I recently stumbled upon a very inspiring blogger named Mark Manson. Only after reading several of his posts did I find out he is the author to the #2 Most Read book on Amazon. I had heard of his book before, but I always wrote it off as being a joke book because it has a swear word in the title. The radio edit version of the title is “The Subtle Art of Not [Caring]: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.” His blog is filled with straight talk, step-by-step advice for self-improvement, and crass language.
A 2014 post called “7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose” has seven good questions for life planning. Here’s the radio edit version of that post.
The seven are:
For what are you willing to suffer?
No matter what you settle on, there will be trials, disappointments, and struggle. If there is a task where you enjoy the hard parts, that could be your calling.
What did you like to do as a kid?
Kids do what they want to do, unashamed and naked. Before you were told what to do, what did you like? My daughter, not even two, shows open joy at daring acrobatic endeavors, cleaning soiled items, and caring for animals among other things. All of these are valuable, core aspects of real world jobs.
What makes you forget to eat?
If you’re lucky, you’ve experienced a task so fun that you forget that you need to eat. Psychologists call this a “flow state” and hypothesize that it is achieved when a task is just hard enough to be challenging but also just easy enough for you to be successful.
I always forget to eat when I am programming new computer code or writing a particularly interesting research paper.
What are you afraid of doing?
If you haven’t found what you are passionate about it might be because you are standing in your own way. Many of us fear failure and embarrassment, but both are necessary in some way when you are learning to do something new. As Manson writes, “if you avoid anything that could potentially embarrass you, then you will never end up doing something that feels important. … Right now, there’s something you want to do, something you think about doing, something you fantasize about doing, yet you don’t do it.”
Which world problem has you passionate?
There are many ways to add value to the world. Which one are you the most passionate about? Do that.
If you had to leave the house all day every day, where would you go and what would you do?
Because most people have to leave the house for 8+ hours 5+ days a week and do their job, so it would be awesome if that was already what you want to do.
What do you value?
As Manson writes, “when you don’t know what your values are, then you’re essentially taking on other people’s values and living other people’s priorities instead of your own.” What do you value in life?
Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash