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To Figure Out What You Want To Do in Life, Stop Doing This

How we overcomplicate what could be exceedingly simple.


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Michael Touchton

a year ago | 1 min read

I’ve always been “future-oriented.” I naturally find myself thinking about what’s next and, generally, welcoming most change. But sometimes I get paralyzed thinking about the future — especially when I feel I need to figure out what I should do next in life. What career should I pursue? Where should I move? You know, questions like these.

I’m in this place again — trying to figure out what’s next.

But it recently occurred to me that maybe I’m thinking about this the wrong way. Instead of focusing on the future, trying to figure out what I want to do then, why don’t I just focus on what I want to do now.

Anything I think I want to do in the future that I’m not willing to start doing today is probably not something I truly want to do. Maybe I want to do it for some other reason —to fulfill some societal or familial expectation, or to fill some inner void. Or maybe everything looks better in the non-existent future than the real here and now.

The point is, by focusing on the present, I can more easily get in touch with what I desire. I can start doing the thing today that I think I might want to do in the future.

And learning about, practicing, and doing that thing will not only help me to actually get toward that desired future, but my motivation (or lack thereof) will show me if I really even want to do that thing.

This should be super simple, but we overcomplicate it by focusing our mental energy trying to figure out something that doesn’t exist (the future) for someone who doesn’t exist (future me).

In short, your present actions show what it is you really desire much more than your thoughts about the future do. So, to figure out what you want to do in life, stop focusing on the future and start focusing on today.

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Michael Touchton


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