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You Don’t Need to Have Your Whole Life Figured Out Right Now

Thinking girl

“On any one day you can massively change the direction of your life.” ~Jim Rohn

Have you ever felt as though you needed to have your whole life figured out right now?

When we’re young, we are often encouraged to consider the same common careers such as being a police officer, firefighter, doctor, lawyer, or teacher. Then in high school, we feel pressure to make a decision because we’ll have to major in something in college.

We may love music, writing, or something that people associate with struggle, only to get bombarded by advice to do something that will make money.

People constantly ask us what we are going to do with our lives. The pressure on all of us is huge.

In college, this pressure only increases, because with a major, now everyone wants to know what you’re going to do with it. For example, I majored in sports medicine and Hispanic studies, and people would constantly ask me about my plans. When I said I wanted to be a physician, there was even more pressure from people. This creates stress and anxiety, and can push someone toward burning out.

There is a certain expectation that we need to pick a traditional career path, especially when we speak to older individuals who chose a career and stayed there until retirement.

The older I get, the more I realize there are many things I want to accomplish in this life, and I have no desire to stick to one career and be defined by it.

There are parts of me that are strategic, other parts that are itching for me to take crazy risks, and others that tell me I want to be the best doctor. There are so many things to fulfill that I am not quite sure what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I know there are other people who feel the same way. If that’s you, I want you to know that…

It’s okay to not know what you want to do, or to have a plan for a lifelong career.

There is time. Time to look at different careers and do as we please. No longer do we have to follow the traditional route of getting a job right away and sticking to that one job right for the rest of our lives. If we want to change, there is a way to do it.

After graduating from college, I traveled around Europe, took some classes, worked in the entertainment industry, and grew as an individual as I was exposed to different areas of life.

I met many different types of people who all provided different perspectives. The amount of learning and knowledge that I absorbed throughout these meetings was more than I could have gotten from any type of formal education.

Currently having my vision set on being a physician is great. I love medicine, and as of now, I want to be a doctor. However, I am not defined by my title of physician, because later on I may change careers. I may decide it’s time to open a business or join a jazz band and travel the United States.

I’m not sure what I will be doing for the rest of my life, but I know that if I continuously remind myself to have a smile on my face, I will be happy.

You don’t need to worry about other people’s opinions.

One of the things I struggle with is worrying about what other people think. The majority of people I met while working at a hospice center told me they were not afraid of failure or afraid of doing what they truly wanted with their life; they were afraid of what people would think of them.

This was eye-opening, because I realized how often we limit ourselves based on what other people say we should do, and that their opinions don’t matter because they are not living our lives.

The people who tell you no and criticize are often the ones who are not following their own dreams. They may have been knocked down by not succeeding and may have become jaded by the world. You don’t have to live your life based on what they say.

When I tell people that being a doctor is only a fraction of what I will accomplish in my lifetime, more than half of them make a comment or show through their body language that they don’t believe in my plan.

It’s frustrating how even the people closest to me do not support some of my views on life, and they make sure to let me know it. I am still learning to not be affected by this because it’s challenging, but I urge you to do the same.

Tell more and more people about what you want to do with your life because then it will become your truth, which will make it much easier to stick to your plan.

At the beginning of my undergraduate career, there were over 100 people interested in the pre-medical track. By the end of my college experience, there were around twenty who were still dedicated to the pursuit of medical school.

Time and time again, people told us how hard it was going to be, the sacrifices we were going to have to make, and how there were always people better than us. Those opinions discouraged the majority of my peers. As hard as it has been, sticking through it has been the most rewarding experience ever.

You can create a worthwhile future while enjoying the moment.

When we get wrapped up in believing we need to know what we’re going to do, we can lose sight of the present. I know many people who are constantly worried about the future. They’re afraid things won’t work out, and they never truly live in the moment.

We need to think about the future in order to create it, but we can actually do that most effectively when we focus primarily on the present.

People who diet often talk in terms of the future and how much weight they need to lose, but if they were to focus solely on the day and what needed to get done, before they know it, the results would show!

This kind of focus can be challenging, as this requires us to engage in positive habits every day in order to find success in what we desire. However, when we become conscious of what we must do every day, we can then relax knowing that in due time, the results of our consistency will show.

It’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life. I see a negative stigma associated with people who do not have a clear plan for their career path, but there’s nothing wrong with going with the flow and allowing yourself to grow, evolve, and change.

What is life if you make it to the end and do not have any exciting, crazy memories to look back on and remember with a smile on your face?

We should all go out and explore many different fields to see what we truly love—and we may need to do this several times throughout our lives.

Whether it’s working from a remote location, working with children, or becoming a missionary, do it all and see what you like best!

At any time we can change the course of our lives. It might not always be easy, but all we have to do is put one foot forward, knowing we’re creating a change that will bring us more joy in life.

About Armando Quintana

Armando Quintana III is a master’s student and signed model. One of his main goals is to be a physician and educate people on the natural healing powers of the body. In addition to being a public speaker on alternative ways to reach success, he mentors high school and college students. He can be reached through social media at @armandoq3 or  at mfmanifesto.com.

