“Dear Brian, What do I want to do with my life?”
Uh…i don’t know. You tell me.
Doesn’t help much does it?
If you’re at this post, then you’ve probably heard all the regurgitated stuff that everyone wants to feed you.
It’s a little generic, slightly romantic, and a tiny bit idealistic.
“Just do what you love to do man” – does not help.
“Hit the earth like a meteor, what impact are you tryna have?” – didn’t help either.
“How are you going to save the world?” – seriously?
“What do you get lost in?” – ugh. I’m completely lost in life…does that count?
“Figure out your ideal lifestyle.” – a bit too out of reach for right now
“Get clear on your values, get to know your strengths.” – Great! So basically read 100 books? So excited for that!
If I had to put my answer in 2 to 3 sentences I’d say this below:
Be alright with yourself – there’s nothing wrong with where you’re currently at. This is ultimately your decision, not some formula.
To figure out what you should do with your life: making a decision to always improve your situation, know yourself on a deep level and honoring that every step of the way, having some type of vision for how you want your life to be, and moving toward that endgame without needing to see the whole thing all at once.
Before we get started let’s get rid of a few things you might be thinking or feeling that are getting in the way.
WTF should I do with my life?!
Where should I be in life?
You might be thinking to yourself – I’m between 25 and 35 and have no idea what I want to do with my life.
I’ve decided based on my experience with myself and others that it’s not good to think you should be a certain place in life by a certain age.
Regardless of your philosophy on life, we’re all moving based on our own rate of transformation, and that means your external reality matches your internal growth.
You’ve gotten to the point where your internal growth has gotten you interested in “doing something” with your life, and it’s all happening at the perfect time.
What should I do in the future?
I think planning for the future has some value, but I also think we take it too far.
Having a vision for your life (to me) means an idea, or a concept that you want to base your life around.
Setting long term goals for 10 years in the future, or even 5 years in the future is a bit shaky in the world we live in today – things just move so fast, and progress can be made so quickly that long term goals really don’t mean much anymore.
So your question (in my opinion) should be what do I want to do with my life now, because you can accomplish it right now…no need to look to the future.
I don’t know what to do with my life
Take the edge off and stop thinking it’s some crazy “the clouds open up” circumstance.
Don’t go searching for a burning bush to talk to, and for god’s sake, please don’t nearly get yourself killed like that guy from the book The Alchemist (amazon link).
Give yourself permission to get it wrong, or at least, to not know your entire story just yet.
You’re allowed to write your story one page at a time. Make sure this one page has a good beginning middle and end to it, and go from there.
The pressure we put on ourselves to get our entire life in view right this minute is a little insane if you think about it…life changes so quickly that even if you were imaginative to come up with a 5 decade plan for the rest of your life, it’ll probably transform into something completely different anyway.
Tell me what to do with my life
No. That’s an old paradigm – you let others decide what success means and follow someone else’s rules.
2020 & beyond is a decade where you can bring something from inside you to life and watch it transform the world. You decide what you wanna do with your life…Randy Santel traveled the world doing eating contests and became famous on youtube for it…
That’s completely breaking the rules of the old way of thinking where:
- You go to college
- You get a job you stay at for life and retire
- You marry and have kids / be a stay at home mom
As long as you’re willing to take your goals and desires and make them work, they can work.
What am I doing with my life?
I remember feeling like this actually (and it was awful). I came to after a day dream and thought “I don’t know who i am or what i want in life”.
It’s a terrifying feeling, because you thought you knew, and that was a foundation – it was solid ground to stand on, but once you realize that you’re not so certain about your life, everything becomes like trying to catch the wind.
This is a powerful position to be in though, because when you get to the point where you realize you don’t really know what you want, suddenly you become the painter, and life your paint brush.
What am i meant to do with my life?
This is a more interesting question because it implies some sense of purpose or design to your life.
You might believe in some type of karmic purpose, a divine blueprint that you and God agree to before you incarnate, or you might just feel like having a direction to go in makes for a better life, either way, clarity of purpose provides confidence, certainty, and the ability to decide what’s important and what’s not.
