“How to Find Your Life Purpose in 5 minutes”, “These Are 3 Foolproof Ways to Pick The Right Career”, “Quiz: What’s Your Dream Job?” — we’ve read them all, the typical self discovery/soul searching articles.
And you don’t need to be ashamed to admit that sometimes (if not often) you do take the quiz and follow the steps suggested by the so-called career coach.
But in the sea of self discovery articles, somehow I couldn’t — or probably haven’t — found any writing that actually tells us about things we should avoid that will drive us away from our life purpose/true calling. Yes, we know we should follow our so-called passion and strengths, but how do we know we’re not going opposite direction?
So in the spirit of soul searching, here’s 4 things we do that can actually drive us away from our life purpose:
1. Always talking about having to find a purpose, but never actually try anything
Only a few people in this world is lucky enough to find their calling in a very young age. It seems like, for these few, their purposes are effortlessly given to them.
But majority of people are not that lucky. That’s why sitting, complaining, and whining about how you don’t know what you want to do with your life are a complete waste of time. Just take any job, path, or activity for now. Any thing would do, as long as you try something. You’ll eventually find it if you keep moving.
2. Caring too much about people’s opinion on what’s cool or rational and what’s not
We all know that person. The one who always tries too hard to impress. The one who’s always so pressured by how people see them. The one who has… no identity whatsoever.
You have one job: making sure that this person is not you. Take people’s opinions into account (after all, plenty of them might be useful), but at the end, listen to yourself.
How do we listen to ourselves? That brings us to our third point.
3. Not spending enough time alone. And by alone, I mean, truly alone.
There are people who have never been single their whole lives, people who have always had their evenings filled with get-togethers — basically people who are never truly alone.
Yes, I know, humans are social beings. Being surrounded by loved ones and living a life full of fun activities are among the things worth having and envying.
But as I said, to be able to truly know what you want to do with your life, you have to listen to yourself. And to be able to listen to yourself, you have to take some time alone.
People are fun, but people mean noises.
Not only noises in the form of opinions about what’s cool and what’s rational, but also noises in the form of expectations.
Everyone — your family, your friends, your spouse — has a certain expectation towards you: family expects you to have a stable job, friends expect you to go to some industries, spouse expects you to not work too hard so you have more time for him/her. Expectations from people are normal; you yourself has expectation towards your closest ones.
But spending too much time with them and not enough time with yourself would make you consider their expectations more than you consider your own expectation.
4. Always being part of a typical circle — always having the same kinds of friends
If you always socialize with the same kinds of people your whole life, you will start to believe so much on only one worldview. You will despise other worldviews that are actually equally valid.
Remember, truth is not absolute. The point is, don’t be an elitist. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with always being stuck with a typical circle of friends — but what if your true calling is on the other side of society? What if your current worldview is what’s holding you back from your life purpose — from living a fulfilling life?
Make friends with people different from you. Expand your horizon. There’s a reason why the world screams for so-called diversity and inclusion. It’s because too much homogeneity brings more harm than good.
Raisa is Community Manager at Bukapintu, a career network for Indonesian students and fresh graduates. She believes that storytelling and pop culture are powerful tools to change the world. Raisa is always on board for any cause that encourages people to find their life purpose earlier.