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  • Writer's pictureNatalya Permyakova

How To Figure Out What To Do In Life


A woman is sitting working on her laptop


“What should I do with my life?”


That’s one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. The answer will determine what kind of life you will end up living and how much you will actually enjoy it.


If you’ve been wondering how to find what to do in life, you are in the right place. In this post you will find a step-by-step action plan for helping you figure out what to do in life.

Let’s do it, trailblazer!


 

Why I don’t know what to do with my life


Don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with you. There are a lot of people who have no idea what to do with their life. Maybe some of them are better than others at pretending they have it figured out.


There are three main reasons why we don’t know what to do in life.


1. We tick society’s boxes instead of our own


Let’s face it, we are social creatures. In the old days, living up to the society’s expectations was a question of life and death. If you are excluded from the tribe, you could only survive for a few days on your own.


Things have changed, but our brains haven’t quite caught up. Without even realising it, we live our lives to satisfy society’s expectations, rarely our own. That’s how we end up feeling stuck and unfulfilled — we barely even know what we truly want.


2. Non-linear life paths are harder to navigate


The traditional idea of a three-staged life of education, career and retirement has rapidly become obsolete. There is no ‘one size fits all’ life path anymore, and you have to create your own.


You can re-marry, change your lifestyle, career, even gender…it’s liberating and empowering, but also tricky. You must think for yourself and create your own definition of a life well lived, instead of relying on proven frameworks.


3. There are too many options out there


We never had so much choice as we do today. The world is our oyster, we can live, work and have fun across borders, change partners, careers, you name it.


But here is a catch. All those exciting options make us feel overwhelmed and paralysed with choice. We find ourselves stuck, going through life’s options in our head without actually pursuing any of them. Because there are just too many!


Map of Yearnings
You can prioritise all of your dreams & wants digitally with My Life Quest


Why should I know what I want in life?


Not knowing what you want to do with your life means floating by without a clear sense of direction. While you might feel you are getting somewhere, you are leaving your life to a chance. It might, or might not turn out the way you want.


Instead, if you know what you want in life, it will be a lot easier to navigate life, make big life decisions, and ultimately achieve what you want.


Knowing what you want in life will help you:


  • Eliminate anxiety & worry about the future

  • Maximise your potential

  • Live your life to the fullest

  • Get out of your head and into your life

Sounds pretty good, right? Ok, it’s time to figure out what you want!


 

How can I figure out what I want to do with my life


Figuring out what you want is easier than you might think. All you need to do is follow the proven steps below.


Step 1. Discover your core values


Your values are a fantastic foundation upon which you can create your life strategically, aligning every decision that you make with what truly drives you. You can use your core values as your design principles for life.


Without knowing what you value, you may end up working hard in a completely wrong direction. Once you know your values, you can use them to stay on track in life, make big life decision and focus on the right things to maximise your potential.



My Life Quest screen with personal values
Define and prioritise your values digitally in My Life Quest (for free)


How can I discover my values?


Here are the 4 steps to defining your personal values:


Step 1 — HELICOPTER VIEW. Start with thinking about life and work and reflect on such questions as why we live, what is the purpose of work, what constitutes a life well lived. Reflecting on these questions will help you identify some of the most fundamental and deep-sitting values and will help you uncover what matters to you most in life, work and in relationships with others.


Step 2 — ZOOM-IN. Once you reflected on bigger questions, it’s time to look at specific life experiences that may highlight some of your additional values. For example, you can think of a time when you had to make an important life decision. What were the key drivers that helped you in making that decision? How do they reflect your values?


Step 3 — LAUNDRY-LIST. Now that you have an initial list of values, go through a laundry-list of lots of values to make sure you are not missing anything out. Add anything that is not yet on your list. You might find clusters of values emerging — you can put them in groups and name them in your own way. This way you can really make your values list YOURS.


Step 4 — PRIORITIZATION. Finally, you will land on a few top values. You can decide how many values you want to have in your final list, you can have 3, 5 or 10. We recommend having top 5 defined and memorised, so that you can easily access them as your mental crib sheet for future decision making.

Self-discovery tools like My Life Quest are a great way to define your values digitally and in a guided way.


Step 2. Discern what you want vs what society wants


The reason why so many people feel stuck in life is because they never created their own definition of success. Instead, they focus on the pre-defined notion of success created by the society, which often conflicts with our true desires.


If your life ticks all the boxes — nice house, a decent job, maybe a family, but you still feel like something is missing, it very well could be that your definition of success is different. Maybe a hefty paycheck is not all there is to life, you might be wondering. What if I had more free time? Better sleep? Move my body more?’ Live by the sea?


Limiting beliefs
In My Life Quest, you can identify and challenge your limiting beliefs

Good news is, the world is loosening its rigidity. Society is a lot more accepting of the choices we make when it comes to how we live, where we live, who we love, whether we have children or not, and so much more.


Nowadays, it is a lot easier to follow your own path — the ‘tribe’ is OK with that. So, go ahead, trailblazer, fully embrace who you want to be!


Step 3: Try things out & iterate


The trickiest thing about being stuck in life is that you end up going through all the options in your head, worrying about making the right decision and not actually doing anything.


The only way to figure out what you want in life is — get out of your head and into your life. You will never have all the information you think you need to make the right choice.

The only thing that you can do is take action, generate “data”, learn from it and iterate. I call it an experimental approach to life.


Let me give you an example. Imagine you are trying to figure out what is your passion that you would like to turn into a career. You have lots of ideas about what you might want to do, those are your hypotheses.


But you have zero actual proof of whether you are right about your hypotheses or not. You might think that you might want to become an architect. You have an idea of what the job might entail, but you don’t actually know until…well, until you take action and explore the realities of the job. Those are called experiments.


Depending on your risk appetite and your hypotheses, you have a few options for how to run your experiments.


With our architect example, you could:


  • Have a chat with an architect to validate (or disprove) your ideas about the profession;

  • Shadow an architect for a day or do an internship to see what the job entails for yourself;

  • Go all in (rarely recommended) — get a degree in architecture & find a job as an architect.


The experiments above do one thing — they allow you to collect data, in other words, cues to what you truly want. As you run life experiments, you will prove some hypotheses and disprove others. This allows you to learn and move forward instead of staying in your head and going through hypothetical options.


Conclusion


Not knowing what you want in life sucks — it is painful, counter-productive, and prevents you from living your best life. Once you figure out what you want, you can stop thinking and start living your life.


So, go ahead, trailblazer, discover your values, create your definition of success and run experiments. You are closer to your dream life than you think!


One last thing before you go…

If you are tired of being stuck and ready to create the life you love, try My Life Quest. It is a personal discovery journey that will help you understand who you are, get clear on what you want, create a strategic life plan, and start moving with life experiments.

Try for free now: My Life Quest.


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