How many times have you heard the following?
- I am having a quarter-life crisis
- I am graduating and have no clue what to do with my life
- Should I go to college?
- What should I study in college?
- I need to find myself
What is this “Finding Yourself” idealism so many keeps talking about? How does it manifest itself in the millennial generation? Is there a way of finding yourself? Is there a way to capitalize on the market of finding yourself? If so, why has no one capitalized on it? Or how many people have capitalized on it?
These questions are not anything new, they have been questioned by most age groups at this point particularly against 20-somethings. Countless articles from the Huffington Post, WikiHow, LifeHack and countless other websites have written on this subject. Many will tell you the idea of finding yourself is bogus, and others will give you the keys to “succeeding” in finding what you are truly meant to do. Not to mention, an endless supply of self-help books by motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and psychologists like Dr. M. Scott Peck designed to inspire people to follow their heart. But what does this mean in the long run of life? Are following these ideals to naiveté or do they hold water?
It is my belief that life is not about finding yourself; it is in fact it is the journey of already being yourself. You know who are, and always have. If you are feeling at a loss, it is because you, like most people on this planet, have chosen blindness over the true nature of humanity. We live lives of 9-5s (aka. 45+hour work weeks) and then question why we are unhappy. This is not to say all people do not like this lifestyle; but it is not for everyone. Gary Vaynerchuk, posted an amazing video in May, 2016 regarding college graduates of 2016. In it he discussed how terrified he was for the youth going into the workforce today. He states with great fervency just how important as someone who has no baggage, many 20-somethings can afford to align themselves with the goals they want to accomplish before tying themselves down to a 40+house a week office job for the rest of their lives. They have time to be who they want to be, by busting their tail off at a start-up/band/anything else they want to be successful in.
For someone like me, this fills my heart with both glee and sorrow. I have been awarded an opportunity to be who I am and I have taken it for granted for most of my existence. What finally hit me over the head what the notion of “finding myself”. As a researcher, it is a strong habit of mine that once I find an interest and learn all I can about it. Upon reading countless articles for and against the notion of finding yourself, I’ve discovered the key of living is not about finding yourself; as there is more than one step towards being a success for yourself. What is best is to find themes in your life to work on and focus on those throughout your time here on earth. Here are some steps that have been helping me along my journey.
Re-discovering your Theme(s)
The first step toward following your themes in life is in fact remembering rather than finding what you are passionate for. Look back to your childhood and think to what made you happy; i.e. dancing, playing a sport, music, art, science class, etc. This was and still may be your passion, what drives you to be successful in the way YOU want to be successful. This process can take anywhere from a day to a year or more to rediscover your themes. This can be done through visualizing your past self through memories or meditation focusing on your past. If you have a good relationship with old friends and family members you can also ask them what you were like back then to get some insight as well. Disclaimer on this, they will subject their own options of you within these conversations, so take the information with a grain of salt.
Embrace “the haters”! We tend to think of people who bring us down as the enemy; but those people are simply the reflection of what and where you do not wish to be. They are fearful of you being successful and hence destroying their mentality of the world we currently inhabit. Their ideals may also bring forth your own doubts and concerns; and this is perfectly valid to feel discouraged. Success lies in pushing towards what you want regardless of fear of what others may say. Psychologist, counselor, and infinite being; Ralph Smart has an excellent video discussing how to stop caring about what other people think.
Thirdly, you must “hustle”. People like Gary Vaynerchuk, Jon Acoff, Seth Godin, and others will tell you just how important “the hustle” really is into success in business and life; and they have a point. In order to follow who you are and the themes you want in your life, it is crucial to push through regardless of what others will say. If you want to start your own business, begin a different career, take a break to travel, etc.; these options area all available to you. What is need to accomplish them is what is the tricky part. This could take a month; it could take 10 years to create a company or career path that is what you want; you have to be willing to put forth the hours and extra in order to be successful in what your theme is (or themes are). Trying is the first step towards a successful life; it is important to remember that failing comes when you never try.
Fourth and perhaps the most crucial; you must love yourself in order for your themes to be a success in your eyes. There is no real need to “find” yourself because who you are is locked within you. Unlike popular belief, you are not required to do what your parents, extended family, friends or society tells you to do. If you have an idea of what you would like to do and are not at least looking into it; you have already failed. There is no point in finding yourself if you are not willing to take action through self-love to follow your life purpose.