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  • Aelio

    This was wonderful, thank you.

  • Armando Quintana

    Thank you very much. It means a lot to me that you took he time to read it and that it resonated in one way or another.

  • Armando Quintana

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Matt. I truly appreciate the rare mentality you are showing in your thought process because it is not everyday that I come across someone who believes what you do. Thank you.

  • Lucy Charms

    Yes! I worked for nearly 20 years in a career, then got burned out and lost my job. I’m now considering how to build a life that’s less “rat race” and more “peace and freedom”. It’s OK to change your path, no matter how old you are.

  • Armando Quintana

    Thank you for sharing and for having a similar thought process. You are right on what you must do. The rate race is no longer the type of life we need to life with how the times are changing.

  • badhombrebigdo

    I am by others’ definitions utterly lost… I’m happier, healthier and more in the moment than them though… lol… wonder how that works? Try it.. try only worrying about how you feel and not the opinions of others… try following what makes you happy and only that, and you’ll get on the right path.. others may not understand it, and the fact that we live in a financialized world may yield some interesting things for you in the way of poverty, but i’ve found typically, those worries are unfounded.. esp. if you live in the west… the things you fear likely never happen… it’s the things you never see coming are what get ya… lol, and besides worrying doesn’t literally do anything anyhow… lol..

  • Armando Quintana

    Thank you for sharing your thought process. I am glad you are one of the few people I have had the opportunity to come across that said “screw it” and did what they truly wanted. Keep it up as it is an inspiration to all of us!

  • Thanks Armando, it’s nice to meet similar minded people. Joe Dominguez and Viki Robin’s were some of the first to write about financial independence and alternative careers in their book, Your Money or Your Life

  • Regina

    Armando,
    your post was one of the best things I’ve read (and I read a lot). I’m 40 and still struggle with the concepts you share in your post. I struggle but I always choose the path that makes me happiest. Then I share that with others that could use a little encouragement, too. This is exactly what you have done. It’s so needed, no matter what age you are. We have this one life to live, let’s make it what we want it to be.
    Much love,
    Regina

  • badhombrebigdo

    Most people get to a point where they truly cannot do anything that they don’t want to–and then they do it anyway and make excuses for doing such.. and that inevitably leads to unhappiness. Deep unhappiness. They bargain with themselves.. they say, oh well I’m miserable, but at least I have this really big house or this car or this TV or these expensive clothes, etc., etc..But they give up so much. Too much. And these days the way the economy is, many of them aren’t even getting the material shit to massage their senses momentarily.

    Working a job or getting into a career for the money is the worst thing ppl can do for their mental health and well being, and yet it’s the total norm now. Of course some are absolutely pushed into this via having to care for children or a family, and I feel that’s a huge ill of our society, but those of us with no children and without the duty of caring for family monetarily have no excuse, we should be only doing what makes us feel good and following that good mood. That, almost always leads to a greater purpose which is connected to serving others and that, IMHO is where people find their deepest happiness most often.

  • Shirley Liu

    Thanks! I have always felt the need to search for a career path of my heart and not of what people expect me to do. I agree that it is not fear of failure that holds us back, it’s what people will think afterwards. There are times when I don’t do well on my path and I hear people telling me that I shouldn’t go the path of being a scientist. But regardless of setbacks, I remain fascinated by science and will probably go for that in my career.

  • Ale Mi

    Great article. I like the point that tell to explore the world and do what we like more. And I like the “battle” in the present to build our future. All of us must be in the presente!

  • Gustavo Woltmann

    The way to success is not easy to direct, but with hard work, determination and want, it’s possible to make the dream. Just take your life easy don’t figure out everything in a single moment.

    – gustavo woltmann

  • Armando Quintana

    Hello Regina,

    Thank you for your support. I am glad to see that you could relate because day after day, I feel the same way also. Keep pushing and we will both kill it with everything.

  • Armando Quintana

    Hello,
    Thank you for your support and I am glad a very specific point resonated with you. We must all be in the moment and then killing the day will help us always accomplish everything.

  • Armando Quintana

    Amen Gustavo! I could not have said it better myself.

  • Armando Quintana

    Shirley,

    Thank you for your comment. Whatever your heart tugs at you to do is what you should do! 🙂 And it seems as though you know that quite well as a scientist.

  • Adelia

    Thanks for the article Armando, I’m currently taking a work break to figure out what I want to do, and I can absolutely relate on what you said about the pressure I’ve felt from other people’s questions, advises and mocking. And how heart breaking it is when the people closest to me are the ones who don’t support my decisions. For me, I think this feeling of pressure and doubt come from within, cause inside I’ve also felt fear and anxiety of not working, not earning any money and all these external opinions make it harder to believe in myself and my decisions. I constantly remind myself to live my life not based on fear, especially other people’s fear, and your article has given me more ground in my self confidence. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a forum/ community of people who are figuring things out, would be nice to hear other people’s experiences and to give some support.

  • The vast majority of my life was spent in conformity…doing what others wanted, when they wanted. Tony Robbins has stated “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” There was a day that I will never forget and on that day, I took my life by the handles and started to carve out my own path.

    Great read Armando.