1. You’re aware of what’s wrong with your life. The other side of knowing what you don’t want is knowing what you do. Hypersensitivity to what’s wrong with your life is really just another form of heightened intuition. It’s in the process of building the lives we want out of the ones we don’t that we really fulfill our potential.
2. You know what you want even if you don’t know how to get there. It’s never about the “how,” it’s about the what. And in fact, it’s trying to control how you get somewhere rather than where you end up that messes people up the most. If you want love, for example, you can have love – you just can’t be attached to it necessarily coming from one particular person who isn’t ultimately right for you (the same applies to work, or any other goal).
3. You have a strong sense of who you are, even if you aren’t living all of it out yet. It’s not so much a matter of knowing what you want, but knowing who you are – a strong sense of self is the foundation on which anything genuine is built.
4. What you do each day would, theoretically, culminate in achieving your goals. You’re doing something every single day that adds to the person you want to be (you practice your music, you write something, you connect with someone you love).
5. You’re uncharacteristically shy about the work you love the most. You’ll notice that most people who are particularly talented or successful don’t go around seeking validation for what they do – they validate themselves just by doing it.
6. You’re highly sensitive. You worry, you overthink, you feel as though you’re “too much” a lot of the time. These traits are not random, they are the shadow sides of creativity, awareness and prolificness.
7. You slack off as much as you work hard. This one might seem pretty surprising, but it’s actually the most important: if you don’t give yourself ample time to recuperate, relax, and totally just let go for a while, you’ll burn out. Letting yourself slack off now and again is how you pace yourself and keep the balance.
8. You’re willing to make sacrifices. You don’t expect to be able to do everything and well – you’re not only willing to let up on some parts of your life to focus more intently on others, but you already do so. So whether that looks like skipping an extra night out to work or using weekends to create or holding off on dating until you’re totally ready, you’re willing to do it.
9. You have a little chip on your shoulder. You’ve had your heart broken. You’re a little bitter. You have some people to prove wrong. A small crack in the foundation is the only impetus many people need to build a whole new life for themselves.
10. You easily feel uncomfortable. It’s not that happy people are comfortable, placated people are comfortable. People who have settled are comfortable. Discomfort will drive you, it’s crucial.
11. You take yourself seriously. People always use that phrase in a negative way, as though people who do so aren’t “chill” or cool or realistic. But you need to take yourself seriously to legitimately get somewhere in life – assume anyone who argues otherwise is just intimidated by your determination.
12. You sometimes have anxiety about being able to take care of yourself. This kind of worrying means that whether by choice or circumstance, you’re independent. You don’t live under the pretense that someone will save your sorry ass if you mess up. You assume complete responsibility for your life.
13. You’re what other people would call “flighty” at times. You don’t settle for friends, apartments, bad drinks at dinner. Of course, there’s a line between accepting less than you deserve and uh, just being an ass, but the flip side is that most people just accept what they have without any discretion.
14. Even if it’s not what you’re doing now, you feel called to something. You know you have a love for illustrating, or counseling other people, or writing, or playing music live. Even if it’s not your life yet, just knowing what you’re drawn to is the most important part.
15. You don’t believe in “types” or “dream jobs.” You aren’t trapped in the illusion that you can imagine your way into a perfect life. You’re willing to try and fail and try again; to accept the discomfort and the hard work; to step outside what you’ve known and see what you don’t.