You feel lost, I know why
"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand our selves" Henry David Thoreau
Days go by and you feel like you’re just plodding on. What am I heading towards? What should I do? Everything can feel like it’s temporary, no option makes sense and nothing seems to fill the void.
Feelings of being lost and not knowing what you want to do is not uncommon. Especially when we’re moving up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, from simple survival needs to self-actualization, the destination gets muddier, but attaining it becomes more fulfilling. Myriad of books, blogs, podcasts, articles aim at helping you attain your goals, but what if you don’t know what those should be? My own struggle is finding that north star and being ok with it. The deluge of media messages that say you can do anything, the internet providing all the information you need to make it happen, the ease in which you can set up an online store or even become a media channel makes it harder to commit to a decision.
Not only that, you have to be happy doing it. There is huge mainstream pressure to find happiness and your purpose. It’s set up as a magical place where all you need to do is find it and all shall be unlocked through hard work and dedication. With all this pressure to pick the “right” thing, how can we even decide at all? I want to assure you that we absolutely can find a solution. The problem with solely pursuing happiness is that this feeling is only one part of life. These are peaks and with peaks, there are valleys. No one lives on a peak 24/7. Humans are not made to be happy 24/7 – I mean, anyone you meet who is happy 24/7 probably feels very artificial and someone you probably want to punch in the face! Life is never as sweet without the bitter. And all emotions are part of the life experience. Without pain and suffering how do we grow? Without challenges, how can we relish the achievement? Like the fluctuations of the stock market, you rise and you fall, but ultimately you do want it to trend upward in the end. This means increased fulfillment in your life, and at any point, you’re a better person and a better human being than a point in the past. The better question is, what should I be solving for? What is my first step to determining a direction that is right for me? In addition to goals, what is the journey I want to be on? And when we've discovered our needs, and shaped what routines will inevitably get us there, how do we create passion and purpose? That's right, create it, not discover it, it's not the beginning of our journey, it is the journey and it is our manifestation, that's why it's powerful and we own it. It doesn't own us.
Humans are never good at predicting how unhappy or happy we are and hence it’s usually not the destination that keeps us fulfilled, it’s the pursuit, it’s the journey, it’s all the problems we solve along the way. It's meeting all our needs across a span of time, not in a snapshot. How many times have you heard or you’ve experienced it yourself where you really wanted to achieve a goal, and you were sure that achievement will fill you with tremendous joy. Only to find out when you reached your the goal, you find yourself saying – is this it? What now?
The difference between your story of how you want to live and how you are living today is what makes you lost.