Like my middle-aged vision, I find that my life lacks focus. It's nothing new. I've been this way my whole life. I flit from idea to idea, from project to project, from career to career in much the same way I once went from boyfriend to boyfriend. It's the way I operate.
The only problem with this approach to life is that it's hard to get anywhere in life. Great achievements are not made by people who are jacks-of-all-trades and masters-of-none. We may be interesting people with colorful backgrounds, but we
I've always wanted to achieve something...to know important stuff, to be somebody. I guess we all wish for these things. But unfortunately, wanting to "get somewhere" in life, to "be somebody" sort of clashes with the jack-of-all-trades mentality and, eventually, it leads to unhappiness.
I've probably spent the bulk of my adult life trying to find myself; putting great effort into determining what I want to be when I grow up. I've changed careers several times and pursued a variety of hobbies. And yet, I haven't quite found "it." That one thing that I am meant to do or to be. It leaves me feeling very uneasy. But why is that?
I live in the United States...land of achievement. Our entire culture seems to be focused on what you do for a living and how successful you are at it (in monetary terms primarily). Is it any wonder that I always feel that I "should" be doing something more...working harder, making money, achieving and accomplishing? I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. many people feel compelled to pursue goals that are out of character because of the societal pressure to be someone of importance. In light of this, is it surprising that we have so many people taking anti-depressants every day? Pursuing goals that clash with your own values is always a recipe for failure and unhappiness.
The answer to this dilemma? It begins with knowing who you are and what you want before you set those big life goals. Once you are clear on your own values and your own strengths, you can then decide what you want to do and where you want to go in life. If you want social status and admiration, then set and work towards the goals that society dictates. If you want happiness, know yourself and set the goals that are right for you.
For me, this means trying to accept that I will likely never achieve great fame or fortune...that no one will likely be impressed with my answers to the "what do you do for a living question"... that perhaps there is no "it"... that maybe my focus will not be on one large goal but on many small ones. And, it means trying to ignore those pangs of guilt or worries that I'm not living yp to my potential or to society's expectations (easier said than done, I will admit).
The truth is that if I had to state one single life goal it would be to spend my life pursuing all of the many things that interest me and to enjoy the process. It sounds rather murky and ill-defined I know, and it's more likely to result in raised eyebrows than in oooohs and aaaahs at a cocktail party, but it suits me and, in the end, isn't that what matters?
So what goals do you have for yourself? Do they suit you or are you bowing down to the pressures of society or family? If you need help figuring out what you really value, or where your true passions lie please see my recent guest post "How to Choose the Right Goals for You" at www.pickthebrain.com.