Do We Really Have A North?
Many times in life we feel lost like we are not doing what we are “supposed” to do and just start wandering around “without” a purpose; but who decides that? Who says we are “wasting” our life?
We grow up with people telling us to find “our true north”, with our parents and teachers telling us we must have a purpose, that without it we won’t ever be happy and we won’t be useful members of society.
The truth is, some people have a north and some struggle to find it; the concept of “north” as the ultimate purpose of our life, the way I see it, is completely mistaken. We are not born to be one thing or another, we are born to be happy, and that’s what we are supposed to be focused on.
So today, I would like to discuss with you what happens when we can’t find our north, and what can we do if we are having a hard time finding it.
What Is A North?
Let’s start here, the north is supposed to be something that defines us, that thing that motivates us to wake up in the morning, our ultimate goal.
When we are kids, that north is really easy to see. We want to be doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, mothers, models, etc., but as we grow up we face many difficulties and that dream we once had, fades away slowly.
Actually, that north fades away many times in life, and depending on our social context, we may find it easily or struggle for years until we finally find something else.
Humans are not born with a biological compass that allows us to find our direction in life, and we can’t buy one on Amazon so we have to build it ourselves from our experiences and self-reflection.
What Happens If We Can’t Find Our North?
If you have been let down a lot lately, if things don’t go your way, you may feel like your original purpose in life may be fading away or that it’s completely gone.
First of all, the only one who determines whether you have a purpose in life is you; and that purpose may sound silly to other people, but to be honest, who cares? It’s your life, not theirs. And whatever makes you happy, as long as it doesn’t hurt others, it’s fine.
And if you decide your north is getting married or having a specific job, traveling, having a child, or whatever you can think of, you must understand that after those goals, there is always something else.
Take Your Time
If you can’t find your north right now, do not feel desperate. Take your time, see yourself from different perspectives, try to create a different plan, and fight negative thoughts with logic and your own capabilities.
Maybe this time you won’t get that job position you have been dreaming with, is it because there’s someone genuinely better than you at that job? Is it because you are not fully ready to do this? Maybe your boss is not being fair?
Whatever the answer is, you always have something left to do about it. If there’s someone better than you, get more prepared, study more. If there’s nobody better than you at your job, but you are missing some skills, practice them.
If your boss is not being fair, it can be really hard to take this decision, but if you have the capabilities and know you are worth it, and you also want to pursue this goal that somehow defines you, then start looking for a new job.
Find Your Motivation
Of course, we are not all the same, and seeing basic things like we are worth it may be harder for some people, therefore, taking decisions and finding the motivation to keep pursuing their goals becomes a nightmare.
The best advice I can give you is to stop for a while, stop thinking negatively, stop seeing a dark future, stop stressing over things you can’t control and start thinking about alternatives to fix the situation.
No matter how silly the solution you think of is, it’s better than nothing. Life is about self-discovery, and nobody is born with all the answers, neither we are able to find them all in just one journey.
I don’t believe there’s an answer to the question that first started this post; a north is something personal that we build with our dreams and desires, but it also is something that society expects from us.
We do everything for a bigger purpose socially imposed; we go to school in order to be smarter, but not for a personal satisfaction matter, it’s mandatory for us to study something because that way we are useful to society.
And sometimes, that thing society expects from us is not necessarily what we truly want. What I’m trying to say is, don’t feel afraid if you go against the current, it will, eventually, be worth it.
Tips To Find Your North
First of all, do not think you are less than others because you don’t have a north yet, some people don’t even notice that they have a north, and others do well in life without actually naming it that way.
What’s important here is that you feel motivated and find a way to go back in track when you get hit by bad experiences.
- Don’t go around thinking you have just one purpose, you are here to be happy, and as I said before if what makes you happy doesn’t hurt others, you should keep doing it
- Embrace failure, without it we are not complete. We need to fall now and then to learn valuable life lessons, and to appreciate many things too
- Try not to focus on feeling bad for too long, it’s okay to mourn and to let sadness come into our hearts sometimes, but in order to move on you must deal with your emotions and learn when to say enough
- Seek feedback from the people that love you and those who don’t. It can be hard at the beginning, but it will help you see good and bad stuff that is part of who you are easily, and it will help you grow as a person
- Stop overthinking! Can you fix the situation? Then find a way to do it, if you can’t, you must learn from that experience and move on
I don’t believe we have just one north, I believe humans are dynamic creatures that surround themselves with many events and situations that, something like our destiny and future cannot be predetermined.
If we fail, we get up and keep going. If there is no bridge for us to cross, either we built it or find another route, and if we can’t truly do something to get to that north we have been dreaming of, we rest and let our inner compass to heal us, and when you least expect it, you are now ready to keep sailing.
Interesting Books To Read:
- Identity: Discover Who You Are and Live a Life of Purpose
Photo By: Artem Bali