What should you do with your life?!?!?!?!

Psh, small question to tackle, right?

I’ve gone through, am going through, and will always go through days when this question intimidates me and days when this question gets me stoked for life. There are times the question “What should I do with my life?” excites me with its endless possibilities.  And yet there are other times when this question, with its never-ending answers, overwhelms me.

In fact, the reason I was inspired to write this post was because today while staring out the window spacing out at Borders I began asking myself this very question.  I myself have found I’m standing at a crossroads with multiple forks in the road.

It has been one month since I’ve returned from a year living in China, and while it feels like the past 52 weeks have been an Inception, it is time I begin to start the next path and the next phase of my life.

And I wonder, how do we know which route to take?

And I realize that there is no wrong route, and that we can always turn around, and that if we fail or make a mistake we’ll learn, and that it’s all about the adventure and the experience.

But I also know myself. And I don’t know about you, but I want to do a hell of a lot. And sometimes my mind, my heart, and my gut don’t always agree.

So, I’ve set out to determine which one of the three is the best for you and I to listen to in matters of life’s forks in the road.

Sometimes we have to change your outlook, listen to our instincts, and take a little leap of faith. For as the saying goes, “Indecision becomes decision with time.”

Your Outlook on The Question

First of all, you can ask this question in the two following ways:

A.) With fear and indecision, letting the uncertainly of the unknown drive you insane and paralyzed.

B.)  With eyes wide open. As in, what won’t you do with your life? Because if one thing is for sure, you’re going to do a hell of a lot with it am I right or am I right?!

As for as answering the question of, “What should I do with my life?”, well, I’m both afraid and happy to say that there is no right or wrong answer. And even if you did come up with a pretty good one it probably will change along the way anyway!

The best way to go about it, is to simply make flexible plans, make good decisions that will help guide you along the way to the life you want for yourself, and to just take it in stride and enjoy the crazy ride.

Hearts, Guts, and Heads

But, if we’re really going to go for it… if we’re really going to try to answer the question of “What should I do with my life?” then there are 3 things we need to think about.

1.)  Our Heart, or our feelings

2.)  Our Gut, or our intuition

3.)  Our Head,  or our intellect

Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10 these 3 little things are about as opposite as trying to eat Cereal with Soda or Pickles and Peanut Butter.

For instance,

  • – In hard-pressed relationships our gut tells us to leave, our head tells us not to, and our heart doesn’t know what the hell is going on.
  • – When we have that itch to drop everything and move abroad our heart tells us to go for it, our gut tells us we need it, but our head tells us it’s impossible.
  • – In times when we have to sacrifice and do something we don’t want to do but simply have to, our gut and our head will tell us to do what we have to do, but our heart will be in turmoil.

Which One Is Better?

So, what’s the most important of all 3, you ask? Our Gut? Our Head? Our Heart?

The Problem with Hearts

The problem with hearts are they’re full of feelings. They’re emotional. They make rash decisions based on what feels the best at the time. They change their mind, a lot. They’re more volatile than the stock market was the 6 months before that crazy day in May of 2009!

Now, this is all good and fun when it comes to spontaneous moments like going streaking in a park at midnight with your best friend or pursuing a career path we’ve known was meant for us for so long. (Yes I did just put those 2 things in the same sentence.) Our heart is great when we’re putting everything we’ve got into a kick ass blog post, or mentally pushing ourselves to run that last mile, or reaching out to that person that can help us become better.

It is not, however, all that great when it comes to making big decisions under pressure. Because remember, the heart gets confused. The heart wants to please everyone. And so, you have to be careful when you listen to your heart in moments like these.

The Problem with Heads

Our head doesn’t really know a damn thing. Yea, it’s where we keep those grammatical rules and spelling corrections that give us the nuts-and-bolts of writing a kick-ass blog post, but after that, our head is really just full of crap.

Just imagine that your head is a metaphor for the norms of society. It sets rules, standards, probabilities, assumptions.

And society, just like our head, doesn’t tend to always support the out-of-the box, let’s just fu**ing go for it, I want to do something BIG AND DIFFERENT kind of people, actions or changes.

No, society, just like our head, likes safety, security, and stability.

So, when you’re asking yourself, “What should I do with my life?”  tell your head to F off. Hell, it’s here to make sure you don’t make too many spelling errors, and most of us suck at that anyway! 😉

Getting to the Guts

Hey remember GUTS on Nickelodeon? It would have been so sick to be on that!! Mike O’Mally and Mo!.

I digress.. 😉

So, we’re left with our guts. And that, my friends, is the best thing to listen to.

Because our gut, our instinct, our intuition is that little knot or butterfly in our stomach that tells us when something is right and when something is wrong.

Your gut is what deep down is telling you that you are or you are not meant to be together, that your new business partner or deal is or is not really going to help the team, or that the next Denzel Washington movie will probably have him casted as the same character he’s been playing for the last 20 years!

Your gut knows you. Your gut understands what’s really happening around and inside of you. Your gut remembers if you were really happy or not in past situations and if you will be in current or future situations.

Do You have the Guts?

And so I ask you, “Do you have the Guts?” when it comes to asking your own self, “What should I do with my life?”

Because you and I both know you’ve got at least a few ideas cookin like hotcakes up there.

So, give your heart an ambian and tell it to take a rest, give your head a cold beer and tell it to chill out, and give your gut a listen and try to pay attention.

And on one final note, sometimes it pays to just tell all 3 of them to shut their mouths, grab a group of friends, have a crazy fun night out, and forget about this loaded question for awhile!

Here’s to you and enjoying the adventure as you figure out and embark on what you will do with your remarkably amazing life! 😀

Do you tend to follow your heart, your head, or your gut?

What will you do with your remarkably awesome life?!

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

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