Millennials have it tough – we want more to life than just a repetitive 9-to-6 job and the monotony that predictability brings. Often, we may feel like we are stuck in a rut and question whether we have the capability to even do more. We have heard of many success stories of people saying ‘follow your dreams and your passion’, but how can we do that when we are unsure of what we want to pursue? We hope that the tips below can help to bring you one step closer to discovering your true identity and purpose!
1. Reflect on your past
Reflecting on the past doesn’t mean to dwell on things that have happened and view it as a representation of who you will always be! Rather, when we reflect on the past with a good balance of both logic and emotion, we can obtain information about ourselves that we may not have clearly known before and also embrace our past as a display of growth.
Think of it as if you’re watching a movie: what did you like about it and what did you not like? Were there any activities that enticed you? What made you smile the most? What were the things that made you scared or angry?
Then, think about yourself now, in the present – in what ways have you changed and in what ways have you stayed the same?
This way, we can pick out the things which make us feel that life is meaningful, be it precious relationships or exciting hobbies, and try to incorporate these things into our life more and more.
2. Core values
What makes each person unique is that we all have different core values, personalities, and outlook on life; and that’s why we need not conform to others’ definition of a fulfilling life.
To start off, you could identify 5 to 10 core values across various aspects such as family, career, ambition and relationships. What are your expectations and priorities? In an ideal world, where would you see yourself living comfortably in 10 years time? Are there any deal-breakers that threaten your core values?
With time, a clearer image of your unique identity will form and this will help guide you towards choices that align with your beliefs.
3. Try new things
‘If you never try, you’ll never know’ — perhaps you haven’t found something that fills your life with greater purpose! Take some time off during the weekend to just try new things and expose yourself to the various experiences out there. You could try baking, doing outdoor sports, pick up photography and so on; you could even do it with a friend! Eventually, you will find a number of activities and people that make you feel rooted in your identity.
4. Seek others for their opinions
Humans are ultimately social creatures! It can be good for us to solidify our identity by looking at the way we carry ourselves and treat other people. Do others view you in the same way that you view yourself? Are there any inconsistencies? Perhaps with a third-party perspective, we may be able to better pick out some areas of our identity and personality that have been overlooked. It can also help us to change some of the traits that don’t align with the identity that we wish to form.
Identity formation is more than just understanding and knowing who you are. When we are confused and lost, we may find ourselves scrambling to hold on to anything that we encounter, in hopes that it will one day give us the purpose and satisfaction that we seek. Yet, it is only through mindful reflection on what we should embrace and what we should let go of that we are able to lead a life filled with meaning and purpose.
Co-Founder of The Joyful Investors and Manager of The Moneyball Portfolio. I graduated with a degree in Economics in National University of Singapore (NUS). My previous experience with traders at the Merrill Lynch enable me to realize many counter-intuitive truths about how the financial markets work and to uncover the challenges faced by many new investors. We believe that investing can be astoundingly simple and want to make financial education understandable for everyone.
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