I know it’s a nerve-wracking situation to be in: to realize you don’t like what you’re doing with your precious time here on Earth and wanting to do something about it right now. And that’s how you start obsessing about it.
Trust me, I get it.
Let me tell you a story…
There’s something you don’t know about me: I’ve always been fascinated by languages.
When I was 8, I started learning English on my own. I became the best English student in my class at 10 and when I got to high school, it was pretty clear to me that I wanted to study Languages in college.
I applied for my dream school, got in, graduated and then had a full-blown existential crisis because I suddenly decided (or realized?) I didn’t like what I was doing with my life.
It was hard to admit. After that, I found myself drifting and pretty much desperate:
“If that wasn’t it, then what am I supposed to be doing with my life? Am I wasting by best young years? What’s my passion? What if I should have been a swimmer or a gymnast and I never tried it, so now I’ll never know and I’m too old to start. I’ll never make it to the Olympics if I start now. I’m 27, for crying out loud. Ok, I need to find the perfect job for me, something I love and gives me a lot of money, something that makes me feel important. And I need to find it like… today because I can’t do this anymore. What do I do? Oh, look, this woman made $900,000 in a year selling handmade bandanas on Etsy. It seems she’s enjoying herself a lot. I have no idea how to use a sewing machine. But should I create a store on Etsy and start selling handmade stuff? I think I’d like that. I’ve never been good at crafts and doing things with my hands, but why not? *tries it and wastes money* Oh, shut, that wasn’t a good idea after all. Maybe I should start learning physics. Yep. That’s it…”
I’m not kidding. This is a true story.
I was desperate and literally obsessed with finding THE thing that would fill me with joy forever. That thing, that job that would put me in a state of flow. I needed it like I need air. And I needed it fast.
Thinking that way brought me a lot of frustration and it took me deep inside the hole I was already in.
It also helped me learned a lot of lessons I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, it’s true. But it created a lot of unnecessary stress in me.
Feeling lost in life sucks… you feel time is passing by and you feel hopeless. I understand.
However, I’ve also learned a great deal.
Therefore, you need to listen to what I’m about to say here because it’ll not only save you from chronic stress; it’ll also drive you in the right direction.
What does “obsessing” over something mean?
According to Susan Winter, coach and relationship expert, obsession is rooted in an unresolved goal.Click To Tweet
That means you haven’t got a thing you want with all your heart (and who knows if you’ll ever get it).
If you have done everything in the physical ground to get what you want and you still haven’t, maybe because your actions haven’t been that effective or because it’s simply impossible, you need to solve that obsession in your mind.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about here, plus a little advice on how to take effective action.
Obsessions are habits and habits can be broken when you replace them with something else.
In this post, I’m going to tell you about wonderful new habits you can use to replace your obsession and that will also help you find that thing you’re looking for.
Now, Winter is a relationship coach but I believe this principle applies to everything else in life.
When we’re obsessed with finding our purpose, the work we were born to do, our passion, or whatever you want to call it, we become desperate.
That’s not what you want. You want to take it easy, relax, and explore life because that’ll put you in the right mental state to spot new opportunities.
That’s one of the things that make being alive so exciting after all 🙂
What happens when you obsess over something
When you’re obsessed with something, you focus on that single thing all day.
No matter what you’re doing or who you’re with, you keep thinking about it.
When you’re obsessed with finding “your passion”, it’s probably because you don’t like what you’re doing with your life.
That means you’re thinking about why you want to find your “passion” so quickly: because you don’t like your current life.
We all know what happens when we focus so much on a single thing: it grows inside our minds.
You may think and feel your life is worst than it really is.
You end up drowned in desperation because you don’t like what you’re doing and, on top of that, you can’t “find your passion”.
When you feel that desperate and obsessed, you miss important cues and opportunities that could drive you in that direction you’re so determined to find no matter what.
According to psychcentral.com, the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health online resource, when we obsess over something “our thoughts race or run in circles, feeding incessant worry, fantasy or a search for answers. They can take over our life, so that we lose hours, sleep, or even days or weeks of enjoyment and productive activity.“
That, my dear friend, is a terrible mental space to be in if you’re trying to improve your life and feel more satisfied.
Obsessing over something so complicated like finding that thing you want to do with your life will only bring you unnecessary stress.
How To Finally Stop Obsessing Over “Finding Your Passion”
1. Get in the right mindset
There’s something extremely important you need to understand:
“Passion” is a feeling, so you’ll probably feel “passionate” about a lot of things throughout your life. Because guess what, feelings change.
It means that it’ll come and go. You can feel very passionate about something for 10 years and then realize/feel like you don’t care about that thing that much anymore (*raises hand*).
And it’s okay!
Yes, there are people out there who devote their entire lives to a single endeavor. People who find their thing when they’re kids and do it until they die, but:
a. you probably don’t know how happy, satisfied or free of doubt that people are;
b. not all people are like that.
