Mark Twain once said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why." Now if you are anything like me, you floundered around for a bit bouncing between passions and dreams of wealth trying to figure out what on Earth you were going to do for the rest of your life. All of this is to say finding your "why" is often easier said than done, but here are some questions you can ask yourself to help make this process a little easier.
What Do I Want to Get Out of Life?
This one is pretty important because this question helps to define the direction you want to go as well as your end destination. This question is not about your career necessarily unless something you want out of life is like the prestige of being a doctor or whatever it is that your heart desires. The point here is to know what all you want out of life and what those things require in order to achieve. Keeping those requirements in mind, we move on to the next question.
Do I View Jobs as a Means to an End or a Defining Characteristic of Who I Am?
Not a very usual question, but this one matters, too. If you see a job as a means to an end, then you aren't going to be as caught up in needing to feel meaningful at work. This is the difference between saying, "I work at a museum," and saying "I am a tour guide." My dad has a friend who went to medical school and was certified in his specialty, but he wanted to be able to spend his days snowboarding so he actually works at McDonald's. His job was a means to achieve what he wanted out of life. But if you're like me, your job defines you. This makes it harder to be satisfied in run-of-the-mill jobs and will keep you striving to find a job that also plays into what you want out of life.
What Do I Like to Do, and What am I Actually Good At?
Having a passion for something and having a talent for something isn't necessarily the same thing. This question helps to pin-down what it is that you wouldn't mind spending the rest of your life doing. Either figure out how to make money doing what you are passionate about or find a job doing something you're really good at. If you like painting, but something you want out of life is stability, you might rather get a job at an art gallery so that way you can still incorporate your passion and achieve stability.
Why Are We Here?
This is the most haunting question of them all, but let me tell that this one isn't as important unless philosophy is a passion of yours. If you have no real desire to make something out of this question, then simply understand that the "why" doesn't really matter since we are here, and that isn't going to be changing anytime soon. So go forth and chase your happiness, but keep in mind that we're all after the same thing. If an opportunity arises where you can help someone out, do it. Make life easier for others every chance you get. Because if we're completely honest, there isn't much purpose behind humanity's existence here other than to better the situation of those around us and make this world a little better.
Have you found your purpose? Does anyone have a coming of age story to share?