It’s natural to want to know where you’re going in life. It feels good to have a clear trajectory for where you are heading.
So when you feel lost, it isn’t as glamorous as Julia Roberts makes it look in Eat, Pray, Love. It’s uncomfortable. You likely feel a secret sense of shame and the last thing you want is to share or connect with others until you figure things out.
So, how do you cope with living in this state? Or better yet, how do you fix it?
I’ll be real with you, there’s no quick, there is no fast-acting solution for how to figure out your life. I’ve found a little extra perspective is powerful. So, if you’re feeling lost in your life, here are 5 books that might help:
1. Off The Beaten Trail by Jake Heilbrunn
Do you wonder what to do when the whispers in your mind saying something isn’t right can’t be ignored any longer? This book follows the path of a young man who decided to listen to this inner voice and go on a physical journey, to Central America.
This story shines the light on how vast life can be and how limitless the possibilities of your life can truly be. If you are living in a place of doubt or discontent, the lessons lived out in this book might be just what you need.
2. Life Will Be The Death of Me by Chelsea Handler
Therapy. A tool that can completely transform your life, or transform your wallet…it all depends on what happens between the four walls, and I suppose who your therapist is. In this book, Chelsea, an accomplished comedian, opens up about her personal struggles and waking up to realize, she wanted to change her life.
I used to always laugh at the tabloid magazine sections “Celebrities are just like us” where they would show Taylor Swift in a 7-Eleven or Ben Affleck smoking a cigarette outside at the beach. The reality is, they are. I found it refreshing to read a book about someone so accomplished, and funny, that is struggling with the same things everyone else does. She talks through answering the questions: Why am I here, what should I do with my life? And how can I change?
3. You Turn by Ashley Stahl
There are moments in life that change everything, where you are heading on the freeway zooming 65 miles per hour (may 80…) and suddenly, realize your heading in the wrong direction and need to turn around…you need to take a You Turn.
While this book is heavily career-focused, the tips and tools are powerful for guiding you through creating clarity in your life. When I felt lost in life, I started off by thinking it was all about my career. While this was a piece of the void feeling that filled me, it wasn’t the only one. Once I shifted my career, largely to the support of this book and author’s insight, I was able to connect even more with my true self.
4. The Book of Joy by Dali Lama and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu
What happens when a Buddhist, Christian, and Jew sit down? A lot more laughing than you would think. This book is one I would recommend everyone on the planet read, whether you feel lost or found.
This book is a series of conversations between the Dali Lama and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. This is all about how to live a more joyful life. The reason this book makes the list is because, the more joy you experience in life, the more at peace you will become. So often we are searching for a tangible solution, be it a new job, a better relationship, a clear path to follow, but really, when you’re lost you are actually searching for a feeling.
5. Siddhartha by Hermman Hesse
Senior year of college my swim coach told me to read this book. I hadn’t done a single yoga class, nor meditated for a moment, so being handed this book was quite confusing. But I read it, and found out exactly why he gave it to me…I needed to calm the F* down about life and allow it to unfold.
This is a classic novel all about self-discovery. It follows one man’s spiritual journey to, yes, enlightenment. Sometimes it’s easier to gain perspective and understanding when you view the same issue from a different lens. While the themes of this book are Buddhist in nature, the message is powerful for anyone who is on a journey to find themselves.
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This article first appeared on Medium.