Either way, your purpose in life will lie somewhere on a spectrum of you being in complete control, and it being predestined before you were born.
This is really your decision based on your philosophy on life.
Should I just do what I want?
This basically means “does it matter what I do? Are there things I can do that would make my life better or should I just do whatever?”
It also goes along with questions like:
- What should i do for a living?
- What do i want to do with my life as a career?
- What job was i born to do? Where do i fit in the best in this world?
- Im lost in my career path, i got into a spot and now I want out!
- I don’t know what to do as my career.
Being completely willy nilly about life says a few things:
- You don’t know yourself
- You don’t know you’re environment
- You don’t understand those you interact with
No matter the philosophy you subscribe to (your thoughts on how life should be) there will still be some backbone to your life, and if there’s not, there’s a chance this is due to ignorance rather than some desire to be free and independent.
Even if you’re a free spirit, you will still have results you want, and a strategy for getting them, this is a plan, and a plan is really just a sense of purpose for your life.
If “just doing what you want” means you wake up every day and work toward nothing, you’re going to end up wasting energy, going in a million different directions, and die having accomplished nothing with your life.
There have been billions of humans on this earth who’ve already lived and died, and there are certain things about humans and life that remain the same.
One of them is that using your life to move toward something meaningful to you (and improving on that over time) is what creates an enduring sense of pleasure and satisfaction with your life. “Just doing what you want” is not a solid way to achieve that.
30+ Things to do with your life
How to decide what to do with your life (quick answers)
How can I figure out what to do with my life?
Just ask yourself what you want to do.
Before you say “I don’t know” – that’s a lie. You do know.
Most of the time when people tell me they don’t know what they want to do, they’re really telling me that they don’t believe what they want to do is possible for them to achieve.
What do you want to do? If you want a methodology, or a formula to help you figure out what you “should” do (which is different all together) scroll to that section of this post.
Examine every single area of life
Use the Wheel of life exercise to score each area of your life. The easiest way to figure out what you should be doing at this point in your life is to look at what you don’t like about your life and change it.
Visionary or fit inner?
Are you a visionary, or are you someone who wants to take the safe route?
Neither is better than the other, and both come with trade offs.
A visionary feels a deep need to create something from nothing, they’re idea people, and they wouldn’t be satisfied copying what’s already here.
I guess you could use me as an example – when I started this blog, I did it because I had gone through a serious transformation in my life:
- I wanted a life centered around my passions
- I felt a deep purpose that needed to be realized
- I also wanted to work from home
- Serious transformation was needed
Everytime I thought about being another finance blogger or doing something that had already been done, I followed that dream out into the future and saw that it didn’t hold much excitement for me.
I wanted to create something from nothing – and I wanted to help people who were like me.
A fit inner, on the other hand, is perfectly satisfied becoming the best at what’s already here. Gary Vaynerchuk is probably the most prominent of a fit inner in my mind.
Instead of inventing something new, or catching on to trends, he’s more interested in taking the way the world is now, and excelling at it.
Neither is better, it just depends on who you are. That’s the first step…
So, are you a visionary, or can you just take a formula of something people are already doing and be the best at it?
New paradigm or old paradigm?
A paradigm is a subscription service of belief systems. Paradigms are huge groups of thought, feelings and beliefs that define the actions we take in life.
Did you hear that? I said that the stuff inside your head is going to define the actions you take in life, which will decide what results you get.
A paradigm is a huge collection of these subtle influences and you must decide which to subscribe to.
Just like a youtube channel, or subscription box service, you should sub to a paradigm that suits who you are inside and out.
Subscribing to the wrong paradigm will only make you miserable and keep you in this spot you’re in right now, which is confused and stalled not knowing what to do with your life.
My mother subscribes to a paradigm that is basically:
- Get a blue collar job
- Pay the bills and take care of your family
- Make sure the family is good and that means life is good
You might know people who have beliefs that you just don’t jive with, and that means the paradigm they accept is different than yours.
