Finding Your Unknown Purpose: Chasing Happiness & Choosing Your Struggle
In a world so hellbent on pursuing your purpose, not knowing what it was made me feel ridiculous & inadequate. Life is a struggle, it's part of how you absorb lessons. Life will test how bad you want it.
Whatever "it" is for you...
But my "it" didn't have a face – it didn't even have a name. I just knew my "it" as a nearly mythical creature made of happiness and deeper meaning. I also knew at my core I wasn't meant to learn my lessons being micromanaged at a "safe", salaried, and creatively dull 8AM to 6PM job.
People go their whole lives living for parents who selfishly want to brag with other parents about their child’s accreditations. “Be a doctor, be a lawyer, be happy but just don’t be that”. Your parents love you but they don’t always know best. Sometimes family is like our fearful emotions – they pop up and act as a protective mechanism to shield us from potential pain and suffering because they care so much for our wellbeing that they’re blinded to healthy risk.
I’m forever thankful this was not the case for me with my open-minded family who supports me even if it makes them anxious. However, as a highly empathetic human, it pains me to see others struggle for the wrong people and reasons. This life is yours to live, you get to decide what and who you struggle for.
I believe the real questions are...
Am I struggling for the right vision – no matter how blurry it is?
If not, why am I not allowing myself to do so?
If I am, what have I learned about myself without feeling pressured to rush into conclusions?
Emphasis on not rushing into conclusions with each new journey of self-exploration. You see, we tend to dive into exploratory experiences as if our answers will unveil themselves entirely at the end. Sometimes we just get a new piece to our puzzle that helps us get a better feel around the big picture. Patience is key yet patience is often lost.
They say curiosity killed the cat. I say, at least the cat had the courage to explore. We're also told how to live our lives by people who think they've reached their pinnacle of success. But, oftentimes, these same people confine themselves to the illusion of their "safe" path.
They've never dared to be the teen with the undecided major
The 50-year old who gives up their sacred after-work Game of Thrones marathon to build their business
The person who tries to make something out of what’s seemingly nothing
Or simply going against the flow of as they do what feels right for them
My "it" didn't have a face, it was an emotion I pursued.
I actually did go to a university (SCAD), with academic honors even, but I dropped out. And I actually did work the 9 to 5 life but realized my instincts were right.
Throughout the years, my "it" has revealed itself more and more.
I love creating intimate & meaningful relationships with people whose values & personalities align with mine
I love marrying my knowledge of graphic design with social media to help these people and brands breathe life into their ideas
I’ve gained more knowledge throwing myself into my field early on in life rather than by sitting in a university classroom getting textbook smart. I never pursued careers to look attractive on paper. The kind of people I want to impress and connect with value our similar ideologies and creative processes. Resumes are helpful but anyone can craft compelling copy with enough effort or budget. My interviews for the best jobs I’ve held always began with a conversation to gauge compatibility with our views and personalities. The resume review came after. The art of human connection is where the real magic happens, in my opinion.
I believe an absurd amount of talent and diamonds in the rough are lost because of screening software and people who place far too much importance on big names on paper. All some people need is an opportunity to prove themselves. A degree will never tell you how hungry someone is for experience and proving their worth to themselves and the company.
It's ok to pursue an emotion as you find your purpose. The only permission you need is your own. Even when you've found purpose you'll find it take different forms because your life is a state of constant evolution. Self-awareness and actually performing well in real life were more important to me. So I pursued a large variety of jobs & work environments to gain a high amount of self-awareness, refine skills where my passions lie (social media and design), and made myself versatile with my skillset.
Even though the course of this path sometimes changes as you explore yourself, the ingredients stay the same. You just begin to understand how much of these ingredients you need. Social media tends to make us get major FOMO (fear of missing out). After all, the life coaches out there want you to feel that so you bite at their sales pitch.
Struggling is not a bad thing. You will struggle in life regardless of whether you pursue your purpose or live it for others – the question is which will you choose?