The 5 Minute Guide: How to Figure Out What To Do With Your Life, Fast
We all need to think about our direction in life from time to time.
But your days are filled to the brim!
For you social butterflies and people who can’t stop moving, we’ve condensed the key takeaways from our in-depth guide to bring you clarity on your coffee break. Have a read then let the ideas brew. Who knows what plans you might come up with throughout your busy day?
1. What Motivates You?
According to psychologist Steven Reiss, there are 16 basic desires behind people’s behaviour. Choose your top 3 basic desires from this list:
- Power – the desire to influence others
- Independence – the desire for self-reliance
- Curiosity – the desire for knowledge
- Acceptance – the desire for inclusion
- Order – the desire for organisation
- Saving – the desire to collect things
- Honour – the desire to be loyal to your heritage
- Idealism – the desire for social justice
- Social Contact – the desire for companionship
- Family – the desire to raise one’s own children
- Status – the desire for social standing
- Vengeance – the desire to get even
- Romance – the desire for love and beauty
- Eating – the desire to consume high-quality food
- Physical Activity – the desire for exercise and movement
- Tranquillity – the desire for emotional calm
2. What Does Your Dream Day Look Like?
Imagine a typical day from your dream life. Picture it like a film inside your head.
Be as specific as you can. The more detail the better. What will you do with your mornings? What will you do for wellbeing? Will you have a family? Will you travel often? How will you grow as a person? What kinds of social events will you go to?
In what ways is this different to where you’re at now?
3. What Are Your Strengths?
Everyone has personal strengths. But because you spend so much time being you, it can be hard to see how you’re different. So ask a close friend or family member. Think about what you value in others – this is often a reflection of what you value in yourself. Are you using your strengths every day? How could you better match your strengths to the activities in your life? If you love people, but you work at a computer all day in a quiet office, what changes could you make?
4. What Makes You Lose Track Of Time?
What do all the things you enjoy, and that feel meaningful, have in common? Often its the mental process behind the activity that matters, rather than the specific activity. For example, maybe you lose track of time while daydreaming of decorating imaginary houses. The process behind this is one of visual curation, bringing together separate elements to form a whole. This is the inner component of your purpose. It is focused on you. It does not rely on outcomes.
It is a way of being, of doing. For example, you may want ‘to serve’, ‘to create’, or ‘to solve problems’.
5. What Do You Want To Change In The World?
This one’s focused on the world around you. What do you wish was different? In what area do you want to leave the world a better place than you found it?
Dream big! If you pick a scarily big area to work on, you’ll be more motivated to keep going, even if your part is relatively small.
If you get stuck with this one, try thinking negatively. What makes you really sad, angry or horrified about the way the world is? Do you shrivel up inside when you hear about pollution and damage to the environment? Maybe you want to improve sustainable agricultural practices. Do you always want to help when you see troubled teenagers, because you remember what it felt like? Maybe you’d be great working with youth.
6. How Much Can You Brainstorm?
How many problems, challenges and opportunities are related to the areas you’re interested in? Set a timer for 1 minute, and write as many as you can down – no filter. You can write as many rubbish ideas down as you like – as long as you keep writing until the timer’s up. Then circle 2-5 of the best ones
7. What Are Some Possible Next Steps?
Perhaps your next step is to find some people who you might want to interview, then ask them some probing questions about working in their field. Or perhaps you’d like to go out and try an internship.