Up until maybe the year 2000, the dominant paradigm was:
- Go to college
- Do well there
- Get a good job with a good company
- Maybe if you do well enough you’ll end up at six figures
The new paradigm – a new option that’s available to you says:
- Whoever you are, whatever you do, you have the right to grow into something great, and if you package it right, the world will accept you and you could experience wild success for you.
So are you going to choose a paradigm that locks you into the old way of doing things, or the new way of doing things?
ProTip: whatever thought system you choose, find the group that adopts the same philosophy and hang around them. Others will just confused you and destroy your faith (especially when your faith is tender)
What is your purpose in this life?
For some, purpose is divine, predestined and mystical. For others, it’s a practical way to align yourself with something meaningful.
Either way, figuring out your personal niche, and what others have creatively referred to as your “zone of brilliance” is a powerful way to redirect yourself and find out what you want to do with your life.
I recommend trying these 50 questions out. You’ll definitely have a clearer idea of what your purpose is afterward.
Embrace action without Proof
You know what really sucks about life?
You must must must master taking action with no proof that what you’re doing is gonna work, and without seeing results for a while.
There’s no way around it.
And to do that you’ll need faith. If not some type of spiritual faith, than faith in planning, research and in formulas.
- Faith in your own abilities
- faith in your effort
- and faith in the advice of those who came before you
This is a huge thing that keeps us stalled in life: the need to see results before we start in the first place.
Find the Direction of your Happiness
According to Brian Tracy (and Aristotle) happiness in life can be found by pursuing values and virtues that are ultimately life enhancing. This is the most comprehensive (two birds with one stone) way to ensure that enduring satisfaction floods into your life.
Those who do not know what their values are and what virtues they see as important cannot make choices to seek them out.
When you do not know what moves to make in life, you’re following a random path that gets willy nilly results and wastes energy.
Values are things like:
Virtues are things like:
Brian Tracy’s free book on Living by your own Personal Code here. [link to it here]
Who do you respect?
A simple way to figuring out your values is to think of people you respect and admire.
- What do they value?
- How do they behave?
- How would you need to behave to be accepted and respected by them?
Create a personal code and live by it
I’m all about freedom, independence and doing things your way.
When I was in this very same spot, asking myself what the hell I should do with my life, I came up with 3 points I’d need to cover, and they actually became the corner stones for this blog.
I knew I’d need to pick a direction. Not just any direction, but one that was a fantastic fit for the new me.
I knew I’d need to take explosive and inspired action to get results on how and when I wanted them. No weekend effort bull pucky. This needed to be an everyday thing for me.
I also knew that my mind would scream, and bitch like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. I knew there would be negative self talk, voices in my head telling me I couldn’t do it, and that I would need to master an empowering mindset to be successful.
The key to mastering all three of these areas (Direction, Action and Mindset) is knowing that schmucks just like you have come and gone before you, having to do the exact same thing.
- Figuring themselves out
- Move toward meaningful goals
- Control the battle in their own minds so they didn’t self destruct
A personal code is really just a blanket statement that describes your identity – this is who I am, this is what i stand for, this is what i do, and this is why i do it.
I recommend Brian Tracy’s book on this matter highly. A humble 18 pager that explains the whole thing. Very good.
Creating a life vision (a grand plan)
Get out a piece of paper, position is length wise in front of you, and draw three squares – one to the left, one in the middle and one to the right, evenly spaced apart.
Label the far left square “where I’ve been”. Everything up until last year.
The middle square is called “Me right now”. Now into the next couple of weeks.
The far right square should be called “Where I’m going.” A few weeks from now on into the future.
Now connect the dots.
List 10 of the most prominent characteristics of your past. Prominent characteristics means themes, or attributes that you’d use to describe your past if you couldn’t use sentences and had to use single words instead.
Think about describing a friend with only words, now do the same for your past.
Technically they could be phrases – I guess. Don’t go longer than that though.
- Hard worker
- Thought I was “this type of person”
- Moved away from this
Do this process for each square.
If you find yourself saying something like “I can’t figure out what I want my life to be like in the future”.
