When you ask a child, the answer is easy:
“I want to be an astronaut.”
“I want to be a fireman.”
“I want to be a nurse.”
(As a kid, I just wanted to be like my dad).
As we get older, though, right when the question becomes really relevant and immediate, the answers get murkier.
I admire the people who know exactly what they want.
I have friends who are taking huge risks or going to school full-time while working a day job, all to realize their dream.
I think we all want that.
But if you’re like me, you don’t know what you want. Mainly because there are so many things you could do. We live in a time where you could do absolutely anything you set your mind to (and really, you’re pretty amazing…).
So we do nothing.
Patrick Dodson calls this dilemma “choice anxiety”. Like when you’re given the choice of 50 flavours of ice cream, but that’s so overwhelming that you get coffee instead.
What if you choose the wrong path? Or think of all the things you won’t get to do if you commit to this thing?
Quite honestly, this question haunts me all the time. And, while I’m narrowing it down, I haven’t settled one an answer yet.
Choose your 14er
When I lived in Colorado, I had the chance to climb a couple 14,000ft mountains (called “14ers”). During one of these climbs, we came up to a fork in the path early in our ascent. We could choose to go left to ascend the peak we had come to climb, or we could go right to a different 14er.
Which hike was faster? Easier? More scenic? From our viewpoint, surrounded by trees, it was impossible to know in that moment.
We simply had to commit to one.
I think that’s often the answer to our life direction questions too. There’s no way we can see past all the trees to know where our future steps will lead. We just have to choose one and go for it with everything we’ve got.
Two things are certain, no matter which path you choose: there will be huge struggles along the way, and the scenery will be incredible.