I would wager that the question of what a person should do with their life causes more stress and mental anguish than about any other question for our generation. This struggle can be seen empirically in the fact that 80% of incoming freshmen to college haven’t decided on a major and on average it now takes students five years to complete their bachelors and in the process they change their major three times.(source) Additionally, according to the BLS, we will change our jobs between 11 and 15 times between the ages of 18 and 44.(source)
Easy answer, do nothing!
The pressure of finding the right major, the perfect career, the ideal job… It’s a lot of stress! And I think this stress ironically leads to a tremendous amount of procrastination and time-wasting. After all if we don’t make a decision then we can’t be wrong! Right?
Shift your focus
I’m going to get a little out there for a second, so bare with me. You don’t have to believe any of the stuff I write about in the next few paragraphs, but the underlying message still applies.
I’ve been struggling myself on what I should be doing. Do I want to dedicate all of my time with the Healthy Gamer? Should I get a real job instead and do this as a hobby? Or maybe I’d rather go Active Duty and pursue SF?
This Coast to Coast AM show gave me incredible perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKN5agBV39U
Journalist and filmmaker Rich Martini discussed his incredible journey finding evidence for the afterlife, life between lives, and “soul groups.” He extensively interviewed Dr. Michael Newton, known for his pioneering work on life between lives. Newton put some 7,000 people under deep hypnosis over a 30-year period, and found a number of commonalities amongst his clients regarding reincarnation and the afterlife.
So I started reading Dr. Michael Newton’s book “Journey of Souls” http://www.thehealthygamer.com/journeyofsouls
In this book Dr. Newton describes case after case of the journey a soul takes after dying. Going through the layers of the astral plane, being greeted by spirit guides and loved ones, recounting the lessons learned from this life. It’s fascinating.
The takeaway is that each person is here with a specific set of lessons to learn. We didn’t come here with the intention of becoming CEOs, rockstars, or millionaires. We came here with a set of lessons that we wanted to learn in order to facilitate our soul’s growth. The things we do are simply actions that facilitated this learning. Because when you’re dead the only thing you can bring with you are the experiences and lessons, not the mansions or yachts.
Lessons, not accomplishments
During my meditations I asked the question “should I join Special Forces?” The answer that came back was “it doesn’t matter, you’ll learn and grow regardless.”
If we focus on the lessons we’re supposed to learn from life then it takes a lot of pressure from the decision of “what to do.” Because now it really doesn’t matter. You can’t make a “bad choice” as long as you’re consistently striving to learn and grow!
Some examples of my own lessons I need to learn this time around: balance, discipline, responsibility, independence. I could learn and improve on these in any number of life paths.
Finding your Life Lessons
It’s actually quite simple to figure out the lessons you’re supposed to learn in this life. Find a quiet place with a pad and pen and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. When your mind has settled and you’re feeling clear start reviewing your life. What are the recurring themes and patterns? I’ve struggled all my life with self-discipline. If there’s no one telling me I have to get up and do something, then, generally I’m going to sleep until noon(or later!). This tells me that one of my lessons I’m supposed to learn is discipline, and this likely explains why I’ve been pushed into this entrepreneurship role where I have no one to account to but myself and thus get the chance to develop self-discipline. So if you examine your life you’ll likely find that it consistently pushes you in certain directions and throws the same types of events at you. Examine these to figure out your life’s lessons.
Take some time, write out ideas, and then see how you feel intuitively about your list. I’ve found that the intuition is much better suited for answering questions about life lessons as opposed to experiences. Your inner self doesn’t care and doesn’t have a point of reference for doctors, lawyers, CEOs. So when you ask yourself if you should be a lawyer or a doctor, you generally get nothing. But, if you ask yourself whether you’re here to learn how to help people and learn to be more compassionate, you’re going to get a very strong and clear answer, because you’re speaking the language of the soul.
Action leads to satisfaction
I think anyone whose been through college will agree that you never truly learn something until you get to practice it. This must be one of life’s laws. Figure out your life’s lessons and then start taking action. Anxiety, stress, and discontent can only exist where there is no positive progress.