More like 24 but not far from 22!

Lessons for My 22-Year Old Self: Part 2

You don’t have to know what you want to do with your life at age 22- heck some of us don’t even have it all figured out by 30! Yet, it’s a worthwhile exercise to put together a plan and capture your thoughts at this specific moment in time.

You can check out Lesson #1 right here. Today, I talk in lesson two about the things that drive us- our loves — our passions. I believe that every individual placed on this earth is uniquely created. We may not all have the same opportunities or advantages from birth but, what we do have are: 1) passion(s) that arouse positive emotions and produce energy that fuel us and 2) at least one unique talent.

We can spend our lives wondering, perhaps, why we weren’t endowed with the otherworldly talents of a polymath like Leonardo da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin, the voice of Whitney Houston or the athletic ability of Serena Williams but that would be a wasteful curiosity.

Instead, we should take heart and learn from their remarkable examples and use our imaginations to search for, find and cultivate our natural God-given talents.

From the time my son, who is now 21 months old, was just a tiny infant, I was able to make him smile. I could see that certain stimuli and activities would bring out a laugh or smile. I found it remarkable to think what was running through his beautiful, young mind.

Our Emotions

Even in a child’s first month, they can show emotion when being cuddled or loved. All of us desire to be loved, to receive attention and to know that others care.

We observe and identify with activities that bring out our “Fire.” This is the sensational rush of adrenaline, the powerful emotive feeling that overcomes us when we observe or take part in something that we naturally enjoy. We can feel it with every fiber of our being because it touches our soul and gives us the chills.

We may observe or do different things in our life that we love which we choose not to pursue. Some things we do are one-time ventures, others are hobbies, a few become lifelong favorites and obsessions.

At age 22, you’ve lived what perhaps may amount to one-quarter of your time here on Earth. If you’re hoping for that fraction to be more like one-fifth, you may want to move to Monaco (see the link). You have certainly not experienced all there is to see but you’d likely tried many different activities, felt plenty of emotions and celebrated thousands of special moments.

I’m willing to bet there are several constructive, fun ways that you have spent your time that you want to continue — if only you knew how. Maybe you’re well on your way. Maybe you’re not. You might think your time has passed. You could be making excuses for why you’re not taking part in those things that you love. Just please, for my sake, never grow cynical.

A Pivotal Time

This age is a pivotal time because you can truly take your life in any direction you desire, while still operating with a lower level of risk. As it pertains to career and entrepreneurial ventures, risk tends to increase in relation to time. The older we get, the more risk averse we become. There’s more to lose and less time to make up for it.

There’s a saying that goes, “Youth is wasted on the young.” It’s usually said by older people who would give anything to relive the days of carefree optimism with — by comparison — less responsibility and worry. What I say is, this is your time to pursue the things that you love that match your experience. Perhaps you played clarinet in your college band.

What about teaching that talent to others? Or continuing further as a professional or merely a side hobby? It’s worth your while to capitalize on the activities that you enjoy, where you have also found success.

This is not to say that you should not — nor cannot try something you’ve never done before. By all means, I encourage you to do as your heart desires, as long as you are able to support yourself and any dependents you have. I’m simply encouraging you to think about what you’ve already done, what you’ve found that you enjoy and whether you are confident that you’d like to pursue it further.

Lesson #2. Spend your time pursuing activities that blend your passion with your experience

Do a brainstorm of all of your life’s experiences. This won’t be accomplished in 30 minutes- so frankly, because you likely have a good bit of time on your hands, dedicate 30 minutes of deep thought each day- for one month- to reminiscing over all of the years of your young life.

What thoughts stir up positive emotions inside of you? What sparks the fire that makes you say, “That was incredible! I want more!”?

What memories- again, that evoke positive, inspiring imagery- keep coming back to you? I believe this is a way that the universe speaks to our subconscious mind to elevate and energize us — bringing us closer to our dreams.

It is well worth using your creative imagination to think of things that light a fire inside of you. These days, some coaching advice and self-help writing is chock full of “Follow your dream” talk that is more like a penny a dozen. But the message- and its importance- remain the same.

You have to imagine and visualize yourself doing the things that bring you happiness and a sense of worth. Rely on your intuition to guide you. It’s constantly trying to tell you what will make you happy — what direction is best if you’re willing to have faith.

You’ll save yourself time, frustration and disappointment starting earlier in your career by living a life that is more in line with what your heart and mind are telling you to pursue. Incredibly, there are many people out there who are in a rush to tell you that pursuing your passions are a waste of time. If you believe that, ask yourself this question:

What is the cost of living a life bereft of the activities and things that you love?

The best life is one that is lived on your terms. I know this because for too long, I lived my life at the mercy of jobs and activities that didn’t align with my loves and happiness. I followed and ambled along, living someone else’s life.

I worked in jobs and chilled with people who weren’t leading me to the life my heart desired. I was never going to become the best version of myself. Fortunately, I figured things out and chose to pursue my passions.

I’ve seen friends and colleagues crumble under a mountain of built-up boredom, frustration and “nothingness” that came from pursuing tiring, high-paying jobs — only for the money. I know friends who burned out mentally from wasting time on mindless activities like the latest smartphone game app or drugs. Did they really love what they were doing?

Or did they only enjoy the high?

I’ll tell you what — highs are temporary. Even when we’re involved in productive, fun activities, we’re still going to experience down times. Those times are much easier to ride out when you’re happy and doing what comes natural to you. You’ll give the world the gifts it’s begging of you to give, when you’re at a place of peace both with what you enjoy and what you naturally do well.

Your intuition is a powerful thing. Listen, write down what moves you and then heed the call to action.

What do you think?

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