In our early and mid-twenties, most of us find ourselves stuck in a whirlwind of options. We can decide to move out of our parent’s house, go to graduate school, get a full-time job, travel the world, or even start a business if we wanted to. But sometimes the plethora of options leaves us feeling stuck.
I’ve been there–contemplating what I wanted to do with my life after graduation several times over in my head, and coming out on the other end with virtually no more clarity than what I started with. It’s normal though, the notion of “not knowing”. But think back to when you were a child or adolescent–did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Did that dream evolve over time into something else?
As Adults, Why Do We Stop Dreaming?
When we’re young and free of adult responsibilities, we have the luxury of dreaming wildly without limits or consideration of social constructs. You’ve probably envisioned what our ideal future would look like and as you got older, may have strayed away from that vision due to a number of factors. Truth is, you sort of snap into reality a little more each year because adulthood presents you with obstacles that sometimes cause you to veer from your path of true goals and desires.
We have to worry about so many things: bills, student loans, car note, kids, holding down a job, our health, and so much more. But even so, I believe we always carry our true dreams and desires with us subconsciously. Whether or not we actively make the decision to live out those desires and work to make our dreams a reality, is another thing. This is why I say, proclaiming that we “don’t know what we want to do”, is a cop-out. Now, let me be clear with this one. I’m well aware that we all don’t have the means, resources, and mental capacity to go after our dreams with full force, so this won’t apply to everyone. However, those of us that do have the ability to do so, should.
How Do I Know Where to Start?
You’ve always known. It’s been inside of you since childhood or maybe sometime when you were a teenager. I think majority of us know what we would like to pursue that would make us happy. The only problem is, we tend to get discouraged by seeing other peoples’ successes or we let our own silly, negative thoughts and imposter syndrome convince us that we aren’t good enough to accomplish something, thus feeling paralyzed by fear of failing. We use the idea of “not knowing” to mentally trick ourselves into doing nothing. When you think about it, it’s just an excuse to keep us from doing the work. But why are we so afraid of doing the work? Why do we find it difficult to stay motivated and consistent in our pursuits? When you’re done reading this article, check out this video that helped me answer these questions and overcome lack of motivation when I was trying to figure things out a few years ago.
How to Navigate the Inevitable Roadblocks
Naturally, we stress about our finances and trying to ensure that we put our time and energy into things that will support our lifestyle and allow us to live a comfortable life. After all, we need money to survive and the cost of living inflates every year. These factors contribute to what leaves us feeling stuck and unsure of what steps to take to work toward our goals. But you know, it doesn’t do us any good to sit and wait and wonder if our dreams can truly be accomplished. The best solution to figuring out what you want to do as a career, job, side hustle or business is to try!
That’s it. Try things out. Fail. Try again. Tweak your methods. Do your research. Get a life coach or business coach. Try again with help from a mentor. Do more research. Look up free programs and online courses to help you learn and become knowledgeable in your desired field. The more knowledge you gain, the more confident you’ll become. Make a LinkedIn page and seek out advice from experts in the field you want to get into. And try and try again until you begin operating in a way that makes you feel good. Eventually, your purpose will reveal itself and you’ll begin discovering new things about yourself while cultivating new skills along the way.
This is what people mean by saying “trust the process” or “trust your journey”. It’s literally a journey. Everything you try out for the first time won’t stick. But that just means that something greater down your path is waiting to be discovered by YOU. Just keep trying and putting in effort and you’ll understand why everything you’ve been doing has been preparing you for the moments you’ve prayed for.
So try something new today, even if you don’t think you’ll be good at it. If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, now is the time to do it. At least if it doesn’t pan out, you’ll know it’s not meant for you. See how life experience works? But please, just try anyway. Do your research, then take the first baby step. Go slowly. Think short term, for now. Write your ideas down. Literally block time out of your calendar to dedicate to whatever it is you want to do. Try 15 minutes per day to start–that’s it. This is what I mean by baby steps. And if you need the motivation or help to do so, seek out help from people who have done what you are trying to accomplish. Get free advice on YouTube, I do it all the time.
It’s All About Visualization
I want to challenge you to visualize yourself living in your dream world. It’s attainable. It’s not a fantasy. Tell yourself that on a daily basis. Write it down in your iPhone Notes or in a journal. Just promise me you’ll put in the small efforts it takes to get tasks done one by one. You will figure it out. And remember to enjoy the ride too while you’re at. Your future self with thank you for taking the leap and staying consistent.
(I literally wrote this in like 5 minutes. Just had to get down my thoughts and put it out there lol. Hope this helps someone today. Now, go out there and start taking baby steps to discovering yourself. You gut this!)
One thought on “Here’s Why Saying “IDK What To Do With My Life” is a Cop-out—And What to Do About It”
All great points! Love the visualization, that’s one that I’ve been working on. I’ve picked this blog thing up and down a few times and I’m finally getting back on the horse, this time not putting it down. I tell myself baby steps and whenever doubt creeps in, I counter it. It’s work, but I want more out of life. I want purpose.