I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who went to college and graduated a couple of years ago. He was talking about his struggle in figuring out what his purpose was in life and trying to pinpoint what his passion was. He spent four years in college, and now he’s working a job that he hates in a position that has nothing to do with his degree. Did he miss something somewhere?
This subject has been on my mind a lot recently as I have so many friends struggling to figure out what to do with their life. Some of them are just graduating high school, some of them are three years into college, some of them, like the one above, are through college and out of it and still struggling with this question.
Here’s the thing, almost everyone deals with this in some way or another. Yes, we probably all have that one friend who had their entire life planned out at the age of twelve, but more often than not, people don’t know what they want to do next year, let alone the rest of their life.
If you fit into this category of fickle future planner, here are a few things to think about:
Stop comparing yourself to other people
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this idea of “all my friends are doing cool things and I’m stuck working my lame job. I’m gonna be here for the rest of my life while everyone else has everything figured out.” Ridiculous. Your situation is what you make it. Maybe your friends are doing “cooler” things than you. Maybe they do have their life figured out before you. Who cares? Everyone has a different path and everyone goes at a different pace. If you feel bitter because you know you could be where they are now if you had worked harder, get over yourself. What’s passed is past. Maybe you were a loser before, but you can’t change that. All that matters now is what you do next.
Stop trying to find your passion
If you spend this time searching for your one passion, “this time” is probably going to turn into the rest of your life. Some are struck with that passion at a young age, but most people start with many passions or interests. Think of yourself as a kid. You may have loved certain things for a time, but eventually, you stopped caring about those things and grew to love other things twice as much.
Instead of trying to find your “one passion” or even trying to find something you like, just start looking for things you don’t hate. Your options become much broader. I think college has influenced many to think that if you do something, that has to be the one thing you’re going to do for the rest of your life. This simply isn’t the case.
Figure out some options, narrow it down to things you wouldn’t hate, then go out and commit six months (or even three months) to learn as much as you can about that thing. Go out and try to get a job in that field or something similar to it and see what you think. What do you like, what do you dislike? Don’t be neutral, be purposeful.
Give everything you have to everything you do
If you’re sitting at home all day telling me that you just can’t figure out what your passion is, I’m probably not going to have much compassion for you. If you’re not going out giving your all to at least try things, that doesn’t tell me that you don’t know what your passion is, that tells me that you don’t care what it is. Go out and do something. You learn from everything you do, so you might as well learn something productive.
As they say, it’s easier to steer a moving ship than it is to steer one at the dock.
Start moving, start learning.