It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. At least, it felt like a long time. Generally speaking, if you find your place in the world before you hit 30, you’re not off to a bad start. I managed, but I still wish I could have done it sooner.
I often wonder if it would have even been possible for me to have gotten to where I am more quickly. I wonder if I could have made — and learned from — my mistakes faster. I wonder if I could have learned from the mistakes of others instead of having to make them on my own.
But it doesn’t really matter whether or not I could have. Could-haves and should-haves are useful only if they teach lessons. And I’ve learned my lessons. The only other lesson I need is on how to realize my mistakes more quickly.
It’s funny, because I’m one of those people that always had a plan. I wanted to be something as soon as I was born. I wanted to be someone.
I wanted to be an architect, an astronaut, a designer, an engineer, a dancer, a neurosurgeon, a restaurateur, a writer, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. I can’t sit still. I was passionate about one thing until I got bored of it or realized that it wasn’t for me, and then I moved on.
I remember hearing people say that I was flaky or unreliable as a child. I bounced from one project to the next. But you know what? I don’t regret any of it.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m successful. I’ve managed to get further in life than most people I know who are my age and older. I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this so that you realize that everyone else’s opinion about what you should be doing in life isn’t worth two cents.
More importantly than that, you need to understand that a dream is only a dream until you give up on it. If you are capable of giving up on your dream and being happy with that decision, it was never worth having.
The problem with people is that they put aside their childhood dreams once they get older, often realizing they’re no longer interested in pursuing them. And instead of finding a new dream, a new passion, they decide that everything they were taught in school was right; they join our broken, soul-crushing system and live mediocre lives.
It’s okay to give up on your dreams when you no longer see the point in pursuing them. That’s the issue with having such specific life goals; there’s always an element to them that you won’t like. Once that happens, you begin to question your dreams and your decision to pursue them in the first place.
Once that happens, it’s game over. Dreams worth pursuing are already incredibly difficult to achieve as it is. There are tons of talented, intelligent, and hungry competitors trying to beat you to the prize. You will falter and fail along the way.
There’s no way around that. So unless you’re 100% certain that you’re doing what you want to, you’re never going to make it.
You’re going to devote time to a mission that won’t completely thrill you. You’ll waste years of your life half-assing it, convincing yourself that you’re living your life right because you have a purpose.
Meaningful goals are useless unless you’re passionate about them. And if you’re not passionate about them, you’ll never achieve them.
And by the time you realize that you were pursuing the wrong dream, you’ll believe that you’re too old to find a new passion. This is poppycock, of course. But it will destroy your chances of harnessing the motivation necessary to achieve those new dreams.
I urge you to be less passionate about making a career. Instead, broaden your way of thinking. Think more philosophically.
It’s really a shame that more people don’t study philosophy, because philosophy truly is the key to peace and happiness. It doesn’t matter which philosophy you follow — as long as it’s a rational one that you believe to be right.
Take the time to create your own philosophy. What is most important to you? Don’t think about what things you want; rather, reflect on how you want to live your life.
What concepts, theories, ideas and morals do you believe are right? Which do you think are wrong? How do you believe you ought to treat and interact with people? What does every individual (or every living being) deserve? What rights does every living thing have? Don’t focus only on what you “should” believe or think. Dig into why you think the way you think.
Dissect the ways in which you process information, and make connections. Alter your consciousness and your reality.
A life without passion can’t possibly make you happy. You won’t find joy. You won’t find contentment. You won’t find meaning or purpose. You need to follow your dreams, but don’t stick with something if it isn’t the right something.
If you pursue a random dream, you’re failing just as much as you would if you didn’t pursue any dream.
When you find the sweet spot, it will be much easier for you to reach your goals and be the successful person you dream of becoming.