It’s 2013 – most of the people I know want to fall asleep feeling fulfilled and wake up feeling excited. I’m no exception. I want to get paid to do what I love while challenging myself to change the world. Fortunately, I do.

I’m not saying that stepping out of your comfort zone into a wild world of uncertainty is easy. It’s not. Everyone who dares greatly deals with the fear of failure, of not being good enough, of being scrutinized by family and friends, and of facing the heart-dropping doubt that they won’t be able to make enough money while pursuing their passion.

But what’s the alternative? Not doing anything about it, and then feeling nonsensically overwhelmed, like we’re wasting time and energy in unfulfilling ways?! So many of us feel lost, like we’re treading water, waiting for the right person, situation, or job to reveal itself. What the fuck?

“Good is the enemy of great.” – Jim Collins

The thing that gets me is that we have a good life! We have full-size mattresses, eat sushi, play with our $600 iPhones, and live safely in the comfort of our civilized communities. Most of us even make enough money to buy all the trivial things we want.

Come on! We’re a generation raised to feel good about ourselves – we were given gold stars on our HW assignments and had pizza parties on our birthdays in school. You know how many Ninja Turtle toys I had? We’re awesome and we know it!

Who else in the world gets to live with as many luxuries and opportunities as we do?! What generation has had such sweet toys, infinite information, and the ability to be instantly gratified at every angle?!

It ain’t so bad. And if you’re like I was, you feel special, unique and like you should and will be living an even greater life, yet at the same time you feel insecure, anxious, and ashamed that you’re not already living it.

There’s this intangible feeling inside of us – this strange, echoing whisper – this desire mixed with doubt – this fear mixed with fantasy – this stagnant seed of potential, begging to be expressed – this unnamed, unrelenting impulse to venture out into the unknown and do something more, something bigger, and something better with our lives.

Give me a silent head-nod if you know what I mean.

“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” – Abraham Maslow

If you just nodded your head at the screen, you’re not as weird as you might suspect.

All else being equal, relatively speaking, you were born in a place and time that’s like being dealt a pair of pocket aces. Absolutely, we all face challenges, hardship, internal anguish and some of us even oppression, but as a generation, we’ve got pretty lucky lives.

2.7 billion people live on less than $2 per day. I spend that on chocolate.

And although it feels like the entire world idealizes being young and fabulous (like you are), young adulthood isn’t an easy time in our lives.

Trying to make sense of our lives isn’t easy, and we have to figure out SO many different life categories at ones (romantic, social, living, career, spiritual). Corrupt capitalism and superficial pop-culture ideals can turn us cynical, nihilistic, and hopeless. Jumping on the hedonistic treadmill chasing money, fame and sexiness is like drinking salt water when you’re seeking thirst-quenching.

Buddhism presents itself as a sound alternative, with its philosophical implications leading us to detachment from our desires. But let’s be real here… we’re young, ambitious, and filled with dreams.

Ironically, knowing how good we’ve got it can make us feel pretty bad. Who are we to inherit all the world’s privilege, luxury, and chocolate when there are so many less fortunate souls stranded in horrific circumstances struggling to satisfy the most basic of human necessities? Whether intellectually or spiritually, this is something we each individually need to find peace with.

But just because we got dealt a good hand in life doesn’t mean we should fold our cards. Contrarily, play the fuck outta those cards. Do something spectacular with them. You didn’t ask for ’em, but you got ’em. Go out and do something with your one and only precious life.

Maslow articulated it beautifully above. If you plan on being less than you can be, you’re setting yourself up for lifelong unhappiness.

Counter-intuitively, the good life will grow grey quickly, unless we strive to create the best possible life for ourselves while appreciating the mundane moments along the way.

Most of us don’t admit this, but we’ve got the luxury to fall short, fail, and get the fuck back up and try again. We’re two steps away from dancing with our dreams. But we need to gain the clarity and confidence that come only with real life risk and gutsy heart-pounding experiences. This way we can build our character as we persist past challenges, finally breaking though to the next level of our lives.

If you’re as blessed as most people reading this, the biggest risk is not taking the risk.

We deserve to go to sleep feeling accomplished. We deserve to wake up feeling excited. Aiming for anything less will land you in lifelong discomfort.

Yeah, but WTF should I do with my life, Jacob?!

In the age of endless options and infinite 2nd guessing, picking the right path in life isn’t easy. Our generation has more options than ever before in history, yet the paradox is that all those options can make us feel anxious, uncertain, overwhelmed, and afraid to pick *any* option because we don’t wanna pick the wrong one.

The pressure to get it perfect can be paralyzing, and to say I’ve never had a panic-attack about it would be like saying Macklemore’s never been thrifting. (Hey, Macklemore… Can we go thrift shopping?)

Let’s face it… The world is changing and the traditional roadmap for success just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Our families come from a different generation and don’t get the current cultural challenges and desires of being a young adult. Plus, they can passively attempt to backseat-drive our lives, caring much more about our safety than our happiness.

Our friends *might* get us, but if they’re the friends we’ve had since childhood, we’ve most likely grown apart and developed a different sense of values and direction in life. This can leave us feeling isolated, like we’ve got no one to turn to.

Fortunately, the internet can provide us with a temporary sense of relief, helping us to find people we can relate to who also seek a similar sense of passion in their life. But the odds are that these peeps don’t live in, or anywhere near, our hood. Plus it’s easy to get seduced by all the inspiring blogs out there (like this one) and wish it was YOU who was living this extraordinary life. (Did I mention I’m spending the month of March in Hawaii? Seriously.)

