You Won’t Always Know What You’re Doing In Life & That’s OK

You Won’t Always Know What You’re Doing In Life & That’s OK ©iStock/Astarot

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, and neither do most people I know. We’re just going through life, trying to survive, trying to make ends meet, trying to become something, and to me, not knowing is what makes life interesting. Instead of worrying that you don’t have a plan, or being afraid to take a chance, just keep the following in mind:

  1. You’re allowed to make mistakes.Everyone makes mistakes (some more than others, but that’s OK), but that’s how we learn. All the scientists and inventors the world has ever seen have made mistakes. The smartest people on Earth have made mistakes. It’s almost expected that you’ll make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of doing something wrong, because all that will do is make you less willing to.
  2. We’re always learning. If you always knew what you were doing, you’d get bored with life pretty easily because it would mean you’d never allow yourself to experience anything new. In other words, you’d be stagnant, and what fun is there in that? When you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, it means you’re challenging yourself, building upon what you already know, and making something new come out of it, and that sounds a whole lot better than being stagnant.
  3. Experimenting is how we find out what we like and what we don’t. Experimenting pretty much means that you’re testing something out, which in turn means you don’t know what’s going to happen. But that’s a good thing. How will you know whether you like freelancing or teaching if you never actually put yourself in the position to try it? That said, when you start out in any career path, it’s almost a guarantee that you won’t know what you’re doing, because you won’t have any real world experience anyway.
  4. You don’t have to have your life planned out. Instead, you should plan on things changing constantly. As we grow older, our preferences and tastes change, leading us to make different decisions in different stages of our lives. When we’re kids, we try to plan when we’ll be married, or what career we’ll have, but anyone can tell you that things don’t usually end up the way we envisioned. It’s OK to not know what the hell you’re doing, as long as you set short-term goals for yourself and always make an effort to move forward.
  5. Nobody is paying attention or keeping score. Usually, we’re afraid to make a mistake because we think others will notice and judge us, but in reality, nobody is paying any attention to you, nor are they keeping track of how many times you’ve failed. Everyone is pretty much just focused on their own lives, so don’t allow this fear of being called out to hold you back from attempting something new.
  6. It’s impossible to know everything. So you shouldn’t hold yourself to impossible standards. If you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, then all I can say is join the club. There’s so much in the world that it’s impossible to learn everything, even if you were to spend every second of your life studying.
  7. You don’t have to be perfect. Nobody’s perfect, so stop trying to be. All you need to do is constantly try to improve and build upon what you already know and can do, and that should be good enough. Perfection is overrated, anyway.
  8. Taking risks is how you get places. Every business starts out the same way: someone has an idea and tries to make it happen. They can’t predict if it’ll work out, or how much money they’ll need to pump into it before it becomes profitable, or whether it will fail in less than a year, but if they don’t make the first step and take a risk, they’ll never know where they could end up.
  9. Not knowing what you’re doing is how you get unexpected results. If everything you did in life led you to a guaranteed and desired goal, then you’d be missing out on so many other opportunities just because they never crossed your mind. While the unexpected can go either way, wouldn’t you much rather live a life of excitement and possibility than one you’ve seen play out a million times before on TV?
Chelsey is a freelance writer in NYC. She's pretty normal by today's standards, or at least that's what her mother tells her.