What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

It’s Okay If You Don’t Know What To Do With Your Life

Here are the first 3 answers I can remember, that I gave to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”:

  1. Astronaut.
  2. Secret agent.
  3. Race car driver.

I think race car driver was the first one. I always had a big picture of a Ferrari F40 on my wall.

Passion #1 — Cars

Of course that meant for Christmas I’d often get car models and Hot Wheels. Eventually though, I got a Lego car — and that triggered passion #2.

One of the first Lego sets that I got included a space shuttle. I already imagined myself in a space suit, with the big helmet, going to the moon.

Passion #2 — Space

However, the coolest part of building with legos was that there were no limits — if you could imagine it, you could build it. Which, in turn, triggered what I thought would be my true passion: inventor!

I built the models, took them apart, modified them, combined them, and made them even better. Until they came up with Lego soccer.

Passion #4 — Soccer

This set was so cool and close to playing a real soccer game at the time, that it actually made me go outside — and play real soccer. When I was 7, me and the neighbor’s kids played outside 24/7.

But we didn’t just play soccer. We played every ball sport you can think of.

Hockey, Soccer, Football, Basketball — we even had a Baseball set and played on someone else’s property, not that we knew the rules or anything.

Passion #7 — Hockey

Until the next thing came around: The original Game Boy.

Don’t get me wrong, we were still outside all the time — but from now on we just sat in the grass, playing with our Game Boys. If you know where Game Boy stands in the dictionary, then you also know what word comes right after it:

Pokémon!

Passion #11 — Pokémon

Like everywhere, Pokémon was huge in Germany. We played always and everywhere. Even in school. And when we weren’t playing Pokémon, we were watching the show on TV.

Eventually it was forbidden to bring Game Boys to school. But that didn’t matter, because right then, the Pokémon trading card game came out.

Passion #12 — Card Games

There was even a Pokémon league, where you could go every week to play against others and trade cards.


I’m going to stop here. We haven’t even gotten to 10-year-old me and we’ve already breezed through a dozen passions. The point is:

I don’t know what I want to do with my life either. And I want you to realize that that’s okay.

In fact, I think few people do, even fewer ever have this all-encompassing, all-defining arc over their lives.

One of the few things that hasn’t changed in the past 16 years is that I keep on changing. Right now I’m doing a ton of different things:

  • I’m getting a Master’s degree.
  • I write a blog and coach people.
  • I summarize books and sell audio versions of those summaries.
  • I’m making an app with two friends.
  • I curate content for a big platform and write articles for them.
  • I have a Patreon page where my readers support me.

…and I’ve got at least another five things I want to try, like making Skillshare courses, writing ebooks and published books, consulting for personal brands, a Youtube gaming channel or making electronic dance music.

As our teenage years fade out, the world naturally stops asking us what we want to be when we grow up. Eventually, everyone just expects us to know and so we stop asking us ourselves. What no one tells you is that you can keep asking this question.

In fact, I think you have to. So here I am, asking you today.

It’s okay if you don’t know. You don’t have to answer right away. And you can answer differently each time.

I just hope you’ll keep asking the question.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I write more here. This was first published at www.quora.com.