How Can I Figure Out What I Really Want to Do With My Life? You know how anyone can be anything they want, right? Bill’s real childhood had what mattered most: the opportunity to stumble upon what he was born to do, and to go completely bananas doing it. The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. Few are so lucky, but there’s still hope for the rest of us. Kids are geniuses We rarely prize people for acting like a child. Stupid things, like eating soil or rollerskating on ice.
Kids don’t know what they don’t know. They live in fantasy worlds because present reality is limiting. Such behaviour is spectacularly good at figuring out the world and your part in it. Acting like a kid is a brilliant way to explore your boundaries and deduce your strengths. Ideally, your childhood is when you stumble upon your passions, leaving your adult years to focus on them. The good news is, modern life gives you more chances than ever to fix that. Grown-up children Childlike behaviour is generally frowned upon as an adult.
The great advantage of being an adult is you can direct yourself. Children don’t have the freedom or the awareness to steer their own development. The first time baby John Lennon picked up a guitar, I doubt he seriously ran a cost benefit analysis. If you’re trying something out, don’t be in too much of a hurry to take it seriously. The effort will come if the passion is there. If you really don’t know what you want to do, you’re going to have to try things you haven’t done yet. Kids find this a lot easier because they don’t worry about consequences. I encourage you to do the same. If it helps, make it a proud part of your identity: you’re making a point out of fearlessly trying as many things as possible, you sexy roguish daredevil you.
You know how everyone knew the world was flat until it wasn’t? You know how kids always dream of becoming astronauts, pop stars and giant transforming robots? Barriers don’t apply when you’re five years old. And whilst that seems like a stupid habit that you’d be wise to grow out of, if you’re not sure what you want to do, don’t be in such a hurry to shut your dreams down. Chances are, even if you don’t know what you want, that your childhood at least left you some hints. Are there things you think of fondly, but never find the time for? And more freedom than most of your grandparents could ever conceive of. This question originally appeared on Quora: How can I figure out what I really want to do with my life? I want to spend my life helping people, how can I do so while also making a good living?
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