What am I doing here? What is my life purpose?
Anyone who has ever sat in a Philosophy class may have heard their professor ask a question like this. “Why are we here?”, “Where are we going?”, or “What is my purpose in life?”
Plato once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
So it is a good thing to think and reflect on one’s life and consider the things that matter most. College is a good time to think about these things, but it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead for students who are in high school as they think about their lives after school.
Having a plan is essential for a lot of reasons. It gives a young person purpose regarding their lives and how they will chart their course. Deciding what to major in, discovering new friends and hobbies, joining college organizations, and even working part-time can help them find out what is important to them.
How to Plan Your Life
Many years ago, an author named Jim Davidson wrote a series of books called, “How to Plan Your Life.” In the books, he was talking to young people who had yet to decide the course of their life and career. He made the statement at the beginning of the book that most people spend more time and energy into planning a party than they do at planning their lives.
He had worked in several different types of odd jobs, from mowing lawns to driving trucks and many other types of jobs that didn’t equal a career for him. Then he attended a commencement of his high school town in Arkansas and thought about the young people who were graduating that night and how they needed more direction for their lives. As a result, he started a motivational book and audiotape company (this was before CDs or mp3s), where he went into schools and colleges and spoke to young people about what they wanted to do with their lives. Very few of them had a clue about how to answer.
He decided to create an entire company with the philosophy of helping young people to plan their lives in a step-by-step way that would help them get to their goals one step at a time. It’s vital that young people find what they love to do but also find a way to make those skills pay off.
He suggested some key principles that are still relevant today, and he devised the following questions that students should ask themselves as they prepare to enter college or career:
1. Who am I?
2. Where am I?
3. Where am I going in life?
4. How will I get there?
5. What kind of person will I be?
6. What must I do to make success happen?
This may seem pretty straightforward, but it works. If young people can answer the above questions honestly, they will be formulating a plan for success because they will have a better understanding of who they are and where they are in life now, and then define where they want to be in the future. Question 5 helps define their character and think about what they want to use as their life’s philosophy. Question 6 asks them to write down the steps needed to reach their goal. It forces them to plan the steps that they must take to get to their goal.
Keep in mind that there are many ways to reach a goal. But having a succinct plan of what a person wants will keep their mind focused on the prize while they devise a plan to achieve it.
It’s good for young people to explore career ideas, talk to people in different industries, and study college brochures. But they should always make sure to choose a path of study not because their friends are going into that profession or for any other reason other than it is what their passion is and what they love.
Discovering what one is meant to do is the goal and this can only be done by careful self-reflection and analysis.