“I’m not doing what I want, but I don’t know what I want”
If the phrase above is something you say to yourself often, don’t be afraid – it happens to almost everyone. Unless your motivator is something straightforward, like financial stability or prestige, you’re probably driven by the need to do something useful, worthwhile, and taps into some special power you’ve been taught to believe growing up. You’re not alone in this, especially if these thoughts come after a rough day (or week, or month) at work, and you’re left wondering if this is really what you want to do.
No, it doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you. No, it doesn’t make you weak or irresponsible – unless you use that confusion and directionlessness irresponsibility. The thing is, this state of confusion is a force of nature that can be used well, especially once you find the strength in it.
Don’t make it an excuse, make it a problem
The problem only begins when you make your directionlessness your excuse in being unmotivated, flaky, and doing bad work. Even if the work you’re doing isn’t your life’s wish, it doesn’t mean that you are entitled to do bad work.
Make all the work you do good, because that reflects on the person you are, and that opens doors for you, which is useful for a person who can’t pick a door. Your directionlessness should be your problem, something you’re motivated to fix.
And you do so by:
Imagine going to an ice cream store, and not knowing what flavour you want to get. Obvious solution: try all the flavours.
And no, before you argue with me on this, you are never too old to try new things. Career switches happen all the time, and while people may be fickle about it, it’s not something to be ashamed of. If a career transition seems to much, then opt for courses and lessons outside of the workplace. You’ll be surprised by what you will enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to hustle
As filmmaker and YouTuber Casey Neistat once said: “In life you should only ever be doing one of two things and that is: figuring out what you’re most passionate about, like finding your dreams in life. And then two, realizing those passions, realizing those dreams.”
But in order to get to point two, when you’re realising those passions and dreams, you will have to work very hard. Doing new things doesn’t work overnight — you have to commit everything to the things you try before you can clearly say that its not for you, and even then, make sure that you are getting something out of that experience. Ultimately, you are putting in time and effort, and if you don’t then you will be wasting your time.
Which brings us to our next point:
Don’t be afraid of wasting your time
If you do your work right, and never produce half-assed results, then you won’t be. The worst case scenario is that you find bad examples of people to be, people to work with, or things to do. Each risk and attempt has something you can learn from.
Make peace with the fact that you may never find what you’re meant to do
It might never happen.
Not everyone gets that dream job, that ultimate goal accomplishment, that job that doesn’t feel like a job. If you’re not lucky enough to find that perfect calling or that sweet spot, don’t be discouraged. It doesn’t reflect on your abilities or your skills, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t work hard enough or smart enough.
In the meantime, be satisfied that you did as much as you could to expand your horizons and your skillset to get to where you are: as close to that ‘meant to be‘ place as possible.