Dr. CK Bray
What Should I Do With My Life? Part 2
Updated: Jan 27
“What Should You Do with Your Life?” This is a question we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives. It is the beginning of 2023 and a perfect time to discuss ways we can tackle this question. It wasn’t possible to answer this question in last week's newsletter, so let me jump in with a few more thoughts on this topic. This week I received a listener question asking, “Why do I need to have a meaningful and fulfilling life?” I was taken aback at first, but after some thought realized what an important question it was. You need to know what you should do with your life so you can wisely choose where to spend your time, whom to spend your time with and what target you should be aiming at in life. You need meaning to offset how difficult life is and will be; I’m sure that is not what you want to hear at the beginning of the year. Life is profoundly catastrophic, and you need deep meaning to make it through those catastrophes. You need something tangible to prop you up when the winds and storms of life blow. Unfortunately, we never know when those moments will hit. I can think of three friends who faced those moments in the last few months of 2022. What happens in our lowest times can and will rock the foundation of your life. If it is built upon money, possessions, power, prestige, or pleasure, you are in for a big wake-up call. Let me give an example. A week before Christmas, I was in Walmart, and my phone rang; it was my daughter. When I picked up the call, she was sobbing, and I heard the sheer panic in her voice as she told me she had just been in a terrible accident. Someone had made an illegal turn and struck her car, rolling it three times. At that moment, nothing else mattered. My bank account, my podcast, my pickleball ranking, my car, my next vacation, whether the neighbor’s trees hang over my yard and drop leaves in my pool. None of those things mattered. And since that moment, it has been a good reminder to leave those things in the“doesn’t matter” category and focus on what does matter. Luckily, and I’m sure by divine providence, she was okay and only had minor injuries, but if it had been worse, I would have relied on my family, friends, and faith…all things of significant deep meaning to help me make it through. How do you know what you should do with your life? First, follow the breadcrumbs. If you need to change your life, you usually know exactly what that change is; follow the breadcrumbs, as small as they may be. If you need to change jobs, look online for jobs and see what interests you. If you get a call out of the blue to apply for a job in another department, you can take advantage of the opportunity. I have learned, and research has shown, that often your path will open one step at a time. Like the Wizard of Oz, you will not know the end as you begin. You will only know the next step on the yellow brick road. Two, you are of incalculable value. Because you have such great worth, you are responsible for acting toward yourself as if that were the case. You need to push yourself to do hard things. Your instinct tells you when you are on the right path. It kicks in when you are doing things that are difficult and responsible. The people you admire are those who take responsibility for themselves and push to fulfill their full potential. Put weight on your shoulders. As you bear up under that weight, you get stronger! Everything depends on it. And people rely on you. You may say to yourself I’m not good at anything. I would ask you by whose standards? The problem is that we find value in what others have, but we don’t. Maybe your standard is wrong. Look at yourself and see what is valuable, and if you find nothing, you need to go out and do something hard, something that wows you and makes you proud. Prove to yourself that you have value. The caveat is you; it has to be about you. Not what you want others to perceive or believe about you. It is about you. Third, be smart, be wise. Choose carefully what you put into your brain and learn. Choose carefully what you focus on and put your attention to. Because what you think about and pay attention to, you become. Get smart by reading and learning. Find a topic and learn about it. One topic a month will be 12 topics a year that you can share information about with others. This month my topic is sleep! Another way to get smarter is to exercise. How can we raise IQ? You can increase your cognitive ability by exercising aerobically and lifting weights. If you are fifty, you can restore your cognitive function to what it was at thirty by exercising. If you are going to pull your life together and learn what you should do with your life, remember there is always time. It's never too late to begin the journey of becoming what you should be and need to be for yourself and others.
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