It’s surreal to wake up and realize that the life you’ve been living has been on the accord of someone else’s script. Living in New York City and having the opportunity to become a doctor was my dream.
Yet, halfway through my first year, I was empty and searching for something missing.
I started comparing my life and career choices with individuals I met by chance at cafes and throughout the city who were doing what I knew I should be doing — writing.
Why didn’t I just choose this path from the start?
Easy, I was afraid of what others would say and what they would think? Becoming a doctor has proven income compared to the world of a writer.
The more I compared my life and happiness with others, the more despair I fell into.
We live in a hyper–connected world where it’s easy to compare ourselves and then judge our worth based on others life script.
It’s tempting to compare yourself to others on tv, social media, or fall prey to the burden of living up to your families expectations, but resist and take a step back.
Here are three questions that can help you start to forge your own path in life.
1. What do you really want?
As I was juggling with my decision of choosing school or writing, I took a step back and remembered that my time is limited. We only have so many days on this beautiful planet until it’s over.
Each day that goes by where we don’t feel like our true selves is one less day of us sharing our potential gifts with the world and living a rich and fulfilling life.
Thinking about our days as being finite can help us stay focused on what we specifically want out of our individual lives despite the fear, comparison, and expectations of others that may arise.
2. Why do you want it?
We all grow up with some form of an internal script programmed into us. These internal scripts were programmed through the words spoken around us, the modeling of behavior displayed, and life experiences. These scripts provide the story beats to informing us how the world operates and how we should live our lives.
A couple of my examples were “writers never make money”, “success is being married with a white picket fence and a small family by 30”, “you can travel the world when you’re retired”, “your success is determined by the amount of zeroes in your bank account”, and this list can go on and on with each of us having unique scripts that guide our lives.
However, these internal scripts are often unconscious and if left unattended, we’ll make decisions our entire lives based on these pre–programmed scripts.
During this time of transition, I questioned my beliefs and asked myself was it my dream to be a doctor or just something that I thought would look good to others? Was my definition of success in life deemed by me or external influences?
When it comes to forging our own unique paths in life, it’s imperative to take some time and question our beliefs. Are those beliefs yours or someone else’s?
3. How do you want your eulogy to go?
At first glance, this may seem morbid, but imagining your eulogy can be one of the most powerful exercises when you’re seeking clarity. I went beyond money and status at my eulogy. I focused on my character. I thought about my future wife and kids.
For example, imagine telling your kids to follow their dreams and anything is possible when years ago you had the opportunity to follow yours, but didn’t.
When it comes to imagining your eulogy, think about how you want to be remembered as a human being. What you do you want people to say about who you were and what you did?
It’s tempting to compare yourself to others and try to live up to their expectations, but remember this is your life — not anyone else’s. You are the captain of your ship and can steer it in any direction that you please.
Photo: Getty Images