You don’t have to know what you’re doing all the time

Am I doing the right thing? 

Am I just wasting my time?

Is there something better I could be doing?

Oh shiny,! maybe I should be doing this instead?

I don’t know where I’m going with this…

I’ve had many doubts about what I should do with my life. Last year I seemingly had an Existential crisis every month.

These questions and others are the typical doubts I have a lot of the time. 

Am I a writer, or an artist? Are they the right jobs for me? 

Everywhere I look, especially online, I see people doing a better job of living than myself, and I flit back and about what i want to do. Be it a lifestyle blogger, move to another country, blog about health, paint or write etc. 

It’s confusing, demoralising, and heartbreaking because I don’t have my life together. I have so many doubts about where I want to go, what I want to do. The vision of my ideal life has changed over the years as my aspirations have changed. 

I’m both envious of these people and yet I’m repelled by them.

I want to be like them, but I have my doubts. Given such doubt and lack of clarity it’s hard to live life each day without a direction or reason why. We like to know, to be in control, so any risks we take are reasonable and make sense.

Often my insecurities make me want to hide away from the world. ‘It’s too hard, too much of a struggle.’

I spend far too much time trying to figure things out. Instead of going out into the world and finding or creating it. 

It’s hard to let go of the grasping towards knowing, and control. To accept the journey is haphazard and partly random.

Staying in the rut is much easier. The dead-end job, the relationship that goes nowhere. Or for the artist to keep doing what sells.

When it comes down to it I don’t know what I want or what will make me happy.

I’m having to learn that again and again because self-doubt keeps coming back.

This one critic keeps telling me I have to know what I’m doing and why. It’s the one in my head.

Yet looking at the success stories I come across, many of them were individuals who followed their passion. They did whatever fascinated them. Where they ended up in many cases was in places they never imagined. 

Some are fortunate, they had a clear aim in mind when they are young. Become an artist, start a business, etc.

Such clarity especially when young is very rare I think. It also helps that in many jobs the career path is obvious and laid out. To be a doctor you have to go to medical school. There’s no other path to cloud the issue. 

Becoming an artist is far messier, with many possibilities and choices. Such a path is a lot harder because the way is often unclear. You have to make it up as you go along and the responsibility is all upon you. 

An existential crisis and angst is a problem of doubt and confusion about life and where it’s heading. We can’t ask others to decide how we should live our life.

We need to learn how to let go. To give up on the need to know where we are going. Having the future laid out for us like rail tracks ahead. 

Instead, we need to take it one step at a time, learn to let go a little more of control, and let life unfold. 

It’s hard because we keep second-guessing ourselves, constantly asking ‘Am I on the right path?’ Frustrated because there’s no clear way to tell. Doubt becomes our constant companion. 

We have to accept a life of uncertainty, that we are not in control and have no idea what we’re doing. We have to be brave and face the doubt and fear of the unknown and keep moving forward.

Guided by our heart, insight, and the hard truth this is how life is lived, facing uncertainty. Clarity, certainties are an illusion. Accept that something things will never be known. Other things can’t be controlled.

We need to let a little more mystery in our lives. It’s what’s makes it so interesting. It’s not an easy way to live, but it’s rewarding. I call it Passionate Entanglement .

Finding your path is like stumbling around in the dark with a torch, flashlight. No clue as to what you’re trying to find.

But what matters is you keep searching and trust yourself. That you’ll recognise what you need and want as the search continues.

Also ‘trust the process’ is a saying I’ve come across in my art journey. Trust that what needs to happen will happen. The answers will be found along the way.

As you make this journey the path will become clearer, but never in sight. We’re often scrambling towards vague goals. It’s okay not to know what you are doing, or why. To not have it all worked out. Few people do, and those that do will one day get a rude awakening as their worldview crumbles and their expectations are laid to rubble. 

Doubt is not a flaw, neither is fear. 

But it takes effort on your part. You have to show up and do the work. You’re doing that already, but you need to keep it going especially when doubt and fear take hold.

So never stop being brave, even in tiny ways. Take a deep breath, forget needing answers, and take your next best step forward.

‘Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence’

Buddha