how to make a life plan

10 Ways to Determine Exactly What You Want to Do with Your Life

It’s irritating. Frustrating. Overwhelming. They say “Follow your dreams”, “Chase your passion”.

And you would. You really would. But there’s a problem. A huge problem.

You have no idea what your “passion” or “dream” is.

Once we know our passion then we can follow it with insane tenacity. The problem isn’t that people hold back from their passion. It’s that you have no clue what your passion is.

If you have no idea what your dream is you can’t follow it.

You read blogs, books, and get advice from anyone with a pulse. The truth isn’t you lack discipline, focus or commitment.

It’s much simpler than that… But also much scarier to admit.

The truth, is you have no idea what you want to do with your life…

So, what’s the solution?

It’s simple :). Go find your passion…. Now I’m starting to sound like those “gurus” aren’t I?

But don’t worry I won’t leave you hanging. Below I list 10 very specific ways you can begin the process to discover your passion and dreams.

1. Develop a 5 year vision

Open up a word document (or take out a piece of paper and pen), and grab a stopwatch. Set the timer for 8 minutes.

Imagine all of your dreams have come true over the last 5 years of your life. You have everything you ever wanted. You are going to write in extensive detail what your life is like:

What time do you wake up? What activities do you do? Who do you hang out with? How much money do you make? How do you make money? What do you eat? How do you feel? Write down everything that comes to mind!

Set the timer at 8 minutes. Go! Go! Go!

2. Read non-fiction self-help books and implement a major action.

Reading a great self-help book is incredibly powerful. But this comes with a caveat. It’s only powerful if you are able to adopt and implement the ideas you get from the book.

Read a full book (not just the first chapter!) and focus on taking away one major idea. Not 2, 5 or 20! Focus on getting one idea and then immediately implement it in your life. If you read 12 books per year and implement one idea per book you won’t recognize yourself a year from today.

3. Volunteer in your community.

Fat, lazy, boring people don’t tend to volunteer. You know who does volunteer- interesting and motivated people who love to give back.

The more you surround yourself with positive people the more likely you are to start believing in your own capabilities. Also, you might be shocked at how much you like the activity.

4. Start that hobby youve been wanting to begin.

We all have that hobby that we’ve been saying for years “I’m gonna start that.” But year after year keeps passing. Make today that day! There’s a reason you are drawn to this hobby. Just go for it!

5. Read an inspiring blog then take action.

Identify a blog that you love! Not “like” but “love”! Then read 5 posts that draw you in. Then immediately take action based on what you learn. There is a reason you are drawn to this content. By taking action you will start to open a floodgate to learn amazing things about yourself.

6. Send an email “questionnaire” to loved ones.

Send an email to all the people you love in your life. These are the people that know you best. The following works perfectly: “Hi (name here). I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, but I don’t know where to start. What do you think I would be amazing at?”

I have done this numerous times. You will be shocked! People that are around you all the time see your strengths and skills but since it’s not “normal conversation” it never comes up. Just make sure you send it to supportive, positive people who love you.

7. Ask and answer the question “What do I want to do?” with no limits.

Just sit back and ask yourself “What do I want to do with my life?” and hold nothing back. Don’t accept any excuses. Most likely that one thing that you say “Well I would love to ________ but I could never do that because _____________” is your thing.

8. Do things that scare you.

Choose something that scares you and go out and do it. When we face our fears we learn immense things about our character. It’s incredibly confidence building to attempt to do things that scare us. Also, very often the reason it scares us is because it means so much to us. The reason it means so much is because deep down in our core – we want it more than anything in the world!

9. Actively seek out “awkward situations.”

Have you ever attended a “community social event” and you didn’t know anyone. The great thing about attending awkward situations is that it gives us a wonderful opportunity to learn about ourselves. Because we feel uncomfortable we are highly aware of ourselves and those around us. It basically causes forced reflection. Which is always a great thing!

10. Always focus on learning.

In every single situation, no matter what happens, always ask yourself: What can I learn from this? What does this tell me about myself?

If you learn in every single situation… Just imagine how much clarity that would bring to your life.

——–

Izzy is living, breathing proof you can pursue your dream. no matter how crazy it is.  Izzy’s a former teacher who lives in Japan. He’s pursuing his childhood dream: to become a ninja. Check out The Ninja Tool Kit– resources, books and tools to inspire, encourage and educate you to follow your dreams.

 

  • Nadya

    Great  advice about email “questionnaire”! I really like this tip. Thank you!

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Well I’m thrilled you liked it :). Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • http://www.theconfidencelounge.com/ Aaron Morton

    Good article and just taking one can help get people become clear abput what they want.

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Too true Aaron. Once we have the knowledge of how to go about doing stuff, the most important thing we can do is to take action! I’m really glad you enjoyed the article. And I love the point you made! 

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. 

  • http://www.acalltoaction.net/ Trevor Wilson

    A lot of these are good suggestions for pushing beyond our boundaries and becoming more well-rounded individuals, but I don’t see how all of them meet the specific criteria of helping to find your passion. Some yes, but all, no.

    I like the simple question, “If you had all the money in the world, what would you do?”

    It can be a tough one to answer, but that answer will point you in the right direction.

    As an aside: I’ve known plenty of overweight people who volunteer. It is not the “fat” who don’t volunteer, just the lazy.

    Cheers!

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Fair enough Trevor :). You will notice the title doesn’t say “10 Ways That Work For Every Single Person To Find Their Passion”. Each and every human is different, therefore what works for one person won’t work for another. I do agree with you that some may work better for a larger number of people but I believe that everything on the list will help a person to find what they want to do with their life. 

      Agreed on the “fat” comment – though, I think when we start focusing on statements like that it detracts from the purpose of the article. