What should I do with my existence? Everyone has that question at some point in their life. Often, this is the reason for the colloquial term, “mid-life crisis.” How can you figure it out early and avoid having existential angst while being a 30-something year old?
Jesus, that’s a helluva question.
For every person who asks that question, there is undoubtedly just as many who have answers. Going through Youtube, you can easily find entrepreneurs, famous authors, actors, self-help gurus, and many other notable people who have answers. Mark Cuban, a favorite entrepreneur of mine, says to follow your effort. Whatever productive action you do most often; do that with your life
Yet, what if you dislike that productive action and it makes you miserable? Other people, in direct opposition to Mark Cuban, would argue that you need to find and do something that you love. Most answers out there, especially those found on the internet, hover somewhere around one of those two extremes. Additionally, the most popular self-help book goes with the latter idea.
So what gives? Should you listen to a wildly successful man like Mark Cuban? Or should you listen to one of the many Napoleon Hill-esque figures out there?
One could argue that whatever you keep doing relentlessly, you probably love anyway. Unfortunately, if you’re doing it solely for monetary gain, you may realize that you don’t love it at all. Consequently, doing what you love may not give you the freedom you want, and honestly, may endear you to laziness. Herein lies the conflict with both philosophies.
As with most questions, perhaps the answer lies in a compromise. Where the meeting point is with both philosophies, well, that’s something only you can decide. What do you feel is lacking in your life if you had to give an honest answer? Do you lack the freedom to live how you want? Do you lack enjoyment from your occupation?
Whatever the answer may be you nonetheless have to dig deep within yourself and figure out what needs must be addressed. Freedom, after all, requires money enough to live comfortably. Occupational enjoyment, alternatively, requires brutal honesty in assessing your skills, values, and ability to contribute to the world. Perhaps the best question to ask oneself, in order to answer one of the toughest questions in life, is this:
How can I improve my situation?