Something I hear a lot of my friends tell me is this…
“I don’t know what to do with my life, and because of this, I feel like I’m just wasting my time.”
I don’t know what to do with my life.
This is not the right mindset to have, here’s why…
Let’s say you lost your keys. Yes I know. Probably one of the most disastrous first world problems there is…
So you lost your keys, now, how do you find them?
Do your keys just magically appear one day as you’re watching Netflix? Or do they “magically” appear after you tear up every couch that you own, flip your bed mattress, empty your closet, search your bathroom, aggressively confront your roommates, etc.?
The answer is that you find your keys after you invest your time and energy looking for them. Maybe you get lucky and find them after looking under that first couch cushion, or more than likely, it will take you a few days, potentially even weeks, to track those mofos down.
The point is this: in order to find something, you need to look for it.
If you’re asking yourself… what is the purpose of life? Stop asking and start looking.
And, would you consider the time you invest to search for that missing thing time that is wasted? Of course not. That’s because you were actively searching and you were engaged with the search because you had a specific outcome in mind, which was finding those damn keys…
This is a metaphor for figuring out “what you want to do with your life”, and it’s the reason why you’re not wasting your time if you don’t yet know what that is. Because again, if you haven’t yet found that thing, you need to actively look for it…
Steve Jobs said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Think about that for a second. Everything you’ve ever done in your life has led to where you are right now. Sure, you could have done things differently, maybe better, but regardless, those actions you took in the past have led to where you are right now. Is that wasted time?
Before you answer that… it’s story time.
A few weeks back I interviewed Mike Clum, the 23-year old CEO of Clum Creative. Clum Creative is a corporate video production company that has generated nearly half a million dollars in revenue by creating epic marketing videos for large corporations.
But Mike didn’t start here. He got his start creating music videos for Cleveland rap groups. In fact, one of Mike’s very first clients was a group of Taylor Gang rappers. They hired Mike to drive them from Cleveland to Pittsburgh and produce a music video for them upon arrival. Mike mentioned that during the 14 hour ride, his new clientele was blazing marijuana in the backseat for the majority of their ride. Mike, who has never smoked weed before, was pretty sure he was rocking a pretty solid contact high.
Anyways, Mike ended up shaking the contact high, shooting and producing the music video.
Here’s where things get good and how Mike found his purpose…
A few months later, Mike saw an ad on Craigslist looking for corporate video production services. He replied to the ad and shared the rappers music video, thinking there was no shot he’d ever hear back. He was just getting started in video, so he didn’t have much to lose…
To his surprise, the company he reached out to hit him back saying that they loved the video. They hired him for a gig, ended up becoming a repeat client, and this work then led to bigger gigs which involved the corporate video production that Mike and his company produce today.
It would have been very easy for Mike to have viewed this gig as a potential massive waste of time.
Do you think Mike, fighting marijuana smoke during his 14 hour ride would ever have thought that this music video gig would lead to a lucrative career in video production?
Hell no. But that’s the beauty of it.
When it comes to finding your purpose… you can’t connect the dots looking forward, only looking backwards.
Remember this the next time you think you’re “wasting your time” because you don’t see a direct next step after whatever it is that you’re doing.
Trust that you will find whatever it is you’re looking for after you put in the time, energy and focus needed to find it.
You never know where you’ll end up.
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