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5 Steps to Discover What You Want to Do in Life

by Ali

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In the words of Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer; that’s precisely what this article will help you figure out. We aren’t born knowing our calling. Some people decide early on how they want to live and what they want to do for a living; others drift along, never quite feeling fulfilled. 

Drifting is fine, but if you are a drifter, you may experience a sense of failing to meet your full potential and a lack of achievement and purpose. When we discover what we want to do and follow this path, we become alive with the energy of synchronicity. 

This article will outline why knowing what you want to do is essential. It will also touch on the consequences of not knowing what you want. It will also suggest five tips to help you discover the right path. 

Why is it important to know what you want to do in life? 

Those who know what they want in life control their future. They hold the power to create the future of their imaginings. 

Many people fall into their lives and go along with the herd without considering things for themselves. An excellent example is those who have children without giving enough thought and reflection as to whether parenting is for them. A staggering 1 in 5 people in Germany regret parenthood. Orna Donath’s book Regretting Motherhood explores this taboo topic in greater detail. 

The point is there is no universal path for how to live life. And when we do what everyone else does, we betray ourselves and can end up deeply unhappy, frustrated, stifled, and even clinically depressed. 

We must discover what sets our hearts ablaze to live a truly authentic and fulfilling life. Only when we know what we are here for will we feel a sense of purpose, connection, and belonging, which fuels our positive psychology. 

What happens when you don’t know what you want to do in life?

If you don’t know what you want to do in life and you don’t take the time to explore this, you will continue drifting from one thing to the next without rhyme or reason. You will live without intention, which can compromise your integrity and leave your sense of self murky and confusing. 

A lot of the time, our soul gives us little indications of where it wants to spend time. But we ignore it due to fear or our desires not meeting society’s expectations.

Can you ever be truly happy if you don’t know what you want

Think of yourself as a ship out at sea. Even ships must navigate toward a destination for their journey to have purpose and meaning. 

Those who drift along without finding their authentic direction and meaning will feel rudderless and disconnected forever. 

It is natural for our wants and needs to change over the years. The trick is to be versatile and able to adapt to these changes. Seventeen years ago, I wanted to be a police officer, so I became one. This year I decided I no longer wanted to be a police officer, so I left. Do what feels right for you at that moment in your life.  

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5 ways to discover what you want to do in life

It’s time to say goodbye to the drifter in you. When we live a life of intention, moving in the direction of things that captivate and inspire us, we invite a life of potential and positive vibrations. 

Here are our 5 tips on discovering what you want to do in life. 

1. Be curious and open  

They say we have to kiss many frogs before we meet our prince. We can adapt this idea to help us determine what we want to do. It’s all about trial and error. We must be curious and open to trying new things to find things we connect with. So say “yes” to adventures, experiences, and learnings. 

For instance, if we don’t already play a musical instrument, how are we supposed to know whether we want to be a musician? 

Embracing life and everything it offers us is the best way to determine our likes and dislikes and how we want to spend our time. 

2. Notice when you experience flow   

According to Positive Psychology, the flow state is experienced when we are in the zone. It is experienced by “those involved in challenging but enjoyable activities that cause them to lose a sense of time, such as sports and creative artistic pursuits.”

I experience flow state in various areas of my life. Including: 

  • Running on trails.  
  • Writing personal essays or creative stories. 

I pursued these areas of my life by listening to my soul and paying attention to what puts me in a flow state. My passion for running evolved into the foundation of several running communities and a running business. I now work as a running coach and in business development for an independent running company.

This line of work makes me feel alive; my love for running transfers to my job, so much so it doesn’t feel like work. 

3. What fills your daydreams?  

Where does your mind go when it drifts off into its fantasy world? My mind takes me up mountains and along coastlines. I am drawn to natural adventures. This daydreaming landscape helps me understand that I need to spend as little time as possible in the city and as much time as possible surrounded by nature. 

If you want to know where your heart is, look at where your mind goes when it wanders.

Vi Keeland

What about you? What is your heart yearning for? You will likely daydream about what your heart yearns for. It may be a hobby or interest or a particular person. There is no wrong or right answer; our daydreams are as individual as our fingerprints. But listen to your daydreams and figure out how to make them a reality. 

4. Follow your jealousy  

Jealousy is painted as a negative trait we should try to hide, suppress and eradicate. Sure, it’s not the best of traits, but it is simply our psyche trying to communicate what it wants. 

If you are jealous of your friend traveling to some far-off country, maybe your heart craves adventure and foreign lands. If you are jealous of your sister having a baby, you may seek to be a parent. 

Don’t fight against your jealousy; listen to it. Each time you start to feel the prickles of jealousy, ask yourself open questions to explore the sensation. You will likely learn something about yourself and can adapt your course to account for your yearnings. 

5. Explore yourself  

Who are you? Are you introverted, extroverted, or ambivert? Do you prefer the country or the city? What type of music do you enjoy? What makes you laugh? What scares you? 

There are infinite ways to distinguish you as an individual. 

You must have a strong understanding of yourself to discern what you want to do in life. If you need help, you could work with a professional, such as a life coach or therapist. You could also consult with a psychologist and undertake some personality tests. 

The stronger your understanding of yourself is, the clearer your desires and yearnings will be. 

I worked with a career coach for a few sessions several years ago. This work helped clarify what I needed in my work and personal life to bring balance, purpose, and contentment. 

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Wrapping up 

Life is short. All too often, by the time we’ve discovered what we want to do in life, we have wasted decades trying to figure it out. 

Make the most of the years you have on this planet and figure out now how you want to spend your precious time on this planet. Don’t forget our five tips to help you discover what you want in life. 

  • Be curious and open.
  • Notice when you experience flow. 
  • What fills your daydreams? 
  • Follow your jealousy. 
  • Explore yourself. 

How have you discovered your true calling in life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Ali Hall AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Kindness is my superpower. Dogs and nature are my oxygen. Psychology with Sports science graduate. Scottish born and bred. I’ve worked and traveled all over the world. Find me running long distances on the hills and trails.

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