Some of us are multi-passionate and that’s totally fine. It doesn’t mean you’ll never amount to anything. It doesn’t mean you’re screwed!Some of us are multi-passionate and that's totally fine. It doesn't mean you'll never amount to anything. It doesn't mean you're screwed! Click To Tweet
Maybe you think about people like Michael Phelps or Beethoven, people who started working on their skills from a very young age.
But that’s not common! What’s more common is to spend time exploring, merging skills, learning new things.
Many people start their dream careers later in life, like Susan Boyle (remember that iconic performance?!), Samuel L Jackson, and Vera Wang!
And, if you think about it, feeling “lost” is exactly what creates new jobs, new professions, new careers.
Imagine if all people knew what they wanted to do from a young age… YouTubers, astronauts, and writers wouldn’t exist.
We would all be either hunters or gatherers, right?
You have time to learn exciting things and wear many hats, and that’s a privilege 🙂
2. Your purpose is more than just a job
Finding your life’s purpose sounds like a life-long enterprise. Because it is!
I understand you might be preoccupied with finding your purpose in life: that unique single thing you were (supposedly) born to do.
And I know you feel like you’re running out of time because you haven’t figured it out yet and, hello, there’s something that needs to be done and you’re the only one who can do it, right?
They say life’s short but… it’s actually pretty long. You have time.
Plus, your purpose is way more than your job.
Sure, with our jobs we can make an incredible impact, but you can exercise your purpose in many ways!
Maybe you’ve taught someone you love, someone in your community, or even a stranger a life-changing lesson that will eventually change the world.
Your love, your personality, the things you say, and how you make people feel have an impact too.
Focus on improving yourself, on being smarter, more compassionate and soon you’ll start changing people’s lives to some degree.
Also, we can have many purposes in life. Forget there’s only one for you and it’s your job to find it!
3. Embark on a self-discovery journey
It all starts with knowing who you are.
Did you know that most problems in life stem from the fact that people don’t know themselves well?
When you know yourself you make better choices, you feel happier and more satisfied, you feel more grateful, you aren’t afraid to try new things or doing work you love because you stop caring about what people think of you.
If you take the time to explore who you are, you’ll start getting rid of other’s expectations; you’ll stop trying to please everybody and start pleasing yourself.
And with self-discovery and those realizations comes clarity that’ll help you see what’s that thing you’re looking for, because it isn’t outside.
Stop looking at others’ careers and thinking that’s way cooler than what you do and that you’d love to be doing that when in reality you don’t know what that work entails.
Spend time with yourself and discover:
- your values and principles,
- your dreams,
- what change you want to make in the world,
- what’s important to you,
- what you really care about,
- what you want to spend your time doing,
- and so much more!
More posts you’ll love:
- 31 Journaling Prompts For Women Who Want To Know Themselves Better
- 15 Journaling Prompts To Discover Your Dreams
- Life Makeover Challenge: Reinvent Yourself In 15 Days
4. Replace your obsession with healthy habits
There are many ways to take action in this department instead of feeling frantic.
I’ve listed some of them in this post called 25 Solid Steps To Find What You Really Love To Do.
Get in the habit of exploring, of trying new things, of getting outside your comfort zone (as cliché as that may sound).
Learn about new topics, read about other people’s lives, enroll in online courses, improve your skills. That’s what will take you to new places.
Doing so will:
- take you closer and closer to that sweet spot you want to be in,
- help you know yourself better,
- make you a highly interesting person 😛
Plus, it’s so much fun!
Focus on the things you can control, on what’s right in front of you.
5. Take it easy and trust the process
That doesn’t mean you’ll feel unfulfilled forever.
On the contrary, by trusting the process and avoiding stress, you’ll set yourself up for success because it speeds it up.
When you take it easy and understand things as they are, you’ll start feeling open to new opportunities.
You’ll relax and start exploring life with an open mind and that’ll open new, fascinating worlds for you.
Take it easy, and trust this process!
Obsessing about anything won’t do you any good, ever. Remember that being obsessed means you have unresolved goals.
Why, instead of overthinking, don’t you go ahead and reach those goals?
Finding what you care about, your passion, or your mission isn’t an easy task. And as such, you have to cultivate the patience needed to get there.
Yes, it’s hard, but it’s also pretty fun! Instead of thinking about how haaaard it is, why not enjoy the process?
While looking for that specific thing, you’ll find yourself.
You’ll understand who you are and that no matter how much we change day after day, there are things in your core that are sort of more permanent. Find those things!
Once I started understanding all of this and taking it easy, I could see clearly what was happening: I don’t love languages only, I’m fascinated by the human mind, specifically by human communication.
This realization made a huge impact on me and led me to explore different things such as writing and psychology.
Little by little, I’m feeling more like myself. And that’s priceless.
“You’re not lost, you’re just early in the process” — Gary VaynerchukClick To Tweet