It can also feel like we’re running out of time to figure things out, and that the path we pick right now isn’t just gonna dictate our 20s, but also our 30s, 40s, 50s, and the rest of our entire life. If you’re like I was, you may have even started down one path, making a significant time, energy, and financial investment in a direction that you’re now doubting. Changing directions isn’t easy, especially when you can’t eloquently articulate empirically-based evidence about why.

“Uhhh, I kinda, like, sorta, feel, like uhhh, I should follow my passion although I don’t completely know what that is. Know what I mean?”

This leaves us with no shortage of questions.

First and foremost, WTF should we do with our lives? And how the hell are we supposed to make such a significant decision? We hardly know ourselves and definitely don’t know the world – how are we supposed to intelligently predict and dictate our ideal future in a world which is changing faster than we can even notice?

Confusion leads to clarity…

Before we can find answers, we need to start asking the right questions. And before we can start asking the right questions, we need to catch our breath. When I work professionally with people and help them navigate through these challenges, I often start with this example…

Think of a cute lil hamster running on her teeny tiny hamster wheel. She’s a good hamster so she’s hustling really hard, doing what she’s supposed to do in order to get where she’s told she should go. Paradoxically, the faster and faster the hamster runs, the more tired and drained she becomes, never actually getting anywhere. It’s not until she slows down that she realizes, WTF was I doing here? I can jump off!

This is the perfect parallel to what so many of us are going through in life. We’re running and running but we’re trotting someone else’s course. The faster and more fiercely we work, the more increasingly things feel inherently wrong with life.

What to do… What to do…

Well… If you’re on the verge of  a breakdown, congratulations – you’re on your way to a break-through. Confusion leads to clarity, so start by slooowing down and then you can begin asking the *right* questions.

  • What is your definition of success?
  • What excites you?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your values?
  • What areas of your life have been neglected and could use more attention?
  • When in your life have you felt most proud? Why?
  • When in your life have you felt most fulfilled? Why?
  • Who do you admire? Why?
  • Etc..

Study yourself. It’s not sexy, it’s not glamorous, and it’s not gonna land you on TMZ. But it works. Get support from people who “get” you – friends, mentors, a life coach like me – people you respect. 🙂 And finally, hop the fuck off that hamster wheel into the endless abyss of uncertainty, using your knowledge-of-self as a compass to take you in a direction that feels intrinsically on point.

Stop thinking you need to have it all figured out. You don’t. You just need to start by taking a baby-step. You can’t see past one horizon until you get to it. It’s only through the paradox of uncertainty that you can create your ideal life. Learn to find comfort in that terrifyingly uncomfortable truth. It gets so much easier once you get started.

Yes, you’ll be scared. But you can use that fear as momentum to motivate you even more. You’ll find like-minded people to support you on your path – people to help you accomplish similar things that they have.

Living an extraordinary life isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. The world is waiting for you to make an impact in it. And the clock is ticking, tocking, staring you dead in the eyes, asking if you’re really gonna settle for a life less than you’re capable of living.

Being the manly man that I am, asking for help is the last thing I ever wanted to do – screw that, I can figure this out on my own without the need to be vulnerable and admit that I’m confused. But that’s both bullshit, AND stupid.

A few months ago I interviewed social psychologist Dr. Heidi Grant Halverson, author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, for our upcoming virtual-conference coming in April called WTF Should I Do w/ My Life?!

She’s one of the world’s leading experts on the science of success. So I asked her, what stops people from getting the strategies and support they need to be successful? She shared this (I paraphrase slightly)…

{allert}Our intuition about success and failure is wrong. Success is NOT about innate ability. It’s not about brilliance. People who get very good at what they do, do so through effort and experience. We all know someone who’s super smart but not successful.

Success is about what you *do* much more than what you *are*.

Effort, persistence, using effective strategies, seeking guidance from experts, being able to cope with setbacks, seizing opportunities, planning… this is what leads to success!

So much of our beliefs are culturally relevant. For instance, our culture often leads us to believe that if you’re really good at something, it means you don’t need to work hard. That’s crap!

Get rid of the notion that if you reach out for help, you’re not smart. It’s the opposite. Studies show that most of the time when you ask someone for help, they don’t see you as dumb and weak; they admire you and see you as motivated and determined.{/allert}

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

So, you done sitting on the sidelines? You ready to get a little dirty? I’m talking serious personal success and deep soul fulfillment, finding and illuminating a purpose that is hidden deep inside you.

If you feel like I “get” you, and you want to use effective strategies to become the best version of yourself, surround yourself with people you admire, and get paid to find and live your purpose without any guilt, judgment or criticism, then you’d probably be a great fit to work one-on-one with me.

Hang on. Before this gets awkward, I need to clarify something. You’d probably be a horrible fit for my coaching services if you’re not interested in contributing to something larger than yourself, are unwilling to take consistent guided action, and aren’t excited to make a substantial time and money investment in yourself.

I currently have a few coaching slots open for my 2 month program. If you’re interested, you can apply here. We can set up a free “get to know each other” chat to see if I think we’d be a good fit.

PS: Lookout for our virtual conference called WTF Should I Do w/ My Life?! coming in April, where I interview over 30 world-leading thinkers asking them questions on everything I wrote about above, plus more.

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