What should I do with my life?
What should I do with my life?
Have you ever asked yourself this question? You are not alone. This is a very common question to ask ourselfs. We are scared of missing out on life, but when opportunities show up we are too scared of taking action.
I've been there as well - it started after upper high school. Taking a year of was natural. One year became two and I started getting stressed about what to do - there were unlimited options. I was driven more of what I should do than what I wanted to. I was driven by the voice of my family and society about what to do. It's easy to get lost. I was lost. If you would have asked me then, this wouldn't have been my answer. It's first when getting some distance I can see how destructive my behavior was. It wasn't a conscious behavior, I was running on autopilot. Most of us are.
At last I decided what to do - or I what I "should do", and followed that voice. I applied for Royal institute of technology and began studying in August 2011. I was stimulated in the environment of learning and achieving, but was I fulfilled? Definately not. That was probably why I left the education after a year. Looking for something else. Looking for myself. I started another education at Stockholm university. I was there for one and a half year, without finishing all the exams, before going back to Royal institute of technology for another education. I studied for four years total and learned a lot. I also learned a lot about myself. The journey went on. I got a job during the last semester, and therefore quitted my studies. I started working within real estate transactions. I was part of a team selling commercial real estate all over Sweden. It was fun, I learned a lot, I was succesful - but after nine months I quitted. I remember my grandmother's look when I told her about my decision. It simply said "you're stupid".This part of my life as a student and early work life is very similar to the rest of my life up til today. I have always been a multitasker. Impatient. Full of energy. Having difficulties finishing things. I thought that was who I were, because that's what most people think and say.
I was searching for something on the outside. What was I searching for? Meaning, happiness, fulfillment, security, connection. Did I find it? To some extent, but not fully. Why was I searching? From my analysis I had a lack of self-esteem. Self-esteem is very different from self confidence. I was very confident in what I could achieve and knew how to be succesful in the outer world. But self-esteem comes from the inside. It's the knowledge of yourself, self-awareness and what you think about yourself. When we have low self-esteem we are insecure, we are fearful and stressed. We then constantly search for outer factors to change how we feel. I believe that addictions come from low self-esteem. Fears as well. We are scared of things on the outside and addicted to things on the outside. This is beacause we are not feeling good on the inside.
Back to my story again. I was searching for answers. I still am today. But the difference is quite profound: I am now searching on the answers within me. For all my life I have been searching for answers in the outer world. If you're searching anywhere else than on the inside you can search a lifetime for your true self - of what to do. Search for answers of what I should do according to someone else. That's outside thinking.
The process used to be like this: I was constantly wandering around asking myself questions like: What should I do with my life? What is my purpose? I kept asking these questions, not with a happy inner voice, but rather a depressed and frustrated one. Have you ever felt frustration? This has been a very common feeling throughout my life and I have learned that it serves as a signal. The signal is: You're on the edge of a breakthrough, you just need to calm down and try a different strategy.
I will tell you a story about this. During this summer I had a period of thinking a lot about my life, once again, the pattern was repeated. I was feeling frustrated - a lot. I was feeling scared. I tried to push myself to a solution. I sat down for hours using my analytical, logical thinking to come up with answers. But they didn't came, they never have from doing so (at least not for me). I got a lot of nice thinking done, which has helped me later, but I didn't have a breakthrough. When having these thoughts there was a travel coming up. I was about to go to a Swedish island for a week to hang out with entrepreneurs, influencers and politicians. I told myself the day before going that "I will go there to have fun and I will park these thoughts and not think about them". The morning after I was standing in a bus line waiting for the bus to take me to the ferry. The breakthrough was like a bomb exploding within my head. Neurology firing off, my heart started beating and I started sweating. When entering the bus I found a seat and sat down, plugged my headphones in and wrote for an hour straight. The road seemed extremely clear. The purpose of my life unfolded. It seemed so logical. All these loose ends I had been working on was connected. What was it? That I won't tell you here.
The interesting part here was having this major breakthrough in my life from not thinking about the "problem". How the hell could that be? It didn't seem logic at all. But when you think about it, it is. When we try to push through out of fear, anciety and frustration we are blocking the door too our true self. You can call it whatever you want, but there is a part of us that has all the answers. I call it the subconscious mind. When we feel stress and fear we are using a different part of our brain. We think differently. It is beneficial for survival, or at least has been through our evolution, but it's blocking the connection to the subconscious mind. More than ever people are loosing this connection - why? We are more stressed out than ever and it's like a loop that's very hard to get out of. When we're stressed we get stuck inside our heads. Why do you think working out, taking some deep breaths, yoga, meditation, cleansing foods and water makes us feel better? We let the energy start flowing through our bodies again. We connect to ourselfs.
Many famous people during the history have known about the concept that all we need are already within us, we just need to find ways to connect. Many famous scientists (I think Thomas Edison was one of them) were working deeply with problems, asking powerful questions to themselves. Then they sat down in a chair, held a book in one of their hands, and fell asleep. When doing so, they would drop the book, wake up and instantly start writing down the first thoughts that came to mind. Most often there would be magic in those words written down - since they were in contact with the subconscious mind.
I got a lot of friends who have had big breakthroughs in their creative work when working out at the gym. Answers just popping up when least thinking about it. I have got some great ideas after a work out session while sitting in the sauna - feeling the urge to get out of there to write everything down.
What do I want to say with this? If you are sitting at home, watching Netflix, eating candy and feeling pitty for yourself - sorry, that won't help. Neither will trying to force the thoughts to come - they won't. The key is to relax and start practicing of not being dependent of getting the answers. If you are scared of not getting the answers, the answers won't come. The same is with sales, girlfriends, economy and health. If you feel scared of not getting what you won't you wont get it.
So the next time you catch yourself red-handed thinking about what to do with your life in an anxious manner - stop. Go and take a 90 minutes bikram yoga session and the rest of the evening off from thinking. I promise you that magic will happen.
"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it" - Roald Dahl