Here’s my attempt at answering this question.
It’s a question we all ask ourselves. Young or old, stupid or smart, everyone wants to know what they should do.
Well, here’s my attempt at answering this question.
What we want
It seems like we all want multiple things in life, and oftentimes these things are conflicting.
We want to have stability but we also want freedom. We want variety but we also want mastery. We want to be courageous but we also want to have some fun and just fuck off.
Is it possible to have it all? I ask myself this question a lot.
I think that it is. However, it takes a great deal of thought, some clever maneuvering and a delicate balancing act.
What is it that you want in life? Is it more money? More free time? More meaning? I think that the first place to start is by identifying these imbalances. Then you can make a plan to correct them.
How to get what we want
It all starts with a plan. This is one of the things that makes humans remarkable. We have this miraculous ability to manifest things that we want. Starting from abstract ideas, we are able to create concrete plans to follow in order to get where we want to go.
It’s really as simple as that. Whatever it is that you want, you can have it. You just need to break it down into manageable pieces and create a plan.
So why then is it so hard?
I think it’s because of fear and boredom. On one side, the fear of failure keeps us petrified, afraid to act. On the other side, the fear of success bores us to death.
When I was in school, I had a strange aversion to my fellow classmates, particularly those who tried really hard. It wasn’t that I was jealous of them, because I also tried hard academically, but I was afraid of becoming boring, the way that I saw them to be. Of course, I’m sure they wouldn’t have been boring if I’d gotten to know them, but somehow I still couldn’t shake this idea.
As I got older, I wanted to be successful. However, the duality still exists inside me. There’s a desire for chaos that makes me crave destruction. But the other side of me desperately desires order and certainty. God forbid one of them should win out.
So naturally the question arises, how can I create a life with enough certainty to make me feel at ease while simultaneously feeling free and unencumbered by boredom?
I’ve always been the guy with the dusty MacBook, the musician who doesn’t like to sing, the extrovert who’s shy and quiet. Essentially, the person who says one thing but does another.
Knowing these contradictions about myself can help to point me to where I need to go. While in the past they may have seemed like obstacles, with some analyzing they can actually become my superpower.
In the same way, I invite you, dear reader, to examine yourself and to find the contradictions that hold you back. For they may in fact be the keys to your success.
Making a plan
Once we’ve looked at ourselves squarely, we can begin to figure out where we want to go. For me, I know that I need something with variety but that still has certainty. Something that keeps my interest while still giving me a framework that I can rely on.
Perhaps I would never be a great entrepreneur because the amount of uncertainty is too high. Maybe I need a more clear career route, but something that still offers variety.
In order to make a plan, we can start by laying out our expectations. Do you want a certain amount of money by a certain time? Do you want a certain level of respect in your professional life? Do you want to see certain places before you die?
Make a list of everything you want and then lay out the steps you need in order to get each thing. It’s all possible, but it will all take time and effort.
Don’t forget life isn’t perfect
Finally, after you’ve made a plan and decided to follow it, make sure to remind yourself that it’s okay to be unhappy. Things are never going to be perfect. Whatever it is you want, you might get it and realize you’re still the same person with a similar life.
Remember, successful people are simply those who've chosen their suffering.
So chase the things you want but don't put all your cash on one bet.