Sit there and think, and feel until you do know, because there’s nobody else who can tell you what your life should be like – not even me.
Your the painter, so paint. What do you like? What don’t you like? What would be cool? What do you really want, but have told yourself you cannot have?
Sit there and figure it out – this is very important.
Formulas and Methods for Finding your Niche in Life
If you’re someone who wants to look at models, programs, formulas and stuff, they do exist, and I’ve got a few of them listed below.
I just wanted to take the time here to say – Chill.
Finding out what you want to do with your life means you’ve gotten to a point where you’re even ready for this type of thing – which is a huge step, and some go their entire existence without having reached it.
You’re about to start a crazy next few months and years where you’ll be filling the shoes of who you could be, and that’s very exciting.
Confusion is a part of this process, and even once you’ve gained some clarity of purpose, there’s still more adventure to be had. So…chill. You’ll be alright.
Relax – don’t stall, and don’t stop – but you can relax a little.
Robert Dilts came up with a concept called the logical levels of change.
In short, change occurs differently on each level of the human experience.
The levels closer to the top of this pyramid or more comprehensive (influential) than the ones at the bottom, but a cohesive understanding of this model will help you understand yourself better, and make the life changes you need to start living a life that’s a perfect fit for you!
Where, when and with whom have you spent your life? What do you look like because of this? In order to decide what to do with your life, decide what environment you’d like to live the rest of your life, or your immediate future in.
What kind of people do you want to be around? How do they think, feel and act?
What sphere do you see yourself experiencing challenge, focus and excitement in?
Name your good and bad behaviors up until now. What ways of doing and being have gotten you to where you’re at in your life currently?
Do you wish you did anything differently, or behaved differently?
Even if you think you have bad habits, or are stuck in certain behavior patterns, make a note of behaviors you’d like to have.
What actions do you see yourself taking each day when you’re happy and satisfied with your life?
Are you making music, educating, swimming in a pool because you’re beautiful enough to make a living off instagram pictures? Haha!
In other words, what is the performance you put on for the world in your new vision of your life?
Skills and Capabilities
Values and Beliefs
Values and beliefs are just words that mean what is important to you?
For me, the most important thing in life is freedom. Independence is something so valuable to me it’s almost like air…I literally need it to breathe.
You can spend your life pursuing this (whatever it is for you) or teaching others how to get it. In the age of information, showing others how to get something they value is always fulfilling (and profitable).
Identity and Your Role in Life
Your identity is how you think, feel and act.
In order to take your life in a new direction, you’ll be transforming how you think about yourself, how you feel being you, and how you act on a daily basis.
Before you feed me this nonsense – “But Brian, I don’t know how I want to think, feel and act”….stop right there, because I know it’s B.S.
Yes you do know.
How do you want to think about yourself? What way of seeing yourself makes you feel good?
How do you want to act being the new you? What do you do every day? What activities fill your 24 hours?
How do you want to feel while you’re living your life?
Sit there and think.
Living by your own personal code
In his amazing book Living by your own personal Code Brian Tracy explains that all action is aimed at our own happiness, and we achieve happiness by moving toward our ideal.
Our ideal is the perfect version of who we aspire to be, and discovering more and more of that ideal each day is called progress, which is integral to an enduring sense of satisfaction with your life.
He then goes on to explain that we all have the right to live based on our own values, earn the respect of those we admire, become accepted and praised for our accomplishments.
- Understanding the impact of change and why it’s inevitable
- Taking the appropriate action
- Inaction is an action – one that makes you less likely to succeed
- Choosing the direction of your own happiness
- Sculpting your own future (it’s your right, and you have the ability)
- Define the groups and individuals that do what you respect and seek to do yourself
- Living with personal integrity
- Self esteem and Self ideal – setting the standard of how you want others to see you
- Changing your mental pictures and how you see yourself
- Defining your personal philosophy and understanding what you consider to be important
- The law of correspondence
Ikigai is an japanese system of living your life that focuses on taking 4 core concepts of life happiness and combining them into a single life purpose.
