HOW TO START DOING WHAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO DO IN LIFE
Why is doing what we really want to do in life so hard?
It’s hard because quite often, our deepest dreams and desires seem too outrageous. They’re the actor, the singer, the prime minister; the multi award-winning playwright or New York time’s no.1 bestseller or being the top athlete in your sport. It’s the one in a million, the big break; the things that you fantasised about as a child but wouldn’t dare admit to still dreaming about now. We grow into a world where we want to be more, but not too much. We want to push ourselves to the limit; but the limit of a carefully placed bar - high enough that it’s hard, but achievable; high enough that we reach a new success with the lowest chance of failure.
Take a moment to ask yourself, how many things have you done in your life where there was an actual possibility of failure? And don’t tell me of that time in school sitting that really hard maths test, because we all know that we all say ‘ahhhhh i think i’ve failed’ when really we know that the amount of work we put in will have at least scraped us a pass. Don’t be the kid that tells everyone they’ve not studied then brings out a thick pile of colour-coordinated flashcards - you knew, deep down in all of those things you’re thinking of right now, the chances of failure were pretty pretty slim.
But maybe one thing will spring to mind, where you genuinely thought you might fail. How did that feel? Probably not great. You were probably riddled with anxiety, worked yourself to the bone to give whatever you were doing the best possible shot. Or maybe you detached completely from it, took on the ‘I couldn’t care less’ attitude, ignored and suppressed that feeling of your self-esteem slowly crumbling.
But 9 times out of 10, when we actually have that choice (rather than a school exam or something that is forced upon you) - we don’t engage in the things we don’t think we’re going to succeed at. As humans, we naturally drive our time and energy towards something that we’re going to get energy back from. It doesn’t make sense to give our all to something that will drain the life out of us.
And whilst on one hand, this all seems well and good, a form of self-protection if you will, what happens when you start losing your spark?
When time goes on and you realise that all of this achievement and mechanisms of self-validation you created for yourself in the external world doesn’t actually, fully light you up?
That temporary achievement and gratification does - but it’s temporary. It comes and goes, ebbs and flows till you’re waiting for the next thing. Waiting for this to happen, to reach that goal… but are they goals you even truly want, or just what you’ve programmed yourself to do because you expect it of yourself, think that others expect it of you? Are you living so much for the future that you’re not really enjoying any of the journey towards it? Just waiting for things to be completed, be done, be over… so then you can be happy? Maybe even retire and do what your heart really desires?
Coming to this realisation hits you hard, believe me. You realise you’re not living, just existing. You feel like you’ve wasted all these years, doing things you don’t really enjoy just to get you somewhere that you don’t really want to be. Forcing yourself into subjects, into courses at uni, into jobs just because it seems ‘right.’ And you’ve probably convinced yourself that it’s ‘right’ too. Self-talked yourself so far down the hole that you’re completely convinced it’s your life passion.
But maybe, reading this, something will niggle at the back of your mind. Your intuition will try to speak up, some thoughts will enter your mind. Maybe that deep longing, that childhood dream, that subject you really loved in school will flow in - maybe pass by. Don’t expect the answer to come to you - it only will when you ask the right questions. When you start being completely open, completely, brutally honest with yourself.
And if you do realise something, don’t put yourself down, don’t shame yourself for it - or for not being aware of it for all this time. We grow up in a world based on instant gratification, security; where self-image and the cultural norms take more weight than who we are underneath it all. We grow up fearing failure, just wanting to please others, be liked, be accepted. We turn down the part of us that wants to live our truth for a more ‘correct’, socially acceptable, respectable, financially sustainable option - something that might still be hard to achieve but we think is possible. We can see the end goal, picture what our lives will look like.
And listening to ourselves, well, sometimes that will go completely in the opposite direction. The unorthodox, alternative route; the one in a million - things you dream of but never in a million years imagine achieving - because there’s no set route, no magic formula. We can’t click our fingers and get there instantly, it takes time, work, but most importantly; trust. Trust in yourself that you are enough as you are, without succumbing to the ‘ideal’ or the norm or what everyone else expects of you. Trust in the universe that everything will turn out okay, if you stay persistent. If you keep believing, keep hustling, keep doing the very things that light you up in life. The more you let that light shine through, the brighter it gets, and the more people and opportunities it will attract.
The only difference between that person living their dream and the other person that is that one of them kept going when the fear of failure came knocking. One person kept going when things got hard, when other people didn’t believe in them, even when part of themselves didn’t believe in them. They kept going through the knock-backs, the struggles, the hard times. Times when everyone was screaming ‘stop!’ They took on every lesson, they pushed through every test - because that’s what these things are; they’re tests of your self-esteem, your self-worth, your strength.
And in time, the world gave them what they were asking for. It started sending those opportunities at the right times, those people when they needed them most. All they had to do was trust, and tune in to those synchronicities and coincidences.
All they had to do was trust.
Doing what we want to do in life is hard because in this world, we are taught to not trust ourselves. To second guess our intuition.
It takes time, but it’s simple.
Start learning to trust you.