One of the most difficult tasks on the journey to self-fulfillment is finding purpose when you feel like you have no direction in life. Lacking direction in your life can be scary— especially as we’ve been conditioned to believe that we need to be at a certain point in our career and love life by every milestone birthday. How often do we think, “by the time I’m 25, I need to have my career started.” Or, “by the time I’m 30, I need to have a house and a family.”
The truth is, finding purpose when you feel like you have no direction in life is actually easier than it might seem. Many of us revert to negative thinking— often times depression— when we feel as though we’re not as far as we’d like to be in our lives. This is just one of many ways we deal with stress… But what if we were to meet these thoughts with a different perspective than we’ve been conditioned to believe?
What if, we started to see a lack of direction and a search for purpose as an adventure? If you could take a vacation tomorrow, would you really want to go to the restaurant you went to last week? Would you want to stay in the same room in the same hotel in the same city you stayed in last year?
If your answer was yes, then you’re confident in your tastes and there’s nothing wrong being a creature of habit. But, if you’re answer was no, then the map expands into endless possibilities. The idea of needing to be somewhere by a set point in our lives is a lot like flying from coast to coast. Sure, it’s comforting to know that you’ll get where you’re going much faster than if you drove, but you’ll never know what the setting sky looks like in Wyoming. You’ll never know the beauty of the stars at night over the Rocky Mountains.
When we see our lives as linear, we begin to ignore all of the mini adventures that naturally occur when we keep an open mind. If you’re struggling to find purpose when you feel like you have no direction, going back to basics is a better foundation than reverting to negative thinking. What do you like to do? If this question is too daunting, then go even more basic. What did you eat today? Did you try something new? Did you eat the same bowl of oatmeal you eat everyday?
Quite often, we’ve been living in a cycle of monotony that puts us on autopilot. Routine can be a valuable tool, but not if you’re unhappy with the results so far. Change is difficult, but it’s a lot more practical to achieve than many will lead you to believe. Changing a single habit and building a single new one can be a powerful catalyst on your quest for purpose and direction.
It’s nearly impossible to change our outside circumstances if we’re not emotionally or mentally strong. In simpler terms, if your house is falling down, you probably shouldn’t prioritize painting the deck to fix the foundation. Your life develops direction when you narrow down a purpose— but choosing a purpose doesn’t give you a sense of purpose. Often times, trial and error allows us to discover the thing that makes us tick.
If you’re struggling to find purpose when you feel like you have no direction, you’re in a better place than most people. Your life is a clean slate that you can fill with whatever makes you happy— hopefully you begin to see that the first step to happiness is through working on yourself. Fixing the outside will never heal your inside, but healing yourself will influence the other circumstances in your life.