Here´s the thing about directions
Everyone´s looking for direction. Why do leaders have such a prestigious status in any society? Because they direct people. They tell you what to do, so you don´t have to figure it out yourself, because that´s fucking hard.
And I don´t mean to put anyone down here. We all like people making decisions instead of us. Like which coffee place we will go to, what´s the best dish we can order, what airline we should fly with.
Above are a few small, daily examples, but it extends far further than that. Which school I will go to? Which university? What kind of job do I want? Do I even want a job? Should I be married by 25? When is the time for my family, should I have one?
These are all monstrous questions, big and overwhelming. This is where it gets even more confusing. Different people will tell you different things. Society will tell you certain things. And these things will often go against each other. And the result is catastrophic, almost decapitating. It feels like a double-bind; I am cursed if I do this and cursed if I do that.
Let´s take a classic one for a western woman in her mid-twenties. Should I go pursue “my dream”, go for career, travel and explore, or should I raise my family, find a guy and settle? Whichever answer she choses, it almost automatically cancels the other one out. Damn.
The next thing about directions, whether you give them to yourself or receive them from outside, is that you need them. Maslow talks about certainty as one of the basics human needs, much like food.
You need it, otherwise life is really confusing. You suffer at your boring job day by day, yet it is weirdly comfortable. At least more comfortable than searching for a new one.
You are unsure if you can find something better. That doubt is eating you alive day by day and the situation is much worse than just by having a shitty job, because you doubt whether it really is the best you can do.
See, when doubt comes, and talking from personal experience here, it shakes the foundation. It goes down to your very core. (If you are willing to reflect it and don´t numb yourself with alcohol, drugs, food, TV, etc.) Should I be doing this or that? And then you exert mental power on the act of deciding instead of just going with something and then correcting the course after the fact.
The more you doubt, the more energy you expand, the more confused you are, the less you have the balls to change or go for anything. It´s a vicious downwards spiral.
Ok, so we covered that we all need directions in life and that we can give them to ourselves or that they can come from outside. We also covered that the biggest thing stopping us here is doubt. You could also call it fear but that word is too heavily used so it lost its impact. Let´s call it doubt. So. You need directions, but you are full of doubt, what to do?
ACCEPT THAT DOUBT WILL FUCK WITH YOU
The more you are a creature of the society (and we all are to a certain extent), the harder it will be for you to separate yourself. Doubt will be present in your life daily. If you never took, or even considered, any decisions or directions that would clash with those that are expected from you, it will be fucking hard.
If you just follow the norms and trends all the time, even a relatively simple thing, such as flying to a different country for a week, which most of us can afford, will seem out of reach. There is no such thing as total certainty. So you NEED TO BE OKAY WITH THE FEELINGS OF UNCERTAINTY. Meditation helps a lot.
Keep in mind, that as with the Anonymous Alcoholics, the first thing is to analyze and admit. If you honestly analyze yourself you will see where you are.
Am I over 25 and still financially and emotionally dependent on my parents? Are my notions of an intimate relationship still based on Hollywood movies? Do I still believe that I will hold a certain type of job for my entire working life? Questions such as this will tell you where you are at this point. Be brutally honest.
WANT TO KNOW WHICH DIRECTION TO GO?
Ok, so hopefully by now, you are warmed up. The whole point of the previous wall of text was to wake you up and open you to different possibilities where change can happen. These paragraphs that follow are the gist of the article and THE ONE THING that you need to do, so pay attention.
Here´s the SECRET: IT´S A HIT AND MISS!
You will have to try A LOT of new things until you find something that you resonate with. How many? Nobody can say.
When I talk to people about kids, I always insist they are smarter than we are. They learn by experience. They need to touch something hot and then they realize it´s hot and next time they don’t touch it. Similarly, even as adults, we can only truly learn by experience.
Any person with a university degree (myself included) can tell you that. You come with your shiny new degree to a new workplace and realize that 90% of what they taught you is crap. So you learn again, by doing, and see for yourself what works and what does not.
Let´s say you work with children. You try to work in a foster home and after some time you realize it´s not your cup of tea. You then switch to being a teacher in a school. Again, after some time, you realize it´s not for you, you move on. You try project work, you try disabilities, nothing works. You admit to yourself, OK, working with kids is not for me, let´s find something else.
Now you know from actual experience, for all of your life (which will probably be long nowadays), that working with kids is not for you. Fuck your degree.
Or maybe you found that you really like one of those jobs and feel content there. You feel understood, you feel fulfilled, what you are doing is making you happy. Great! Again, by experience you learned what to do. Enjoy it. Until the doubt comes again. Then listen to it and act accordingly.
The same thing applies to a romantic relationship, how to raise a kid, how to learn how to dance etc. You should get it by now. It´s trial and error, you can´t read it in a book.
Ok, then you might say, but “Bostjan, there are 99999 different jobs in the world, I cant do them all in my life, it´s impossible.” Yes, you are very right. However, here´s where adventures come in.
