In my twenties, I often found myself aimless in life. It seemed like every other week, I had no idea what to do next in my life and career. I had no certainty. Do you know how that feels? It’s a feeling of unease.
A random thought or event would trigger worry, and before I knew it, I felt confused. It could be anything. Maybe I read something on the news about rising house prices, a potential recession, or increasing crime rates.
Or, it could be co-workers that caused confusion with stories about so and so who lost his job and couldn’t pay his mortgage. You know how people gossip and talk, right? “You wouldn’t believe this!” That’s what people say before they share some weird story that’s not even relevant to you.
All these things can confuse you. And what do you do when you’re confused? That’s right, just like any other modern human being, you try to look for some answers on Google!
And we all know what happens when we turn to Google. You either end up reading about some terminal disease, the end of the world, or the illuminati. If it’s not something negative, you’ll end up on the Instagram pages of the happiest and beautiful people in the world. This only makes things worse.
Why do we do that to ourselves? Most of us have this tendency to turn to others for answers. We look at what our friends, family, co-workers, or fellow students do, say, or think we should do.
But you and I both know that the answers do not lie outside of us. We know good and well that we should not ask others what we should do—we must ask ourselves.
To Get More Certainty, Learn How To Fish
Have you heard of that proverb about giving a man fish vs. teaching him how to fish?
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
As a society, we’re all hungry for fish, but we don’t want to learn how to fish. We can’t be bothered. We would rather have people feeding us instead of fetching our own food.
Why is that? There’s nothing noble about holding up your hand. It’s much nobler to take care of yourself, to be self-reliant, to work, to earn.
Relying on yourself will also give you certainty. Now that I’ve spent years improving my skills, building a network, and running two businesses, other people don’t confuse me with their shenanigans anymore. I’m inwardly focused. Externals don’t bother me as much as they did in the past.
Self-Reliance Is Not The Same As Stubbornness
Somehow people assume that self-reliance is about doing everything by yourself, not working with others, and only caring about yourself. Honestly, that sounds more like narcissism to me.
Self-reliance is nothing more than being self-sufficient. It means not clinging to people. It means not making life harder for others than it already is.
Remember: We can’t do everything in life by ourselves. That’s where self-awareness comes into play.
When you’re self-reliant and self-aware, you know what you can and can’t do. You also know what you like and don’t like. Without self-awareness, I would still be a stubborn idiot. And probably a lonely one too.
Not knowing who you are and what you want leads to a miserable life and career.
I’ve written about self-awareness here. In that article I share 20 questions you can ask yourself. I recommend going through those questions at least once a year. Before I wrote this article, I went through them.
And every time I do, I learn new things about myself. It’s even how I came up with the idea to write this article.
In today’s world that’s filled with opportunities, the more self-reliant and self-aware you are, the more certainty you will have. And when you have more certainty, you’ll have more energy to work on what gives you inner satisfaction.
If you know what you want, and know how to get it, you will get it.
It’s just a matter of time.