There are many times in life when we just don’t know what to do, whether that’s from having seemingly endless options or none at all. Sometimes taking the next step can be paralyzing. Here’s what to do when you don’t know what to do.
What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do
Here is a great quote about this issue from Rainer Maria Rilke:
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. “
You might think his answer is frustratingly philosophical, but he actually has a good point.
Knowing what questions to ask in the first place is a very good place to start, and from there, sometimes all you have to do is live your life.
You can’t think your way into the answers; you have to take action.
Of course, it would be pretty neat if we could just sit down and think for a few hours about how we want every single detail of our lives to play out, but it doesn’t really work like that. 😃 Instead, we start with an inkling of an idea or a vague interest in something, we try it, we pivot, we shift gears, we try something else, and we keep trying until we discover the things that work for our life.
It helps to know what questions you’re trying to answer. If you don’t know what to do with your life, then maybe the question is simply, “What should I do with my life?” or “What career or passion should I pursue?”
If you’re making a decision about a different matter, you might have to actually get out there and experiment and try things before you figure it out.
If you can’t figure out how you feel about something, pay attention to signs from your body. Do you feel dread or anxiety or like your throat is closing up when imagining your future down a certain path? Or do you feel light and fluttery and excited?
What’s the smallest action you can take today to better figure out what to do?
Doing a little internet research is an easy place to start. If you’re deciding on a career path, see what other people have said about your potential jobs and what “insiders” say about it.
Make a list of a few different paths that you could take or different decisions you could make in this particular area. Can you try out any of these options in person with a low level of commitment? Before deciding to dedicate your life to becoming the prima ballerina of the Boston Ballet, try signing up for a dance class and see how you like it. 😃
The point is, you usually have to take action to figure things out in your life. Even if you hypothetically were told at 18 what you are meant to do with the rest of your life, without having the first hand experiences, you wouldn’t really know what to do with that information.
If you’d like more help figuring out what to do with your life, check out our Figure Out Your Life class.