“You have to get lost before you find yourself.“
A quote from one of my favorite John Green books. At the beginning of my journey to adulthood, I have come across some difficulties in finding which is the right path for me. Sometimes, we think that once we finish our studies, everything will just fall into place.
If only life was that simple, right?
I found myself envying those who knew where they wanted to be even when they were still kids- and were fortunate enough to pursue them.
On the opposite side, I was one of those people, who was at a loss on where to go after school. How do I get to my childhood dream from here? As I dug deeper, new dreams also popped up. It came to a point that I wanted to do plenty of things, and many of them were not even related to my university course! And that was not the best scenario for me.
It was so hard for me to find myself after I graduated. I was confused if I was on the right path, or if I should have pursued other dreams.
There is no single answer in finding our life path, as each one of us has a different journey. However, in my own search, these are the four precious pieces of advice that stuck with me and helped me move to the right direction:
The first secret to getting what you want is knowing what you want.
To find out which path is the perfect one for you, you have to know what you want to do. Assess yourself and the list of things you want to pursue, chances are- most of them are tied to one or two goals.
For example, you might dream of becoming a doctor, or becoming a lawyer- but really, your true subconscious goal is you want to help others, or you want to earn enough to support your parents in their old age. Look inside yourself and answer what makes you tick. What is the real reason why you want to pursue a certain path?
You have to be clear on your vision because otherwise, you won’t be able to know where to go. You’re just going to be trapped into an endless cycle of trying to find yourself, finding yourself, and then getting lost again.
If your goals and desires are clear, it will be easier for you to know the steps you have to take to reach them.
And remember, goals can change over time and with each stage in our life. When you just start working, it’s normal to want to earn a good amount of income to establish your savings and financial stability. However, once you reach a certain level of income, your goals will most probably change to something else, like seeing more of the world or spending more quality time with your loved ones.
Follow your heart but take your brain with you.
“Do something you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life”.
Some people may find this cliche, but it is true. When we are passionate about what we are doing, then even if we get tired, we still do not think of giving up. Instead, we’ll take a rest, take a breath, and then work even harder to be better.
However, it’s important to find the balance between what your heart wants and what your brain is telling you. No matter how hard you work at it, accept that there are some things that are just not meant for you.
For instance, you might want to become a flight attendant, but you are not tall enough for the job. Your height is something that you cannot change, so that path cannot be an option for you. Ask yourself why you want to be a flight attendant- is it to see the world? Then maybe you can be a tour guide or take up a job that involves frequent travels around the world.
When you listen only to your heart, you might be setting yourself up for heartbreak. But when you learn to balance both your emotions and mind, you will be directed on the best way to achieve your goals in life.
Action always beats intention.
What is the foundation of success? Action.
If you already know what you want, then start pursuing it as soon as possible. Time is a limited resource and making excuses will only steal your time from you. Do not be afraid to take the first step, because that is the only way you can be closer to your goals.
Do not worry about the future yet, instead focus your attention on moving forward. Remember, small progress is still progress. Every step counts because each one is a chance for you to reach your destination.
As you take action towards your goals, keep in mind that somewhere along the way, you might realize that you are on the wrong path. It’s okay to recalibrate and adjust your action steps and goals- at least at this point, you will not be starting at square one, as you will be taking the knowledge and experience you’ve gathered when you moved yourself to action.
Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel- energies are contagious.
Find your tribe. They are the people who will push and encourage you to pursue your dreams. They are your sounding board for all your crazy ideas, and your source of comfort when things head south. They will honestly tell you when something is no longer working for you.
You cannot do everything on your own. At multiple points, you will be needing help from the people you. Surrounding yourself with the right people can also reveal opportunities that you cannot find by yourself.
When a particular direction calls to you, find out everything you can about it- join social media groups, subscribe to newsletters, join support groups in your community, and take courses / classes. You will meet new people who might have already experienced what you are going through now, and you can bank on their knowledge to make it easier for yourself. Building the right network can accelerate the accomplishment of your goals.
Life is not a race. There are some people who know what they want to do from an early age, while there are some who find them later in life. The important thing is to keep moving forward, keep on learning and always evaluate your direction. If you meet detours along the way, accept that those are part of the journey and they will help you become stronger and wiser.