Personal Growth

Unsure of What to Do with Your Life? Here’s How to Decide

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Let’s make a bet.

I’m going to make a statement. If the statement is true for you, you have to stick around and read the rest of this article (I’ll make it worthwhile). If the statement is not true for you, you’re free to go and read a different article. Sound fair? Here’s the statement:

You, at some point in your life, have felt like you had no clue what to do with your life.

Doesn’t apply to you? Fly free, little bird (might I suggest skipping over to How to Budget Like a Realistic Adult?).

Still here? I’m going to make the assumption that 98% of you are sticking around. I’ve never met someone who knew from the get-go what they wanted to do with their life and stuck with it all the way through to the end. But hey, it’s all good! We’re going to go over a few things in just a second that will help you connect all the dots. By the end of this, hopefully, you can figure out what to do with your life!

The first step

I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago entitled How to Switch Your Career Path in Your 20s. In that article, I talk about finding the intersection of your passions and your heartbreaks. I won’t go into too much detail since you can go on over to that article to get into the nitty gritty, but I’ll give you the big picture.

Basically, your perfect life path resides where the things that make you extremely happy and the things that make you really sad meet. Let’s say you are passionate about children and you are completely heartbroken by poverty and broken families. Hey, looks like maybe teaching in an under-served area would be great for you. Or possibly working for a non-profit organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters. Figuring out what you’re passionate about and what you’re sad about is a great place to get the brain juices flowing when it comes to figuring out what to do with your life.

girl looking into distance thinking about what to do with your life

You have to know yourself before you can know what to do with your life

Another thing I would highly encourage you to do would be to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Humanmetrics.com has a great free version. The test is 64 questions long and will take about 10 minutes to complete. Answer everything completely honestly, even if you don’t particularly like the answer. When you’re finished, the site will give you your results in the form of a 4-letter acronym.

I personally am an INTJ and consistently get this result. Don’t worry if you don’t know what the letters stand for. You don’t really need to understand each individual letter’s purpose so much as the way they all combine to make your unique personality. Underneath your initial 4-letter type, there are links you can explore that will help you understand your personality type further. These links are things such as a detailed description, famous people with your personality type, and *drumroll* career choices for your type!

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Be careful with this, though, as the career choices the website recommends may not fit you as a person even though they fit your personality type. As an INTJ, my career recommendations are often things like a scientist, computer and software engineer, or lawyer which are all careers that do not appeal to me. Your career recommendations might be a lot more appealing to you. But certainly, don’t let your world be rocked if the test suggests you become a writer, and you don’t even like to write Facebook posts. Nevertheless, taking the MBTI test is a wonderful place to start figuring out what to do with your life. Plus it’s fun to Google MBTI movie characters and see what character you are.

Try something new

I don’t know about you, but realizing that I don’t know what I’m doing with my life was actually a pretty debilitating thing. All throughout high school, I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer. In college, I majored in graphic design. I realized in December of my senior year that while I loved designing, I didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day for the rest of my life. If you’re like me, you may also have invested a lot of time and money into the thing that doesn’t actually fit you. But it’s never too late to make the right decision for yourself! You’re not stuck no matter how much your brain may try to convince you that you are. You can always start taking some steps in the right direction.

One great way to get started on figuring out what to do with your life is to simply try new things. Hop on Groupon and try out a new activity, a new fitness class, or even a new type of restaurant. While a new Indian restaurant is probably not going to set you on the right path, it is a baby step to getting outside of your bubble. Plus, you never know; you might stumble across a cool class that leads to a ground-breaking realization about what drives you.

hands making pottery while thinking about what to do with your life
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Another thing I’ll suggest is volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to get some hands-on experience in a world you know nothing about. If you think working with animals is right for you, volunteering at a local Humane Society is a win/win. You’ll get valuable hands-on time with animals; you’ll pick up on some savvy animal lingo, AND you’re helping out both the animals and the Humane Society. GiveGab is an awesome way to hook up with non-profits looking for volunteers. They have an iOS app that you can download here, or you can hop onto their website. Volunteer for just a few hours in a new field and you’ll get a much better understanding of how it works.

The bottom line

Figuring out what to do with your life is a very personal choice (obviously). Don’t let anybody try to talk you into something you don’t want to do! After all, you know you best (especially after doing all that introspection earlier). At the end of the day, you should be doing what brings you the most joy. If you’re not happy where you’re at, switch it up! It’s ok not to know what you’re doing with your life, but it’s not ok to be miserable. Find what you love and dive in head first. You got this!

Do you have other suggestions about how to decide what to do with your life? We’d love to hear your advice in the comments below!

Resources: Givegab.com Humanmetrics.com

Unsure of What to Do with Your Life?

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21 Comments

  1. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. I think trying new things makes your life more interesting and keeps things exciting.

  2. It’s never too late to discover your path in life. Volunteering is a great way to give back and to help others.

  3. What a great post! I have been there many times! There are times I wonder really what I am doing! This is defiantly motivating to help think about what I should do with my life!

  4. I love all of these, I’ve always been that person that doesn’t know what they want to do with their life. Some how I’ve managed to care out a solid career for myself, although it pays the bills I don’t love it. I’m just great at it.

    I started blogging six years ago and I’ve found my stride. I’ve found my passion, or maybe it found me. I turned the things I love to do into something I live to do.

  5. Great post and great points. The first point was the most important. You have to KNOW YOURSELF. How can you expect to be on the right path if you don’t know what you want?

  6. I believe every day you find outs something new about yourself so its hard to know what you really, really want to do. I agree I would go and volunteer at different things and try out Groupons. They have such great deals your bound to find something interesting.

  7. Great advice!! There is no way I would have imagined my job that I have know, love Groupon for trying out new classes.

  8. I like what I do, but it’s just not the same lately. I have been wondering if I should change paths. Maybe I will try something new.

  9. These are great tips for deciding what to do with your life. Knowing your self will help you decide what you really are passionate about. I love the idea of putting your likes and dislikes together to figure out something you will enjoy doing. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  10. Great advice you’ve shared in this post. I love the advice to try something new. I would love to learn a another language. It is something I have always wanted to do but did not have enough time.

  11. As someone who has officially reached middle age status I feel you keep “finding” what you want in life. Twists and turns create room for new choices and chances throughout our lives.

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