How can you find out what you're good at?… That's a question I asked myself so much I don't even remember when it started.
Along the way, I went through rebellion at school to changing countries to losing myself in meaningless jobs, but I never stopped looking around. I knew there was something somewhere that would make sense to me.
And the thirst to find out what I was made for led me to discover my winning recipe.
I hope this article will help you discover yours.
The origin of the issue
First off, I think it's a good idea to understand the origin of our issue here: why some of us feel so lost in life?
How come school didn't prepare us to understand how to be happy, why we have certain desires or how to overcome depression?
Seth Godin's talk about the origin of school might shake your preconceived ideas. My favorite quotes from this "Art vs Work" talk is:
"Fitting in is a short term strategy that get you nowhere, standing out is a long term strategy that takes guts and produces results."
In another talk, Seth gives his inspiring definition of an artist:
"Somebody who does human work, unpredictable work, makes a connection with someone else, and changes them for the better."
What are you here for?
This part is particular as nobody can agree on a specific answer. I'll give you mine, up to you to keep bits of it…
- I believe we're here to accumulate experiences of life, to evolve, to become better persons.
- Even if I don't understand the full meaning of what happens to me or to the world, I believe it's only a matter of knowledge. I believe there is a sense to everything that happens - think personal and collective karma, energies, destiny…
- I want to make a positive impact in the world, and I believe everybody can. We all have specific qualities that make us unique and useful to others.
- I don't want to wait for improvements from the economy or the political situation to act. I don't control these external conditions, but I control what I think and what I do.
Now that makes sense to me, and as a result, how I spend my days and what I choose to focus on make sense to me... and it feels pretty awesome!
Are there any emotions that particularly move you?
When you don't care, you don't have emotions. So pay attention to your emotions to find if something is important to you.
Maybe when you encounter some kind of injustice, you feel deep inside that something needs to be done to eradicate it? What kind of injustice?
What conditions bring you the more emotions?
Any strong emotions watching movies? What about watching documentaries about animals, children, ecology, or any disaster out there?! Anything moving you more than the others?
Try to find what triggers in you a strong emotional response. After all, if something affects you, it must be important to you!
Then, looking for ways to help in that area could lead you to find a very meaningful work, or even mission that really matters to you.
First clues: What did you like to do as a kid?
A good starting point is to go back in time and think of all the activities you enjoyed doing when you were a kid.
Back then, nobody asked you to spend time drawing, classifying things or building stuff, but you did these things because you had fun doing them.
Nowadays, when our heart feels something, our head comes right away with a heavy thinking process to try to make sense of the feelings. It weights and calculates if the heart's idea is reasonable, if it has a future etc. Our mental system brings doubt to the equation and makes it hard to find what's right for us.
What would you do if money didn't matter?
Let's dream big for a minute.
You won the lottery and you have now millions in your account, no need to work anymore for 3 generations.
Sure, get that plane ticket and go to that fantastic beach for a while, but then what? Will you just go around spending that money, or will you try to do something meaningful of your life?
Will you get involved in humanitarian activities? If so, which ones and why?
Will you learn new skills? If so, which ones and why?
Will you help people that face the same difficulties you went through? If so, which ones and why?
I think it comes back to purpose. In that unusual situation without anymore duty in your life, will you choose to just stay on holidays?
So, what would you do?
PS: If you would prefer to hear a podcast with a few slightly crazy guys talking about that same topic, check it here. The team at Fizzle put together "23 tips to uncover what to do with your life".
What about a personality test?
Out of the few personality tests out there, I would recommend the one from Roger Hamilton on his GeniusU platform.
It's free, and made me realize that I was actually creative!
During my school years, I never considered this possibility as drawing teachers made me understand I'd better go into sports or anything but art.
Backing up Seth Godin, school can be quite mistaken and leave prints for a lifetime...
Let me guide you to go to the core of the test - up to you to go back to it later :)
- Once you take the Genius Test, remember your "general" personality type (either Dynamo, Blaze, Tempo or Steel).
- Below are the 3 more detailed profiles associated with your general profile:
- If you're a Dynamo in the test, you're either a Mechanic, a Creator or a Star
- If you're a Blaze in the test, you're either a Star, a Supporter or a Deal Maker
- If you're a Tempo in the test, you're either Deal Maker, a Trader or an Accumulator
- If you're a Steel in the test, you're either an Accumulator, a Lord or a Mechanic.
- Then, with the short definitions below, figure out which one of the 3 feels more like you:
- Going further to get awesome insights, sign up to Roger's free Entrepreneur TV channel and download the 3 audio courses… then listen to the Wealth Dynamics series, CD #4 starting at 6 minutes until the end of CD #5.
In these 2 tracks you will find the specific strategies to use for each personality profile. It was eye opening for me and it should give you a whole new look at how you should consider your career.
Let's talk projects
Danielle Laporte's got an original approach to goal setting. It's full of sense and if you're not familiar with it, here is the idea:
She says we set up goals believing that when we reach them, we will feel a certain way. So most of the time we endure things we don't like for long periods to reach our goal… so we can feel happy. But how can we feel happy when we get there if the whole process feels draining?!
Danielle thinks it's upside down. She recommends we first find out how we would like to feel, and then set up goals that fit our "desired feelings".
Her book can be helpful if you would like to dig this concept - I went for the audiobook as she got a sweet voice…
To help us find out what goals to pursue, she has a blog post on the main question to ask yourself:
What are you most excited about?
She also has more questions to guide you in her article.
Now, the origin of the early orientation issue at school may be clearer to you, you may have a feeling of destiny, an idea of the type of personality you are and how you should consider your goals.
It's time to brainstorm goals and projects.
This is when Warren Buffet's list comes in handy, here it is:
Your Warren Buffet's list
1 - Make a list of the top 25 things you want to do in the next few years, or even in your lifetime.
2 - Pick the 5 most important to you.
3 - Once you did, forget the other 20.
4 - Yes, forget these 20 other projects… Warren goes even further and says that you should "avoid them at all costs. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you've succeeded with your top 5."
Keep also in mind that to get anything done, you need focus.
Just as a magnifying glass can't light up anything if it doesn't focus the sun's rays on one point, when it does it can burn anything.
Once you're happy with your 5 goals, double check if the path to get to these goals is also exciting, making you happy along the way. Otherwise it won't be fun.
By your education, background, experience, skills, taste, values, motivations, you're a completely unique individual.
You can bring a unique color to the society, walking a path that only you can walk.
If I would come across this kind of information years ago with the right state of mind, it would have saved me months or even years of search. Today it's in front of you.
I hope you do something with it.
Please share this article if you feel it can be a useful inspiration for your close ones to find their own thing.