you to be you. So, knowing who you are is a key factor in achieving success and satisfaction. But it’s not enough, once you know who you are, should look towards where you should focus your efforts. The purpose of your life, and your intended destiny.
No one has to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. We owe it to ourselves to find work that sparks joy for us. To create a lifestyle that we look forward to every day.
Yet again, if for one or for another reason something is stopping you from achieving the success you’ve always dreamd of, doing the things you’ve always wanted, to live the life you desire for yourself, do everything possible to find even the slightest beam of light in what you’re currently doing, otherwise, you will be forever in pain.