I’ve noticed a recurring problem: more and more people don’t know what to do with their lives. Even just in their day to day life, they are clueless about what they should be doing.
This happens because we’re living in an age of abundance. Abundance of information, thus possibilities. Our brain hasn’t been rewired yet to deal with infinite options. So, when facing an unlimited array of choices, we do what our brain is set to automatically do: think. We try to think our way through each possibility. We attempt to figure out mentally all the possible outcomes and what’s the best choice. But guess what? We can’t.
It is impossible to weigh out all the data, all the ins and out, all the information to process when facing a choice. Yet it’s what we always try to do and why we often end up in a paralyzing loop.
After all, I should know, because I’ve been a victim of this for years.
Do something today. Right now.
When you’re stuck, more thinking is never a solution. Tacking action is.
So when in a rut, when you don’t know what to do, stop your thinking and break the cycle immediately: do something.
It’s the Do Something Principle (coined by Mark Manson in one of the greatest book I’ve read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck).
Move. Do random stuff. Don’t look for validation. Do not care if what you’re doing is right or wrong. Do things that are total nonsense.
If you’re sitting, stand up and walk or run. If you’re in front of your laptop, fire up a random program and start doing something with it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong thing, or if it’s pointless. At least you’re doing something.
But don’t open up Facebook, Twitter or start reading blog posts. Consuming is not doing something. Be active, not passive. Reading (or any form of passive consumption like TV or social media) is even worse than thinking. I’m not telling you to stop thinking to have you mindlessly consuming.
Want examples of being active?
- Taking a walk.
- Calling someone and have a chat with them.
- Any kind of creative activity: writing down your thoughts or whatever is in your head, drawing, programming, singing, taking random pictures.
- Cleaning/tidying up.
- Fixing things
These are all things you can do anytime anywhere (unless you’re in an peculiar place like jail or a waiting room).
Now, that’s a solution to day-to-day blocks. What about more long-term endeavors? How about what one’s supposed to do with their life?
Exactly the same.
Do something with your life. Right now.
Don’t think about what should be your next career move for more than 5 minutes. I’m serious. People assume it’s crucial to study carefully your options when it comes about life projects, but the reality is that the issue doesn’t change: you never really know until you experience.
Do something instead of trying to figure out mentally if it’s the right thing to do.
In other words, Pick one thing and go with it. Give it a go for at least a few weeks, or better yet a few months.
“What if I pick the wrong thing?” I hear you ask. Well, you have 52 weeks, or 12 months each year. That means even if you dedicate 3 whole months to an activity, you can still try out 4 serious projects per year. That’s more than what most people ever try in their life.
And you’ll never really know if it’s the right thing or not unless you truly give it a try for a sustained period of time. There’s a saying I wholeheartedly abide by:
It’s better to try once with your hands than to see a thousand times with your eyes.
To which I’d add: “or than imagining it a thousand times in your mind”. The only real way to know is through experience, not thinking or imagination. And to experience, you have to be doing. So do something now!