How Do I Know What I Should Do With My Life?

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Who am I? What should I do with my life? These are questions that plague hundreds of millions of people the world over. If you type in the phrase “What should I do with my life test” or “what should I do with my life quiz” into a search engine, numerous sites will offer conflicting advice as to how to find your life’s calling. You ask yourself these questions when faced with complex life choices, such as choosing a college or university major, as well as deciding which career to pursue. Do not despair, we have all been there at various stages of our lives.

The following guide can help you determine what you would like to do with your life. However, what you actually choose to do is entirely up to you. Do not base important life decisions solely on the advice of one or two self help articles. Instead, take the time to think about the advice presented here, consider how (or even if) you want to apply it to yourself, and then choose the path that feels right.

Your Life, Your Strengths

It is not uncommon to hear parents and teachers telling children, “you can be anything you want to be”. Unfortunately, that is not really true. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; some people are simply not suited for certain types of work. Albert Einstein, for instance, was a genius in his field, but he never would have been able to work as a kindergarten teacher. A person with an aptitude for computer programming would probably make a lousy dentist, while a talented surgeon would probably not be able to handle a skilled trades career such as plumbing or carpentry.

Consider what your strengths are and see which career options allow you to use your talents. If you are good at math and enjoy doing calculations, then perhaps a job in engineering, banking or accounting would be suitable. If you enjoy art, consider work as an art therapist, designer or freelance artist. Those who are good with people may want to find a career that enables them to interact with numerous people on a daily basis. This can include working as a doctor, nurse, police officer, salesperson or teacher. As you can see, there is no single career choice that is right for a person with a particular set of gifts and talents.

Think about Long-Term Goals

The world famous book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” gives some great advice for figuring out what to do with your life. One particular habit that stands out is “Begin with the end in mind.” What this means is, think about what you want your life to look like ten, twenty or even thirty years in the future. As the author goes on to explain, this means not only looking at your career but all aspects of your life – your health, your family life, your free time, and your hobbies.

It is also wise to take some time to look at the bigger picture of your life right now. Assess “what am I doing with my life?” and see if it is really where you want to be. Are the things you are doing right now making it possible for you to reach your long-term goals? Perhaps you want to be an engineer but you find yourself spending all your free time on social media or playing computer games. If so, you might want to assess your priorities and use at least some of your spare time to make your dreams come true. Read up on the field that you are interested in, look for apprenticeship and/or internship possibilities and even consider asking leaders in your field of interest for their advice. As at least one successful writer has found that company leaders are surprisingly accessible and more than willing to give advice to those who either want to follow in their footsteps or are trying to determine what to do with life and need help and mentoring.

Be Willing to Experiment

As the old saying goes, “You cannot find and explore new lands unless you are willing to lose sight of the shore”. In other words, you cannot find what you really want to do in life unless you are willing to try different things.

If you find yourself saying “I don’t know what to do with my life”, try out various options to see which one is right for you. Take up part-time jobs, read about various career options, and volunteer at charities and nonprofit organizations. The more life experience you gain, the easier it will be for you to discover what you enjoy doing.

Naturally, you will probably want to stick with a college major once you have selected one, as it can be difficult or even impossible to change majors once you have started. At the same time, if you discover partway through your college or university course that you hate your major and it is definitely not for you, then do not compound your mistake by making a career out of something you can’t stand doing. Instead, back up and consider what course of action would be right for you. You may discover that the career field that best suits your dreams, desires and talents does not require you to have a college or university degree.

Take Your Life Circumstances into Account

If you are pondering what to do with your life, then you will also need to take your present circumstances into account. Perhaps you do not have the money needed to attend a prestigious university. Maybe you need to care for family members and so can only study part time. It is also possible that there are no job openings in the field of your choice. While it is important to dream, you should also be realistic. After all, your dreams must have landing gear if they are to become reality.

If you cannot fulfill your dream in one particular way, see if you can fulfill it in another way. For example, maybe you are unable get a job in the field of your choice, but you could start your own company and then work in the field you love. Maybe you cannot afford to get the university degree needed to get the job you want; however, there may be similar job opportunities that do not require a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree.

In Summary

What should I be doing with my life? What should I do with the rest of my life? These are common questions that people all over the world ask themselves. Knowing what to do with your life is not easy, and it will take time to figure out the answers to these questions. Nevertheless, it is well worth the time and effort to do so.

To start with, consider what your strengths and abilities are. Chances are that you are not only good at doing certain things but that you enjoy doing the things you are good at. Your talents play a big role in determining which career is right for you.

Next, consider what you want your life to look like. Think about not only career options but about the entirety of your life. Do you want time to travel or raise a family, or would you rather have a high paying yet fast-paced career that leaves you little time to do anything else?

The next step is to do a bit of experimentation. Try out various career paths. Research, read and see what you really want to do. Finally, put some landing gear on your plans. Determine if you will in fact be able to do what you want; if so, then make plans for how to go about doing it. If you are unable to fulfill your dreams in the way you had originally planned, look for alternatives.

Any person can figure out what he or she wants to do with life. Take the time to consider these pointers and then see which path is right for you.

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