The I-don’t-know-what-to-do zone

The I-don’t-know-what-to-do zone

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Do you feel tired? Mentally, phisically or both?

If you are anything like me, it is likely you are exhausted. You are trying to make everything square, but as much as you try there’s always something missing. Life pulls you in a direction you don’t like or push you in so many directions you don’t know which is the right one. So you try harder, make more plans, schedule more things to do, write yet another list, but the more you do, the more you feel overwhelmed. All you want is just a moment to stop and think clearly without all of this noise, but life keeps spinning and you can’t jump off.

In a moment when I felt particularly tired and just wanted to send everything to Hell, I happened upon something my friend Devani  posted on her Facebook feed.

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It felt so right. It felt like a deep breath of relief, like a friend hugging me an telling me everything was going to be fine. It was exactly what I needed in that moment. Could that be true? Could all my running and planning and struggling to figure out how to fit everything in my life just a waste of time? Could I really give up without feeling guilty? Could I really live my life without thinking of its purpose?

It was liberating and terrifying at the same time and I had to chew it over to discern the liberating and the terrifying parts.

It’s true, there is social pressure to find your passion. And, in my own small way, I am one of those applying this pressure. But is this really like that? Or is the pressure felt only by those who already perceive there is something missing in their lives?

I know many people who don’t have a specific passion, who don’t feel a specific call, and are happy simply going on with their lives the way they are. They look a lot like those mentioned in that post, those who have many small and large purposes entering and leaving their lives, and are satisfied with it. There’s nothing wrong in this. Actually they are in an enviable situation.

The purpose of finding your passion is living a fulfilling life. If you already perceive your life as fulfilling then… you are a winner!

But what if you don’t?

What if you are not content with your life and would like something more but don’t know where to being? Do you just simply stop searching for your passion and try to live your moments fully without aiming to a larger purpose? Is passion not for everyone? Is it just for a few chosen ones? Is this the point the above post is making? What if you are not among the chosen ones? Are you doomed to a not fulfilling survival?

No, you are not doomed.

But you need to slow down. There’s no need to rush. Finding your passion is a process, it takes time to find it and even more time to acknowledge it—you can believe me, I went through it myself. But you’ll be happy to know there are a few things you could do to help the process.

Listen to your life: this is something I learnt from The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. In the first part of the book, he describes the preparation stages you need to go through to find your vocation. The first step is listening to the clues your life is giving you. Your past experiences and the way you reacted to them can tell you something, if you are willing to listen.

What made you feel good? What happened which made you feel satisfied? Was that time you managed to help a friend in need? Or that time you run a half-marathon from beginning to end? Or that time you made that journey on your own? It’s likely there is some common ground to the events that made you feel a certain way during your life

Savour every moment: don’t let this search for your purpose consume you. Your passion may be in front of your eyes, but if you are too busy searching for it, paradoxically you may miss it. So spend time reading novels, doing things with your family and friends, resting (really resting, not that fake resting you do when you sit on the sofa think about all the things you should do instead).

Stop constantly worrying about the clock ticking. When you need a break, take it and remember to live the moment. This is the way you realise what makes you feel good.

Don’t be afraid of changing road: leaving the known for the unknown is scary, but sometimes necessary. The hardest part is discerning between reckless decision and needed changes.

When does changing stops being an irresponsible act and starts being a necessity? It depends on what’s at stake. Think it through but don’t think too much.

Ask for help: when you are unsure about which way to go ask for help. Talk with your family and friends, they may see something you don’t, or seek the advice of someone who already went through it.

The second half of the post abobe says “For many people there is no realisation, no bliss to follow, no discovery of life purpose. This isn’t sad, it’s just the way things are”.

Well, I beg to differ. I firmly believe there’s realisation for everyone and stating “it’s just the way things are” sounds too much like a cynical remark of someone who gave up on his passion. What we should bare in mind is not everyone’s realisation looks the same. You don’t necessarily have to be the next Stephen King or the next Nelson Mandela. You can find realisation in being the best father you can be, or in making sandwiches that will avoid your customers eating junk food, or in being a friendly bartender who gives an ear when someone needs it.

What do you think makes the world a better place, a stack of fanatic influencers believing in their principles or common people living fulfilling lives?