dear person who doesn’t know what they’re doing with their life,

No one knows what they’re doing. Through experience, asking around a lot, failing repeatedly, and being lucky, some people learn how to do some things. Maybe people get to the point where they can develop an achievable grand goal. For the most part, we’re guessing. We’re taking risks and hoping that our past experience is enough to base the future off of. Perhaps there are individuals out there, hiding under rocks and behind fake plants who genuinely know what they want to do, love it when they get there, and keep doing it for their whole life. What’s important to realize is that most people don’t fall into that category.

Consider how many atoms there are. Now consider how many electrons there now. Now think about quarks, leptons, antiquarks, antileptons, and realize that we are incapable of grasping how many atoms there were; how could you physically grasp how many quarks there are? It’s beyond us, we have no frame of reference to understand how tiny and numerous elementary particles of atoms are. Here’s the important question: does it matter? Functionally, no. It didn’t matter that Anaximander and rest of the ancient Greek philosophers didn’t know what elementary particles were, they still were made of them. They still lived full lives, had a great impact on the world, and got the chance to share some really interesting perspectives with those around them. We don’t need to understand every facet of the world to live a good life in it. We couldn’t physically do it, and it would be a waste of time even if we did.

Why don’t we see our lives in this way? There are so many factors milling about, forming our existence. We can’t know what is ahead of us. The unknown will never go away. Being afraid of the unknown is irrational because we can’t know the nature of it. Living in fear will make us less effective at everything else, and that’s still assuming fear makes us more prepared. Maybe it makes sense if you’re wandering around in neolithic times, worried about a tiger pouncing on you. In the modern world, it’s largely a stumbling block. If you’re afraid of getting fired, you being afraid won’t make being fired any less difficult to find another job after. There’s a potential that the fear might make the failure more easy to deal with at the moment, but dealing with problems effectively doesn’t require it. We will always be unprepared for something, and that’s part of life, not necessarily a stamp of shame.

At the same time, even if we know our fears are irrational, it doesn’t mean we stop feeling them. Getting angry at ourselves because it’s irrational or pretending like it doesn’t matter doesn’t address the problem. We get angry. We become anxious and stressed. We can be incredible balls of negative energy when we feel like it. The trick is to ask ourselves why we feel the way we do, to understand why we’ve gotten ourselves worked up. If it’s something we can fix, then we should try to fix it. If it’s something we can’t, we have to learn to let go. Neither of those things is easy. Learning to deal with our emotions is something that will take a long while because they are integral to who we are. It’s something we work on, little by little, doing what we can where we can.

We don’t know what we’re doing, but what is easier to answer is, what are we doing right now? We can start with realizing that we are breathing. Then we can realize what position our body is in. Then slowly, we can work our way out to the room we’re in, the time of day, and start to consider things that are broader. What are your typical activities? What are you currently accomplishing where you are, in your job or education or in whatever your present situation is? Those are practical things, graspable things. That is what you are doing with your life, regardless of your past and your future plans. When it comes to the future, it’s a matter of looking for opportunities to the best of your ability, to try and take them when they come your way. Maybe you’ll eventually be able to start planning for a big goal, but the priority is in the present. Do what you can. Focus on what you can accomplish right now. If you take opportunities that you end up hating, then learn from it and try something else. We are limited in many ways, but if you assume the doors are locked, you’ll never find the one that isn’t.

Dear person reading this, I don’t know what you will do with your life, and you don’t either. However, what you do is up to you. The unknown is scary, but it could also be wonderful, and at the very least, parts of it will be boring. Focus on now, and keep going, because the other options are miserable and frankly, dull.

the bogeyman commitment

There is such a power in routine. Doing something every day takes will power, takes focus, takes a commitment to your values. When we do go out of our way every single day to accomplish some task, that’s meaningful. Even if we don’t view that thing as important or relevant to us, our consistent actions make us a lot of who we are.

The best time to carry out a habit is in the morning because that’s when your will power is strongest. Then habits are easier when we carry them out in the same way. For example, at the same time, in the same order of events, and in the same place. Finally, the best way to continually stick to a habit is if you do it. We can overthink ourselves into giving up anything. By dreading and displaying contempt for a task, we make carrying out that task 1000% more difficult. Another bonus of forming a habit in the morning is that you are so mentally groggy, you don’t have to mental capacity to talk yourself out of it after that first initial phase of deciding to do it.

My advice is to form a good habit. It doesn’t have to be massive or incredibly important, just this task you carry out every day. And by forcing yourself to do this every day, we train our pysche to better handle consistency and sticking to our promises. It grows our will power. Then eventually, we can train ourselves to do bigger, harder things in the evening. Commitment is something that a lot of people struggle with. That’s okay. But making efforts to try and turn that around can change how we view ourselves and how we view our goals.

the coordinates of right here, right now

We are who we are. No matter who we want to be, and no matter who we’ve been, right now you are the person you are. There’s both good things and bad things about our current state. Maybe we’re forward, which makes us easy to get to know but hard to deal with at times. Or, maybe we’re too soft spoken, too willing to let people talk over us, but can really get along with others.

There’s no ‘perfect’ combination of traits inside a single human being that makes them inherently better than anyone else. We all are surviving the best we can with what we have. All of our vices have virtues, and all of our virtues vices. The real question is this: What are you going to about it? If you want to be something you’re not, the best way to get there is to do the things that that person does. Don’t buy a yacht just because you want to be a billionaire, but ask yourself what part of that lifestyle you want. If it’s for the materials, then become hardworking by working hard on what’s in front of you. You might not have the strappings of a billionaire, but you can have the ambition, drive, and work ethic of self-made one. There will always be cause to do anything; we are masters at justification. So do what you know you need to do! Pay attention to your conscience and people’s advice.

The first step to anything is realizing where you are. No matter who you are, there is something you can fix about yourself. However, there’s also some good, some talent in you too! We tend to overlook our natural talents because for us, there’s always there. Math is incredibly difficult to a lot of people, if you can do that? That’s a skill! That’s something good about your abilities! Maybe it’s not math, maybe it’s writing, or being a good friend, or being hard working, or being creative, or any of a multitude of things! Yes, go out and be the person you want to be– you have that capability. You are who you are, but that doesn’t make that place a rut, nor does it make it the only place you can be. Life is a journey and we’re progressing whether we like it or not. Actively decide where you want to progress to, because you have talents to get you places if you look in the right places.