I spent years reading career books, trying to figure out what I was good at and what I really wanted to “do with my life”. A common question career books ask is, “what did you spend your childhood frequently doing, where you lost track of time because of how much you enjoyed the activity?”
Well, I spent the better part of my childhood plunked in front of the television. I never knew how to answer that question, because everything I seemed to enjoy doing seemed like such a time waste. Besides television, for example, I loved reading the comics, arts and fashion sections of the paper, while everyone else in my family lunged for the capital N News.
My point with the above is to say, it took so long for it all to click and realize that all of what my internal critic deemed “time wasters” were my genuine interests! I don’t know if you’re like me, thinking that all your creative interests are ways to pass the time and not real career options. But if you are, I don’t want you to repeat my mistakes. Also, if you don’t embrace these passions of yours now, they will continue to haunt you.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to figure out your true ambitions and interests. I am going to borrow some lines of questioning from the career books as well, but keep everything I said above in mind as you read these:
- What did you spend time doing as a child that you truly enjoyed? Note down everything. The childhood games, the types of books you read, the tv shows you watched, etc.
- When you’re with your friends, what do you enjoy discussing?
- Which sections of the bookstore are you drawn to and if not sections, what kind of authors or types of books do you seek out?
Write it all down and I think you’ll be surprised to find that some patterns will emerge – about the kinds of stories you are drawn to, about how you like doing things, about what comes as naturally as breathing to you. You likely don’t realize you do it and take it for granted, but this is all of your unique makeup.