Choosing the right career path can feel like a huge puzzle you need to solve against a ticking clock. You feel pressured, rushed, and anxious. You envy people your age who seem to have their whole life figured out. And you avoid bumping into acquaintances because you don’t want to explain what you are doing in your life now.
This applies not only to students but also to professionals who have already spent years in their chosen field. You could already be a board-certified dentist operating a clinic and still have doubts whether the field is for you. There is always space for self-doubt which you should overcome.
Believe it or not, you are not alone in feeling this way. The people who seem to have their life figured out once went through a phase of confusion and anxiety as well. How do you get to where they are now? Read on to find out.
Life Is a Movie, but Not All Movies Are the Same
Word of caution before you dive into the whole thing: be realistic. They say you are the main character in your own movie. However, not all movies have a straightforward plot.
The realization might not come as easy for you as it did for Elle Woods on Legally Blonde. Unlike her, you might be subject to an endless series of trial and error, and that is okay. Plus, your situation might not be as good as hers. She had the freedom to drop an entire career ahead of her in fashion merchandising to pursue law. You might not have that much freedom, so you need to be making the right decision.
What to Do According to a Self-help Book
There is a self-help book called Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. The lessons in this book might be what you exactly need to hear to find the right career path for you. This book examined the lives of the supercentenarians in Okinawa, Japan. Of all the places in the world, this particular island in Japan has the most number of the oldest people. They live for over 100 years, and even in old age, they are happy, contented, and full of life.
What’s their secret?
1. Do what you love
In the book, they interviewed the centenarians and supercentenarians about their way of life. All of them regularly do something that makes them happy. One old lady shared that once a week, she goes dancing with her friends.
The first step to finding something you can do for the rest of your life is to look inward. What makes you happy? What is something that you can talk to your friends about for hours on end? Look at your hobbies. Do you enjoy writing, painting, exercising, or fixing appliances?
2. Do what you are good at
If you think about it, there is really no point in being in a field where you don’t excel. Of course, you are free to try things and challenge yourself. But really, one way to go about this is to look at the things you are already good at.
What is something you are naturally good at? Something that doesn’t require you much effort to accomplish or something that you spent years learning. Start from there before you explore options that you have never tried before. It might save you plenty of time. If something you love and something you are good at are the same things, you are lucky.
3. Do what you can get paid for
Here is where the reality of life comes in. You need money, so you need to find something that you can get paid for. Of course, it is not enough to do something that fulfills your passion in life; you should also do something that can fill your piggy bank. After all, you live in a world where almost nothing comes for free.
4. Do what the world needs
You don’t have to be some sort of superhero to do the world some good. You can even scale it down to your neighborhood. Find something that will uplift the lives of the surrounding people. Look for needs that are usually unmet. If that need is something that you can solve, you are good at, brings food to the table, and makes you happy, you’ve found the career path you should be taking.
Finding a profession or a career that checks all these four requirements is key to living a fulfilling life. You have to find that one thing actively. After all, you will spend one-third of your life on work.