“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” — Aristotle
One of the hardest questions to answer is also one of the simplest and most profound: what do you want?
Whether it’s your personal or professional life, a short-term or long-term situation, it’s not an easy question to fully answer. Your desires can seem to change every year, every week, every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Stop and think to yourself for a moment — what do you want right now? Is it different from what you want tomorrow?
The first question sparks others. What are you prioritizing? Are you assessing yourself based on past actions or anticipated steps? Don’t let your past and previous experiences hold you back from new things. Ignore practicality for a bit: what do you want to do and achieve?
You may remember that as a child, these thoughts were much more common to you. Adults around you would always ask: what do you want to do when you grow up? Perhaps you remember what you had answered back then. Why do you think it was so much easier to envision your answer when you were younger? You were less afraid of hurdles then — and you certainly shouldn’t let them stop you now. Use that part of your mind to think of the big picture, rather than the small, mundane, insignificant details of the day-to-day. Worry less about your loud neighbors and traffic and more about what your personal dreams are and how to make them a reality.
As you grow older, face more challenges, attend school and enter the work force, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and of your dreams. Some people may live their whole lives just doing what was expected of them, never discovering what they truly wanted. It’s never too late to wake up from the trance of your regular routine, to turn off the cruise control of your life.
“The only journey is the journey within.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
Be selfish. What makes you happy? Do you have a hobby or something you are passionate about in particular? What are your next steps moving forward? On the other side of the coin, what makes you unhappy? Finally, once you’ve got your priorities sorted out, what’s holding you back?
That’s a lot of questions, but you don’t need to answer them all right away. If you don’t have the answers now, revisit the questions throughout your day. It could take days or weeks to discover what is true for you. If you don’t think you’ve found the right answer, don’t be afraid of experimenting — you might fall in love with what you find. At worst, you won’t like it and won’t have to try it again. Every attempt to get to know yourself is essential progress on the road to your happiness and fulfillment.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” — Henry David Thoreau
Unearth more of what is in store for you and unlock skills, talents, and traits within yourself. Stay positive on your journey to becoming a happier you. Good and bad experiences will teach you more about yourself and ultimately guide you to discovering what you want out of life.
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Originally published at medium.com.