#105 | How To Point Your Soul At Something by u/soyelfuego
A few weeks ago, I was at a crossroads. I’m trying to improve my life by articulating my desired lifestyle and then developing a process that’ll take me in that direction. With so many passions laid out in front of me and fears nipping at my heels, reading this article by u/soyelfuego pushed me to organize my life a little more and begin to thoughtfully move forward today and tomorrow.
As time went on, I realized that this would be helpful to those of you out there who are trying to pursue their passions or are living a life that doesn’t quite fit. If you’d like to read the article, you can find the link in the bio or read it on www.becominghumanpodcast.com
If you guys like episodes like these, be sure to comment or send me an email and I’ll make more like them. A curated array of articles to help you find the lifestyle you’ve always wanted.
Friend, either have a little faith in me and commit to reading this whole thing, save it for later and come back to it, or go back to the pointless bullshit you were doing before. Decide.
Today you do not feel like you have the energy to pursue any of your goals. Today you feel unfocused, stuck in a rut, like you’re in an endless and inescapable loop.
You probably haven’t slept that well (it’s really fucking hot, you had too much caffeine, you were on your phone too late, you have no routine) and you don’t see the point of getting out of bed. I want to help you. I’d love to help you. I think I really can help you, if you can find a little patience to listen to somebody’s advice for once and stop being so fucking stubborn about thinking that you’re always going to be stuck this way, and that nobody can possibly have the answer. Listen to me. You have to point your soul at something.
I’ve got some things to tell you that you won’t realise on your own, because sleep wipes away all of the tomorrowitwillbedifferents from your mind, and you’ve never really taken the time to decide what to do with yourself. You’ve never let yourself figure out what you should be doing.
Today it can be different, really.
Today can be the day of days, the epiphanic day, the day that you’ll tell people about when they ask how on Earth you became so well rounded and satisfied and motivated and interested and really fucking alive. You’d better still be listening.
There’s some things you need to do, and to do them you’re going to find an hour. One hour. No excuses, this is an emergency. This is more important than going to the pub. This is more important than the next episode of your current binge in bullshit entertainment. This is more critical and more vital than your wife, your kids, your job. Tell whatever god you might be into to fuck off and leave you alone for an hour, you need some you time. Find the hour, book it in. Set an alarm. Find some privacy, turn off your gadgets, grab a notepad and a pen. Begin.
First, you need to be really honest with yourself about what makes you flooooow. The times you’ve thought you actually might be talented, or interesting. The times when you aren’t consuming something, but making or doing or solving or constructing. The times when you’re bending reality to your will and fucking loving it. When are you most impressed by yourself? When are you most in love with who you are? Doesn’t matter if it seems trivial, write it down. Building Legos, public speaking, fishing, surgery, digging holes, hanging out with your nephew and teaching him about clouds, writing little stories, playing guitar, welding, scrapbooking, cave diving, talking politics, baking cakes, statistical analysis, yoga, wine tasting, amateur wrestling, upcycling thrift store furniture, these are all acceptable thoughts. Have them. Write them down. Don’t stop until you’ve got about 3, even if one is a big one and the other 2 are a little weaker. You need some variety. These are your firestarters.
What are you better at than other people? Think of some friends and their weaknesses. Don’t be too abstract, think in terms of real world skills. Does Jim suck at explaining himself? Do you have to help? Does Mindy do a terrible job of arranging window displays at work? Do you always have to fix it? Does your neighbour constantly complain that he can’t get his lawn weed free, but you have a gorgeously manicured lawn because you figured out how and you only do it because your wife is worried what the rest of the neighbours would think if you had an unkempt lawn, and you don’t give a flying fiddle but you love her and you want her to do that smiley hands on hips thing like she’s proud of you and can’t believe how good the lawn looks? This is about finding your superpowers. This is about the things that you excel at, your unique skills. You might have a job that you despise but you’re actually very good at. It doesn’t matter about the specifics of what you do, it’s the skills that are important. Write down your superpowers. You don’t have to be a 9/10 in any of these things, 6 is enough when most people are a 5. We’re talking just on the right side of the bell curve baby, don’t sweat about not being a virtuoso programmer if you can jam together a decent looking website for your little brother’s dog walking business. The world needs ‘pretty good’ to have a crack at excellence, that’s how dope shit turns real. Don’t stop till you have at least 3 of these skills. I will be watching.
With the firestarters and the superpowers written down, now you have a map of what you’re good at and what makes you satisfied. They don’t have to be the same thing, or even remotely similar. They might be wildly unrelated, but that’s part of the fun.
