Yeah, ever stop and ask yourself that question? ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?’. Has kind of an uncanny ring to it, right?
If you haven’t, now’s the chance.
And by the way, I don’t blame you if you haven’t. It’s huge.
See, I’m not talking about those awkward situations where you find yourself pulling away on a doorknob on which it clearly says ‘PUSH’. I’m talking about the purpose behind each and every one of your actions.
So, what’s the purpose behind your actions?
Do you HAVE a purpose?
If no, why not?
Asking oneself these questions eventually leads towards that ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?’.
And I’ll say it again: I’m not here to blame or judge you if you aren’t aware of any such purpose yet. Hell, it took me more than one entire third of a century to get mine figured out.
However, once I did, the path before me shone up like something that can really shine up.
Now, if you do this right, you might find, like I did, that you’re headed down an entirely wrong direction. This might instil an existential fear and anxiety in some, but it’s actually a good thing. Because now you’ll be certain of what NOT to do.
Yes, there will be a period of transition, and yes, it’s gonna be hard. But it’ll also be necessary to get where you want to go.
Like Confucius said, “No matter where you go, there you are”. But wherever we happen to be doesn’t have to dictate where we go next.
However, to know where we wanna go, this is where the aforementioned purpose is crucial. And to know our purpose, we need to be aware of our values.
I invite you to do the following exercise:
1. Write an exhaustive list of all of the major turning points in your life. Those powerful moments which really turned you and your life around for good.
It might be sudden insights, ‘eureka’-moments, an unforeseen question, reading an article, a new friendship, the death of a loved one, etc.. They should all feel more or less like the proverbial ‘point of no return’.
You might not have very many, and that’s all good. But try to go deep here.
2. Once you’ve identified these points, going back in time as far as it still makes sense to you, analyse them one by one. For each of these turning points, ask yourself exactly what it did to you. Did it challenge something in you? Did it reinforce something? Maybe a little bit of both? What was challenged, and what was reinforced? And what changed after that?
3. By now, you should see a clear pattern of single, positively connotated words that occur almost all the way through. These are highly likely to be your values. — Especially the ones that have been reinforced in positive situations, or in hard circumstances that you still handled successfully.
Whenever you’re aware of your values, the initial ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?‘ suddenly has another ring to it, doesn’t it?
If we want to live the life we deep down know that we deserve, our actions need to be aligned with our values. And if you’re working a menial job behind a desk in an anonymous cubicle in a soul-crushing corporation, chances are that you’re probably not living our your values.
So, why am I doing what I’M doing, you ask? Because it aligns with my personal values, which are independence, confidence, self-esteem, energy, strength, courage, and freedom.
What are yours?