Steve Jobs immortal quote (source of image)
Have you ever had a personal epiphany?
The kind where you suddenly realised that the “dream life” which you’re living may actually be a nightmare?
That what you’ve slogged countless hours, days and months of your life for may just be a big fat lie?
I sure did.
It happened when I realised that there were lots of stuff on my bucket list which I haven’t gotten down to doing.
To address this revelation, I made several big changes. I quit from a well-paying stable job in a marvelous organisation to chase my entrepreneurial dreams. 🙂
Back to you. How do you know if what you’re doing now is what you truly desire in the long-term?
Let us consult the experts.
How To Hack Your Life
Lifehacker proposes four ways to figure out what you really ought to do with your life:
1) Think About Where You’ll Be in Five Years
This is so basic yet so profound. Visualise yourself 5 years from today.
What do you see yourself being or doing? Where do you hope to be?
Lifehacker suggests that “picking a lifestyle to pursue instead of a job title” can help you to focus on what you’re truly interested in. Doing so also helps you to clarify on your life’s vision, mission and goals.
I believe that this is certainly a good place to start. While your eventual destination may not be quite what you were originally set up to achieve, this exercise is still useful in helping you to eliminate what you don’t wish to be.
2) Write Your Personal Manifesto
Pen down what exactly you want to do. Be as specific as possible, using strong affirmative language.
This could include stuff like the hours per week that you wish to work, the hobbies that you hope to pursue, or what you’d like to be known as.
I have personally done this myself. Looking at my list, I must say that while I have achieved some of the things which I’ve laid out on paper, there are still many areas which I’ve yet to achieve.
But I will get there for sure. And it will happen sooner rather than later. 🙂
3) Volunteer or Shadow Someone in a Job You’re Keen in
Trying out for a gig which you’ve always be keen on is a good idea.
Beyond going back to school or volunteering yourself as an intern, you can also help friends who are already living that ideal lifestyle. Make yourself an apprentice so that you can learn from their craft.
While the financial pickings may not be rich, the experience gained will be invaluable. Nothing beats hands-on real-life experience in helping you decide if that’s what you truly want.
4) Dig Those Side Projects
By now, you’ve heard a thousand stories of entrepreneurs who fashioned their hobbies into livelihoods. In most success stories, the would-be entrepreneurs have achieved some measure of success in their alternative paths before throwing themselves full swing into it.
Quoting writer Scott Young from the Lifehacker post:
“Instead of making definite decisions about a career path, I believe you should get curious. Get curious about the way the world works. Notice your own interests and find small ways you can exercise passion in something. Even if you can’t find a way to make money off of it yet.”
I can speak about this with conviction, because it happened to me. Regular readers of my blog would know that I have always been interested in content marketing, social media, and other aspects of digital marketing and leadership.
Thanks to my habit of blogging about the business over the past eight-and-a-half years, and the wonderful networks of friends whom I’ve met over the years, I am now able to make my hobby a profession.
If I may, let me add a final step that you should take to achieve greater clarity in your life goals.
It may be a bit morbid, but here goes….
5) The Tombstone Epitaph Test
Imagine you’re at your deathbed. What would you like others to say about you?
How would you like your family members, friends and loved ones to remember you?
Writing one’s eulogy can be an extremely sobering way of determining what you truly want in life. It is the ultimate test of determining if the direction you’re headed towards is going to define what you truly want to be at the end of your life.
Life is short. And unlike cats, you only have one shot at it. Make it count.
Steve Jobs’ Advice On Life
Last, but certainly not least, I thought it may be useful to revisit deceased Apple founder Steve Jobs’ views on life.
Quoting his famous Stanford University commencement address in 2005…
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Truly living the life of your dreams isn’t easy. It takes lots of serious thought, coupled with conviction, courage and commitment. However, listening to your inner voice and emerging from your cocoon can be the most rewarding thing in the world to do.
Peanuts image from The Curious Brain