WANT ACCELERATED SELF-LEARNING? TRY ADVENTURES
Maybe you don´t even know what to try, where to go. You just know you want something else, something different, but you have no idea on what to try, where to go.
So this is where my specialty is, going on adventures and learning from them. Let´s take a hypothetical example, a fictional story about a dude called Jim:
Jim is a 25 year old male. He´s pretty good looking, an ex basketball player, but getting a bit chubby now. He sells furniture – you´ve met him in IKEA before. He makes decent money, he´s actually pretty good at what he does. He has a girlfriend, 7 years and counting now. They are living together and are thinking of having a kid. Some weekends Jim goes out with his friends and gets drunk, some weekends he spends with his girl. Life goes it´s own way.
Sometimes Jim sees a good movie that makes him think. For example, “into the wild”.
The movie sucks him in. He watches every minute of it. When it finishes the thoughts roll in. How his life could be. He remembers his childhood dreams, which did not include selling furniture. And then the phone rings. He needs to go help carry the groceries because his girl returned from the shop. Jim says to himself, some day I need to try some of that…
Okay. Now, let´s take Jim, and say that the movie moved him enough to change. That rarely happens though. Let´s say his girlfriend leaves him. Or he gets diagnosed with cancer. Or one of his best friends kill himself. An event so strong to force Jim out of his daily routine. Now he´s ready to go on an adventure.
Next day an acquaintance of Jim´s posts on Facebook that he´s doing a 2-week road trip through the States. Jim remembers a scene from the “Into the wild” and sends the guy a message. He believes the guy will decline. Funny enough, the guy is enthusiastic and cool with it and Jim soon finds himself in the car with the guy.
In a few days, Jim gets to know the guy. He seems happy. He has a certain spark in his eyes. He tells Jim stories of other countries, of girls he chased and of cool things he´s seen. Jim learned that the guy is unemployed at the moment but saved of money while working on a cruiser ship for the past 6 months. The guy is writing a book too, he´s unsure if someone will buy it but he enjoys writing anyway. Jim starts to think about his life every night before he goes to sleep.
At some point during the road trip, Jim notices he likes the sunny Texas. He enjoys hot weather and loves the sun on his skin. He now understands that he doesn’t like his home city that much, the climate is not right for him.
Another night, the guy and Jim go to a bar. They get somewhat drunk and Jim sees a girl he likes. He hasn´t tried to chat up a girl in a few years, why would he, he has a girlfriend. Assisted by a liquid shot of courage he goes and chats her up.
She´s actually pretty cool. She likes Metal too, and she smokes weed. Jim used to do that when he was in his teens. She listens to him and he listens to her. He feels like a man around her, he noticed he’s actually thinking how it would be to kiss her, to touch and feel her body, to fuck her.
She goes out for a Joint and Jim joins.
One things leads to another and they hook up and have a crazy night. He liked the dirty sex they had, he liked how she made him pull her her and choke her and how she dirty talked to him. He understood that he will either need to work hard on the relationship with his girl or find another girl.
The next day he sees a Lamborghini Gallardo parked in front of the shop. He sees the guy coming out and opening the car. Jim normally doesn´t talk to strangers. But this past week has been so crazy, he feels a new sort of courage. He compliments the dude on his car and then asks how he´s able to afford it. The dude looks pretty young, younger than Jim for sure.
The guy explains he just played a shitload of computer games. Now he’s a League of Legends champion, has his own crew, teaches League of Legends online course and wins every major competition in the world there is. He´s pimping.
Jim then remembers how he used to be in a metal band. And how he used to know everything about guitars and how he once wanted to have a guitar shop. An idea starts to form in his head…
After 2 weeks the road trip is finished. Jim thanks the guy for taking him along and goes back home. He is very thoughtful in the next days. His girlfriend tells him he seems different somehow. She´s asking if there is something wrong.
In just 2 weeks, Jim learned some things about himself that he would probably never discover in his whole life. Jim bought some books and started to read them, he bought a monthly gym pass. He started to scout FB groups for more adventures…
OK, so this is the fictional story about Jim, whose life was changed because he went on an adventure. And trust me, adventures will lead to you understanding your purpose and finding your spot in the world.
If Jim found a lot of answers (and even more questions) in a 2 week road trip, imagine how you would change if you, say, travelled India for 3 months. Or if you decide to move to a different country where you don’t know anyone. Or if you decided to be a voluntary worker in developing countries.
After you are done with your adventure, take in the learning and adjust your life and choices accordingly, you might settle for some time. And then at some point, the call for adventure may come again. Or it may not. But until it does, you know your direction. You are content, happy and fulfilled.
And next time, when the call comes, you will recognize it. You will know that you need to answer and you will be better prepared for it.
And then some day, when you talk to your grandchildren, you might tell them about your adventures. And that´s how the upward spiral will roll and roll into eternity.
There´s an idea for a short pdf book I have. It would include around 10 adventures that you can go on that would change your life for certain. I would specify exactly how much money you need in order to do them (ranging from free to expensive), what steps you need to take, and what you might expect from them. Would you buy that book, for say 20$? Thanks for the feedback. Now go get your adventure 🙂