How to Find Direction in Life

Three Methods:Scanning Your HorizonsExploring PossibilitiesPursuing a Direction

The universe is vast, and it can be hard to find your way. If you don't have direction, you may feel listless, frustrated, and even depressed. Remember that it can be very difficult to get anywhere while you're staring off at the horizon. The key to finding direction is to put your feet on the ground and start exploring the options around you. Purpose must come about organically.

Method 1
Scanning Your Horizons

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    Notice what you truly enjoy doing. If you find passion, it will come from an accumulation of joyful time spent doing something that you love. Think about what you are drawn to: the things that you do when no one asks you to do anything at all. Before you focus on where you are going, focus on what makes you happy.
    • There are many kinds of enjoyment. You may find that you enjoy passive pleasures, but that you also enjoy challenging yourself. Look for the most fulfilling ways that you can challenge yourself.
    • Happiness is a solid foundation for success. If you spend your time on things that you do not love, then you may not put as much of yourself into your work. Ask yourself whether it is enough to be merely content.
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    Look for inspiration. Purpose comes from people. Find your Don't expect your direction to well up unprompted from within. To find your direction, you will need to be inspired – and inspiration is often sparked by a catalyst in the world around you.[1]
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    Define success for yourself. "Success" means something slightly different to everyone, and it is ultimately up to you to decide what makes a meaningful life. Make a list of things that you value: e.g. love, adventure, justice, fame. What do you need to feel happy and fulfilled? What is "enough?"[2]
    • Think about how these values might spur you in a certain direction. If you feel deeply called to help people, then you should look into careers focused on helping people. If you feel that it is most important for you to exercise your creativity, then you should do that.
    • It's okay to seek advice from friends, parents, and teachers whom you admire. Speak to successful people in your community and find out how they got to where they are today.

Method 2
Exploring Possibilities

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    Try something. Accept that you may not be able to tell with absolute certainty that a given choice is the "right" choice. Embrace the fact that the direction you choose may not be perfect. Remember that nothing is permanent. Time is the only constant direction, as the life of a human goes. You can always adjust your course as you go: but you cannot know which adjustments you'll need to make until you get started.[3]
    • The important thing is that you are engaging with your life. Don't just sit back and watch time go by. Live passionately, even if you are never absolutely certain.
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    Be bold. There is no telling whether anything will "work out," and you cannot predict exactly where any given choice will take you. You may fail, and you may succeed. You may find that you completely redefine what it means to fail and to succeed. Take a chance on yourself and follow a spark of passion. This is the only life you've got.[4]
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    Take small steps to start. You don't need to quit your job, drop out of school, or book a one-way plane ticket to a faraway place in order to find your direction. Granted: these grand leaps can be wonderful, catalyzing forces that lead to understanding yourself and discovering your deepest passions. First, however, look for ways to test out your ideas in the margins of your everyday life.
    • Volunteer. If you think you might be interested in working within a particular field, consider taking volunteer opportunities that allow you to get a better sense of what it's like to work in that field. Volunteer at an animal shelter, or at a nonprofit, or as a research assistant, or at a museum.
    • Look for internships. An internship can be a great way to explore a given company or field without fully committing to that direction. Internships may be paid or unpaid.
    • Learn something new. Make productive use of your free time by learning a skill that strikes your interest. Perhaps your direction in life lies in music, or dance, or programming, or painting. Don't worry too much about why you're learning something – just follow the spark of passion.
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    Make a commitment to grow. Challenge yourself to try something new each week: something that scares you and takes you out of your comfort zone. Make learning a conscious practice. Do not wait for life to come to you!

Method 3
Pursuing a Direction

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    Commit to a direction. You don't have to be absolutely certain that this is the "right" path. Trust yourself, and trust that you will be able to escape any given set of circumstances if you no longer feel that you are moving forward. Make your choice and see where it goes. Throw yourself into a job, a journey, a practice, or a community that inspires a flare of passion within you.
    • Do not be afraid to make sacrifices. Do not be afraid to commit. Remember that no commitment is permanent. You can always drop out and change direction.
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    Work hard and be present. If you're always halfway in and halfway out of a commitment, then you won't be able to say that you have given a direction a fair chance. Suspend your doubts for a time, and focus on the joys of doing exactly what you are doing.
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    Believe in yourself. Follow your dreams despite the ups and downs of life. Let your passion and your intention guide you as you build momentum in the right direction. Direction is knowing where you're going. Trust yourself.[5]
    • Persevere even if nobody else believes in you. This not to say, however, that you should ignore good advice.
    • Have confidence in your abilities. Follow through on your decisions.
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    Check in with yourself. Accept that you will change, that your needs will change, and that your purpose will change.[6] Pursue your choices wholeheartedly, but do not let yourself become trapped in a situation that doesn't fulfill you. Every so often, ask yourself whether you are still engaged and invested in what you're doing. Perhaps you need to change direction, and perhaps you merely need to adjust your sails.[7]
    • Ask yourself:
      • "Am I growing in the ways that I want to be growing?"
      • "Am I happy? Am I satisfied?"
      • "Does this direction feel worthwhile?"
      • "What can I do to make things better?"


  • If you haven't found it yet, keep trying.
  • "Direction" refers to finding a way. Find a way that gives you inner satisfaction.
  • Make friends with people having common passion as yours.
  • Read stuff about more successful people from the same field.
  • Analyze, but don’t overanalyze. Be open to what life has to offer you right now.

Article Info

Categories: Faith and Belief | Philosophy