In Western societies, the stagnation of feeling in an existential crisis is very common. “I don’t know what to do with my life” is a thought that appears frequently in psychotherapy consultations and that goes hand in hand with an unease that is difficult to describe.
Not knowing how to orient one’s career gives rise to many other types of doubts, and this uncertainty accumulates until it becomes difficult to bear.
In this article we will see a series of tips on how to focus on a life project and develop it as a long-term project to provide us with stability, both in the private and personal spheres and in our professional lives.
I don’t know what to do with my professional life: how to solve it?
Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Add to that the fact that the working environment is changing and it is difficult to maintain a career path that remains the same, and it is often the case that people do not know very well what to do with their time. The same can be said of stability in private life, which is largely related to what we do to support ourselves economically.
Now, the fact that it is relatively normal to find people who do not know what to do with their lives does not mean that this problem has no solution, or that it should be normalized, as if feeling the weight of this unknown was the natural thing, the expected thing. Let us see, then, what are the different facets of this psychological phenomenon and what we can do to solve it. First we will see the keys needed to create a life project to which we can dedicate our work time, and finally we will give the keys to reorient our lives beyond professions and trades.
1. Analyze your material conditions
This first step is fundamental to begin to propose a life project that has the potential to bring us a minimum of stability over the years.
Being aware of our material and economic limitations helps us to lay a solid foundation for our professional projects, given that in practically every option we will come up with there is an objective expense, on the one hand, and an opportunity cost, on the other. The latter has to do with the opportunities that we miss out on by being focused on a certain objective.
Incidentally, this step must also take into account the time we have available. This is something we often overlook and which can lead us to spend a lot of resources on starting off on a path to which we cannot devote enough hours a week.
2. Write down individual ideas
Those who think to themselves “I don’t know what to do with my life” are partly faced with a creative problem. Finding the most valuable ideas requires thinking about it, getting to know new realities and, above all, committing oneself to experimenting with these first sketches of what our life could be like in the future.
So, at this stage we will give a creative response to the problem. To do this, the important thing is not to forget anything, so it is necessary to always carry a small notebook to write down the ideas when they arise.
3. Make a list of values
In this phase, you should make a small list of the values you give most importance to: write down about 5 or 6 concepts and order them according to their priority .
4. Discard possible professional projects
At this stage, you should discard approximately two-thirds of the elements on the list of ideas, taking into account the degree of illusion they produce for you and the degree to which you think they conflict with your values.
In addition, you should also base yourself on the realistic criterion of whether you have the means and the time to make you prosper in them.
When it comes to the concept of “thriving”, consider what your expectations are in each case. In this way you will have an approximate idea of your degree of affinity with each project; if you need to obtain exceptional results in one project to feel that it has been worthwhile, surely it does not excite you as much as another option in which that feeling comes with much more discreet results.
5. Analyze your capabilities
In this phase when you have few options left to choose from, consider your personal skills, those that are linked to your way of being and thinking.
With enough effort and work, you could surely manage to perform well in practically any task (unless you have significant health problems), as long as your objective is not to be among the elite of the sector at a very broad territorial level . But despite this, it is not realistic to assume that you will be training day and night in order to prosper.
So, make a chart of your strengths and weaknesses, and think about how those characteristics fit with the projects you have planned. You don’t have to decide on the one that fits you perfectly if there is another option that you like better, but it will help you decide and think about the effort that you will have to put into it.
6. Make up your mind and start as soon as possible
It is important that the time between making the final decision and starting to implement it is as short as possible. Beginnings are always complicated , but once you have started, it doesn’t cost that much anymore. Don’t sabotage yourself!
How to orient your personal life towards an exciting goal
In this final section we will see tips and ideas for those who do not know what to do with their personal life. Whether it is the case of a person without a job or someone who does not have economic or work problems but does not know what to do in their free time, there are a series of guidelines to follow. Let’s look at them.
1. Find a material support
To find an economic and material stability that reaches some minimums is essential to develop exciting life projects; otherwise, the uncertainty will wear out our confidence in the idea that everything is worthwhile, since in a matter of a few days everything can change (and it is probable that this change will be worse, if there is no economic cushion or external help). Therefore, one should try to find a balance between work invested in gaining autonomy and having free time.
2. Focus on a few objectives
Look for goals to achieve and focus on one or two , but not more. This way you can commit to them, give them the time they deserve.
When searching and selecting ideas, base yourself on the steps we saw in the previous section about finding ideas for developing a professional career, but this time don’t limit yourself to the work.
3. Make friends and bond
Progress in personal development tastes better if it is shared by others. Therefore, do not forget about others, do not break contact with them in order to dedicate effort to your projects, and make new contacts. The latter is also interesting to have access to new ideas, new environments with creative potential, etc.
4. Don’t be obsessed with being original
The pretense of wanting to do something unique will only enslave you . Worry about doing something that fills you up, not about creating something innovative, since nothing exists in isolation from what was created before.
- Ventegodt, S.; Merrick, J.; Jørgen Andersen, N. (2003). “Teoría de la calidad de vida III. Maslow Revisited”. TheScientificWorldJournal. Finlandia: Corpus Alienum Oy (3): 1050-1057.