Pick one firestarter, and one superpower. Mash those two things together. Try and make some ideas out of it. Write a sentence that describes what your average day would be like if somebody was paying you to apply your unique superpower to something that you absolutely love doing. If you’re funny and you love talking to people about technology, there’s something there, you could you give YouTube some desperately needed comedic technology reviews. If you’re good at graphic design and you love to cook, there’s something there, online recipes are ugly and take ages to load, yours could be beautifully laid out and easy to follow. If you’re very empathetic and can solve emotional problems and you’re happiest when you’re reading, there’s something there, you could start and advice column online for a very specific kind of person.
Do every conceivable combination of your firestarter list and your superpower list. Make a list of possibilities.
There’s a few things to think about when you’re making a shortlist of goals. First, balls to realism. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think there’s any money in it, it’s still going in the maybe column. It doesn’t matter if you doubt you could ever really achieve it, it’s going in the maybe column. Write them all down, you’re free to dream. I’m giving you permission to dream. I believe in all of these possibilities you’re writing down, and you’re allowed to too.
Now you’ve got a list of these little dream sentences. You’ve got a list of possible realities of you really went after something. What we need now is some focus, so you’re going to rank them all, in an ultimate dream life playoff. Compare them all, painstakingly, based on which ones butter your toast the most. Which of these possible worlds light a fire in you the most? You need to rank them thoughtfully until you have a clear top three.
Of these top three, get rid of one, save two.
Of these top two, get rid of one, save one.
You’ve thought about everything you’re good at, and everything that makes you feel amazing, gets you in a flow state, makes you fall in love with yourself. You’ve come up with mad combinations. You’ve ranked, you’ve whittled. Now you’re down to one.
With this ideal dream world in front of you, I need to be really honest with you. There’s three things that could happen here. One, this might be your future career and you’ve happened upon an amazing idea. Liftoff. Two, this might be something you could do as a hobby, in your spare time, and it’s never really going to make financial sense to go all in. Three, this might be the dumbest idea ever and you’re going to fail.
Here’s the thing, my wonderful friend: you’re going to do it anyway. You’re going to do it no matter what. There’s three things that could happen here. One, you could find out what you’ve always been searching for. You could meet the reality you’ve missed, longed for your whole life and you didn’t even know existed. Two, you could discover something that brings the rest of your life into focus. A hobby that makes you excited to go to work because you’ve got something to really go to work for. A thing of immeasurable joy. A centrepiece for a well-lived life. Also, maybe something to evolve until it becomes something more like number one. Three, you could fail completely, and realise this thing doesn’t work. You could learn a lesson that very few people get to learn, and see a whole string of new possibilities based on what you now know about yourself and the world. You could stare down the brutal reality of life, and come out bloody, but unbroken. Ready for the next idea, ready for the next pursuit, ready to find another hour and start this whole thing again, because you’re a goddamn hero and you’re always right back on that mighty stallion of the future. If you fail, look up the concept of adjacent possibility. Use that to shift a little, morph a little, try again. Or start anew. You know what to do.
Friend of mine, look at what we’ve done here. We have a clear direction, a considered direction. We have a horizon to launch our ship at. But before we do, we need to do a couple more things, just a couple of admin bits really, to make sure you this all works, no big deal, and then we need to swear a sacred unbreakable oath, a vow clad in iron, a wilful holler into infinity that echoes through all of time and space. Let’s do admin first.
Break this new direction into the smallest possible tasks that will move you in the right direction every day. Let me say that another way. Have a clear endpoint in mind, with numerical targets, for a specific time. Work backwarda from that endpoint, considering every detail of how you would get there. Make this task list manageable, do something on it every day to move yourself towards the promised land. There’s tonnes of books and article on how to turn goals into systems and meaningful habits, but they never tell you how to point yourself in a direction. Now you’ve got direction, so teach yourself how to move in it, pronto.
It’s oath time. This is all going to be ok. This is all going to be real, but you have to take this oath. Say it a thousand times, like you fucking mean it. Listen to inspiring music while you say it. Run up a hill. Meditate on it. Learn to believe it, consider every word. Think of nothing else until it is carved into your soul and you understand its meaning more clearly than you have ever know anything else in your life. Write it down over and over. Live it, swear by it, say it out loud whenever it occurs to you that you’ve become distracted. Say it to whoever doubts you. Say it when you’re down and out, and you’ve lost all hope. Say it with me, friend. Say it and become it. Say it.
“I will move forward, today and tomorrow.”