Feeling lost or uncertain about what you want in life is a common experience for many people. This can manifest in a number of ways, such as feeling unfulfilled in the job, uninspired in personal life, or unsure of long-term goals and aspirations.
Steps to Overcome Uncertainty
1. Identify the source of uncertainty
This can clarify the uncertainty and decide what specific information or resources are needed to address it.
One of the reasons for this feeling of not knowing what you want is that people have multiple desires, aspirations, and motivations, which can sometimes contradict. Sometimes, prioritizing and making sense of your impulses can leave you confused and unsettled.
Societal and Cultural Pressures
Social and cultural influences, family and friend expectations, and past experiences might cause confusion, unmotivated, and inability to set goals. It might be challenging to figure out what you want in life when society pressures you to comply.
Personal growth and development
Another reason may be people change their interests, desires, and motivations change over time, so what they wanted earlier in life may not be the same as what they want now. It can be difficult to keep up with these changes and to adapt to them, which can contribute to the feeling of not knowing what you want/ uncertainty.
Lack of reflection
It is also possible that people may struggle to identify what they want in life because they haven’t taken the time to truly reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations. They may be so caught up in the demands and demands of day-to-day life that they haven’t taken the time to think about what they truly want and what makes them happy.
2. Explore Possibilities
Exploring possibilities is an important step in figuring out what you want when you’re feeling uncertain or directionless. It allows you to gain new perspectives, discover new interests and passions, and get a sense of what options are available to you. Here are some ways you can explore possibilities:
Make a list of interests and passions
Write down a list of things that you enjoy doing or that you’ve always been curious about. This could include hobbies, activities, or subjects that you’re interested in. Consider what you like to do in your free time, what kind of books you read, what shows you watch, and what your usual conversations revolve around.
Research different industries, careers, and lifestyles
Once you have a sense of your interests and passions, research the different industries, careers, and lifestyles that align with them. Explore numerous job positions, responsibilities, and criteria to find one that fits you. Researching different lifestyles, such as remote working, traveling, etc also can give you insights about what you want.
Try new things and gain new experiences
It’s often hard to know what you want until you’ve had a chance to try it out. Consider taking a class or workshop in something that interests you, or volunteering for an organization that aligns with your values. You can try new activities, travel to new places, or even take a gap year to explore what you want to do. The more new experiences you gain, the more you’ll learn about yourself and what you truly enjoy.
Talk to people
Seek out people who have made different choices, ask about their experiences and their struggles, and ask for their advice, this can be a great way to explore what is possible and get a sense of what you might like to do.
Reflect and journal
While exploring, take time to reflect on your experiences and thoughts. Write down what you liked and didn’t like about each experience, how it made you feel, and what you learned. This can help you figure out what you desire by revealing patterns in what you like and dislike.
Exploring possibilities can be a time-consuming and sometimes confusing process. However, by taking the time to research, try new things, and reflect on your experiences, you can gain a better understanding of what you want, and what options are available to you. It’s important to stay open-minded and not dismiss any option too quickly as you never know what can change your perspective.
3. Making a Decision
Making a decision when you’re unsure of what you want can be difficult. But it is an important step in figuring out what you truly want and moving forward in your life. Here are some steps that can help you make a decision:
Set realistic and specific goals
Once you’ve explored different possibilities and have a sense of what you’re interested in, set specific and realistic goals for yourself. Setting realistic and specific goals is crucial for overcoming uncertainty, as it provides a clear direction and a sense of control,” according to Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist and author of the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.”
Dweck states that setting clear and challenging goals helps people focus, succeed, and feel accomplished and purposeful. Additionally, when goals are specific and realistic, it’s more likely that they can be accomplished. This leads to building self-confidence and more resilience towards uncertainty. As individuals strive to reach their goals, they are better able to adapt and overcome the uncertainty that may arise in their journey.
Consider potential consequences and trade-offs
Before making any decision, it’s important to consider the potential consequences and trade-offs of your choices. In what ways can one expect to gain or lose by choosing each alternative? What are the risks and opportunities? To what extent will it have both immediate and long-term consequences? This can help you to make an informed decision and to anticipate any challenges you may face.
Trust your intuition and take action
Ultimately, you’ll have to rely on your own intuition when making a decision about what you want. While it’s important to consider the potential consequences and trade-offs, it’s also important to trust your own feelings and desires. Take time to reflect and think about the options and the pros and cons, then make the decision that feels right to you. The most important part is to take action and not just keep thinking and delaying your decision.
Be open to changing direction
Making a decision doesn’t mean you’re locked into that decision forever. Life is full of unexpected changes. So be open to changing direction if it becomes clear that a decision you’ve made is no longer what you want. It’s not a failure, it’s a sign of growth and self-awareness, and that’s what’s important.
Making a decision isn’t a guarantee that it’s the “right” one, but it’s a step in the right direction. Taking action, even if it fails, is better than doing nothing. And being open to change, reassessing your decision, and making adjustments as needed can help you stay aligned with what you truly want in life.
Overcoming uncertainty requires identifying its source of it, exploring all possibilities, and making a decision. This procedure will help people grasp the situation better, eliminate uncertainty, and take action. As one takes on the process, it’s also important to be aware of how one might feel, and use self-compassion to reduce stress.