HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (Something more concrete than follow your heart).



ACCURATE CAREER ADVICE 

The question, ‘what are you going to do with the rest of your life’ is probably one of the most brain wracking questions you will ever face.

It is also one of the most important questions you will have to answer for yourself.

I think it is funny that we often think about the rest of our life in terms of career and work understandably because we give the best part of our days for the best years of our lives to work.

As it should be if what we are doing is valuable to us and more importantly, to others.

I believe that each and every one of us is created for a specific purpose.

I also believe that each one of us has the capability and will be given opportunities to discover what we are made for.

I do not think that we are supposed to make rigid life plans or even commit to one path for the rest of our lives.

However, I do believe in short term and loose long term plans.

You should figure out what you are going to do with your life in the foreseeable future.

Only remain open to some wonderful interruptions and opportunities that you cannot even imagine right now.

While George Weah was playing soccer in Europe, he never would have imagined that he would one day become one of the youngest people to ever become a president in Africa. 

A lot of people make the mistake of trying to figure it out by thinking really hard. I was that person too.

Then I discovered Benjamin Todd of 80000hours.org in a little TED Talk that was tucked away in some obscure part of YouTube.

He was teaching something new. Something more than the cliche, vague  platitudes like ‘follow your passion’ or ‘do what you love.’

He had research, he had well-thought-out ideas and he had real life experience.

DO SOMETHING VALUABLE


Benjamin Todd  expressed the same ideas and ideals that I held which for a longtime I thought had no relevance in choosing a job.

His mantra is simple ‘do something valuable.’

This idea that we should pick a career based on interests and passions is incomplete and impractical.

Interest will always change, passions will simmer down as we grow and change.

Follow your heart is a good piece of advice for choosing a hobby or a love interest but not a career path.

This was revolutionary for me. I could not wrap my head it for a while.

DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR HEART/PASSION/INTEREST


Our Focus should be on others and what we can contribute to the world, not on ourselves.

Creative altruism as Dr. Martin Luther King called it. This is a way of choosing a life path that takes the focus away from ourselves and onto the needs of other people.

There is a place for our own interest and what we are good at but it is not the focal point.

At the center of your decision should be two important questions:

can I become really good at this? What social problem can I solve with this? 

MASTERY AND PURPOSE


In one sentence, the point is getting really  good at something that genuinely helps other people.

Mastery means that you become among the best in the field you pick.

You will become much much happier with the confidence and satisfaction that comes from being good at something.

This is where your passions and interests matter. You want something that you will be excited to learn about.

Something that you can actually be good at if you keep on learning. The second consideration is meaning. The value you are bringing to people's lives.

THREE PRACTICAL STEPS TO DETERMINING A CAREER PATH 

(as I learned from 8000hrs.org)

1. Explore as much as you can.


Learn as much as you can. Try out as many different fields as are available to you. Try different thing simultaneously by sidehustling to save time.


Talk to as many different people in as many different industries as you possibly can.

The answers are not in your head. They will not come by thinking harder, meditating in your room or psychoanalyzing yourself.

They will come by getting out there, doing things and asking questions and then sitting down in quietness and thinking about it.

That is why you need to do as many internships in as many different fields as possible.

It is better to dedicate the one year or two to moving in different departments or even entirely different industries in pursuit of the best (not perfect) fit.

It may look like a waste of time but it beats dedicating yourself to something you do not care about or that makes you miserable for ten years then deciding to switch when you have a mortgage and a baby on the way. The time is now.

I was working in the legal department of an international charity while at the same time starting a freelance writing career and trying to write a book.

I ended up realizing  as much as I loved law, writing gave me the flexibility of location and time that I really could not pass up.

Just two years ago, I never would have imagined myself as anything other than a lawyer until I tried out writing.

2. Get really good at something needed.


Being good at something feels amazing and often pays better.

Nobody likes to be mediocre and most mediocre people do not go far in life no matter what field they land on.

To be respected by your peers to actually do work that you yourself are proud of actually increase your level of fulfillment at work.

You need the to skills, the knowledge, the mindset, the commitment and the grit to actually see success.

There is so much information on the internet and you need to take advantage of that.

A lot of people in today's society have a very low threshold for pain, they like instant gratification and they are not willing to see a lot of things through.

That is what will distinguish you apart from everybody else.

That will give you options. That will make you successful. But you are not yet done picking what you will do with your life.

There is one more thing have to put into consideration.

3. Find the biggest, most pressing and neglected social problem and apply yourself to it.


I chose global poverty. You get to pick something too. Either in your community or in the globe.

You are still very young, do not get caught up in the rat race. Find something you care about and do whatever it takes to work on it.

In July of this year, a friend of mine introduced me to an organization that was doing ground breaking work in Africa. I was approached by the organization.

The director was very blunt in laying out the numbers for me. They were dismal.

However, I knew that the work was not that time intensive and I could balance it with my blog and freelance jobs.

So beginning next year, I will be on staff and unpaid for a job I absolutely love but still earning an income elsewhere.

I had to make the sacrifice of taking every freelance job I could get this year and living a frugal life to save money to live on.

I keep saying this, do whatever it takes to own your soul and have options.

However, I am not saying my way is the only way. You can work a typical job and still contribute.

I have a friend in tech works in a financial Investment Company. On a nine to five basis he goes into work and helps rich guys become richer.

This friend of mine has also dedicated his life to teaching children from underprivileged backgrounds how to code.

My friend enjoy the paycheck and lifestyle that is provided by working for an big investment company. My friend also likes showing poor kids that there is a way out.

So my friend sacrifices his weekends and evenings and doesn't teach these children how to create apps but also mentors and cares for their material needs.

A bus driver contributes to the world by making it a little easier. A teacher contributes to the world by teaching. A musician contributes by making us feel alive.

They are numerous definitions of contributing.

There are no limitations to how many things you can contribute to at the same time. Like being a bus driver who also volunteers at a shelter.

What matters is that you to make your life count. Let your life matter.

But do not think that you have to be a doctor or to work for a charity to do that. There are a million other ways.

Listen since you have just gotten out of college, I understand that the most pressing need you have right now is making some money.

If that is you, take whatever job you can get and find a way out for yourself. Do not get comfortable.

Do not get complacent. You need to build something that you are actually proud of.

This is the time to sort out your finances and to get some career mileage you can use to get yourself out.

Do not get stuck in a job you do not care about.

Start in that job, learn all you can about hard work and perseverance there and make as much money or as much career mileage as you need to get the hell out of that place as soon as you can.

Did you find this post useful? Comment below. Also share it. More people need to be freed from making crappy career choices. 

Comments

  1. It's true. I find I feel in turn better or more fulfilled knowing I add value in someone's life or help someone in some way even if it's small. This is a great reminder that there's many ways to do that too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really like this perspective, its true that many of us chose a path based on ourselves.
    This type if mindset is what the world needs right now. We need people helping people.

    ReplyDelete

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