- What you love to do
- What you’re good at doing
- An avenue of service to the world and larger communities
- And your income
Some say this methodology is generic and outdated, but it’s the system I used personally to move my life forward when I was asking myself…“dude, what the f%!k do I want to do with my life?”
Ikigai combines your income earning activities, your passions, your mission in life and your journey toward skill mastery into a laser focused single activity that you’ll work toward.
I first heard about this idea from Tai Lopez.
It doesn’t matter where the idea comes from (the story is quite boring) – the idea of your Eulerian destiny means you will combine four important areas of your existence into what I called your path of least resistance.
This is a much less mystical or dreamy way of defining yourself, your life, and where you’re going.
It’s great for practical people who want a quick fix without any day dreaming.
You essentially combine your past and childhood upbringing with the focus of the last ten years of your life, and mix that together with something you’re quite vocal and passionate about, and what your closest friends, colleagues and family say about you.
The Freedom Diagram
This one is the simplest of the methodologies I’ve seen others use: combine your talent, what’s fun for you, and demand for the two of those, in whatever form it comes in.
This might be the one best suited for this new 2020 decade because people are taking their talents and what they think is fun and making money from it in the most astounding ways.
Randy Santel took his passion for competitive eating and created a successful youtube following from it.
He was so successful that he had fans show up to where he was having competitions and cheer him on.
Sean Evens, (you know – the guy from Hot Ones, the show with hot questions and even hotter wings?) literally took his love for food and his talent for conducting interviews and combined them into one of the most successful YouTube channels on the internet.
Those are just youtube examples, but the fact is, more and more people are discovering a new level of freedom this new world offers – you can make that money, and have fun doing it.
So ask yourself: what are you good at? What’s fun for you? What’s a clever way I can mix this into my own personal success machine?
Just start with a goal
If coming up with a grand vision for your future seems to be complicated or difficult for you right now, pick a goal you want to accomplish right now and go after it.
Make sure this goal means something to you, and that you follow the rules of goal setting, but afterward, you might find that this goal leads to discovering a passion of yours. Life has a way of just unfolding magically when you’re taking action in a high octane kind of way.
Start with what you love and take some pressure off needing to know for sure
If you’re in a spot where you don’t think moving towards anything is a good move for you right now –
- You don’t wanna start setting goals
- You don’t want to make a huge life change
…try doing more of what you love to do, or do it in a bigger way. Instead of whittling by yourself, create a weekend whittling group. 🙂
Take the pressure off yourself to need to have the whole map outlined right now. It’s not going to happen and you’re just stressing yourself out. Do something you love and keep the rest of your life the same.
See how things change in a little while and go on from there.
Make sure you set the intention to learn more about the path you can take in life that will be best for you. Once you make a decision to find this out, you’ll start paying more attention to it, and slowly, it will be revealed to you.
Something you can do right now to start
I think the best way to start this minute would be to get to know yourself better by asking yourself deep questions.
You can get the 50 Questions for Finding your Passion and Purpose in life for free.
After you’ve gone through this exercise you’ll be ready to take your first step toward transitioning into the next phase of your life.
What’s your rush? Taking something seriously doesn’t mean you need to apply undue pressure on yourself – you dont need to have your entire life figured out right now.
Even for those who have life plans and know where they fit in best, life is still a huge path if discovery, cleansing, evolution and growth – you’ll be alright.
Being in a transition period like the one you’re in right now doesn’t mean you’re a lazy, no good slob loser.
It means you’re in a period where the previous phase of your life has run it’s course, and a new phase of your life is about to enter.
This is an exciting time.
A time where you can start fresh
…and write a completely new story for yourself.
Even more thrilling, is you can start with fresh values, updated belief systems, a new mindset and completely new goals.
You’re actually in a good spot right now – that being said, it is time to get started because the clock above your head never stops ticking.
I recommend you sit down with these 50 questions and know yourself a bit better. When you do this, you’ll know which life fits the new you best.
If you choose to get them:
Other than that, make sure you leave a comment and let me know why you’re wondering what you should do with your life? What’s your story?