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Write To Figure Your Life Out

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read

Quick, answer this: What are you passionate about?

If you were able to answer it without batting an eyelid, good.
If you were able to give a one-word answer, splendid.

But what if you struggle to find a response to that question?

The good news — you are not alone.

The better news — you can do something about it.

Are you living a deferred life

In my twenties, I had the idea that life was a two-step process:

  1. Do what I have to do: Trade time for money so that I can pay off my debts and get rich fast
  2. Do what I want to do: Do work that I love.

Randy Komisar, author of The Monk and the Riddle, called these two steps the Deferred Life Plan.

Find work that you love

In my thirties, it was all about finding work that I am really love.

Confucious said:

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

That concept sounded really good. Because when I am doing work that I love, I am in the flow. Time flies, my whole being is involved, and I am using my skills to the utmost.

But what if I do not know what I love?

Does that mean I am stuck at step one: doing what I have to while I find what I love to do?

You have to write to figure it out

Best-selling author Daniel Pink told the Class of 2014 at Northwestern University that it’s okay not to know.

That’s because, “that makes you roughly as competent as everyone else out there”.

But let not that ambiguity be the excuse for leading a mediocre life. Pink went on to say:

Find someone in his or her forties, fifties, or sixties who’s doing something you admire, something that contributes to the world, something that you might like to do yourself one day. Then ask that person how they got there. I guarantee you, 97 times out of 100, the smartest, most interesting, most dynamic, most impactful people will answer that question like this: [sigh] it’s a long story.

Why? …Sometimes the only way to discover who you are, or what life you should lead, is to do less planning and more living.

Watch it here:

Are you good enough?

So here’s the perspective I’ll love to have in my twenties.

Three things that Cal Newport shared on So Good They Can’t Ignore You:

  • Work: Find a skill and work at it through deliberate practice. By deliberate it means being consistent and persistent. Just showing up is not enough. You must continually seek ways to improve and get better at what you do as well.
  • Worthwhile: Understand that it is not about you. But it’s about how you can use your work to make a worthwhile contribution to the lives of those you touch.
  • Wealth: We all want to be wealthy. But remember wealth is more than just money. Wealth is about having the capacity to choose.

Now answer the question: what are you passionate about?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase the items using the links above, I get a little commission from Amazon but you don’t pay a cent more. You must know that I only recommend items that I found useful.

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.