What Do You Want From Your Life?

May is college graduation month. Across the country young people are peering into the world to see where to go from here. In this process they often get asked, “what do you want to do with your life?” The question is light and innocuous, but has profound effects if it goes unanswered for too long. And for far too many of us it does go unanswered for too long.

Many of us don’t know what we want out of our lives, even as we move into our golden years. A few years ago I was delivering a continuing education class to a group of 30 intelligent, high-achieving North Carolina Attorneys (most of them over the age of 40), and I asked them the same question. “What do you want from your life?” They didn’t know the answer either.

If this question has such profound effects, how do so many of us get so far into life and not know how to answer it?

Elizabeth Neeld’s Seven Choices: Finding Daylight after Loss Shatters Your World is about Neeld’s process of reconstructing purpose in her life after the abrupt death of her young husband. Neeld talks about walking into a public bathroom and seeing graffiti on the wall that said:

              “What do I want?” This is the world’s most disturbing question.

I am inclined to agree. “What do I want?” is the world’s most disturbing question, because answering it requires us to look inward and discover who we truly are. This is scary. What if we peer into our souls and don’t like what we see? What will we really find when we dig deeper? These fears drive many of us away from taking the personal journey within, and they keep us from asking what we truly want out of our lives.

It is those who ask who they are and what they want out life and seek the answers that live the most meaningful lives. When you know who you are and what you want, you can set yourself on the path to get there.

If you want a meaningful life, you must ask yourself the world’s most disturbing question. And then you must have the courage to go inward and find the answer. Discover who you are at your core and work outward - knowing yourself is the starting point for amazing and magical things.

Until next week, may you be surrounded by all the llama llove you can handle.

Tomi Llama