How to get closer to finding what you want to do with your life
I had a conversation with my brother today as we chatted about what we should be doing with our lives. We have this conversation often, but today as I drove home reflecting on what we had discussed I realised something central about how I have figured out where I’m going next.
In our conversation my brother was trying to convince me that I should be focussing on ideas and solutions that involve robotics and the associated technology since he feels this will be the next big focus in our lifetime.
I could understand where he was coming from but this idea didn’t spark my interest at all. I don’t have the same curiosity and passion for technology and inventions as he does. My interests lie in the human condition and our evolution both individually and as a species. I told him that I’m more interested in discovering solutions to bringing all humans to a similar level of intelligence and enlightened consciousness. He thought I was thinking about the key to the future from the completely wrong angle.
On the drive home I realised that my brother’s interests and passions are very much inspired by the people in history (and in the now) that fascinate and impress him the most. Ever since he was little he’s been fascinated by famous inventors and scientists and even went to a school fancy dress event dressed as Doc Brown from Back To The Future. It’s the life stories of these people he admires – how they came to be who they are, how they live their lives, how they think and how they were often able to discover amazing inventions without the sort of education or training we would think necessary today – that has spurred him on to think about life and what he wants to achieve.
I don’t have a personal history of admiring certain types of people and their stories since I was very young, but in more recent years my interest in the life stories and contributions of certain individuals or types of individuals has been consuming. I can’t seem to get enough of discovering how those I admire came to be who they are and came to have their influence on the world.
When I look at these individuals they tend to fall into at least one of the following categories: feminist, atheist, social commentator, personal/spiritual development advisor/inspirer, historical novelist, entrepreneur. What they have in common above all is that they are all writers with large followings. Their ideas and thoughts inspire and inform others and they are greatly valued for the contribution of their ideas.
As I drove home today wondering whether I really should be turning my focus more towards science and its applications I quickly realised that no, that wasn’t for me. What I want is to be like those I most admire. I want to be a prolific writer, whose ideas and contributions help inspire and inform the choices of my readers throughout their lives. In this way I think I will be able to contribute to the development of humanity, even if only through a small handful of people.
You can achieve this same understanding by thinking carefully about those people who most inspire you and spark your intense curiosity. Whose lives interest you most? Who do you most find yourself wanting to be like and why? Whose status updates or tweets can you not get enough of? Whose blog posts do you wait for eagerly? Whose biography can you not wait to read? Who have you read about most recently on Wikipedia?
Investigate this and you will be one huge step closer to figuring out what you want to do with your life and what sort of person you want to be. If you study those that inspire you closely, you’ll also figure out a few different strategies about how you can achieve your dreams.
I’d love to hear what you think about this strategy and whether it will hold much merit for you in your search.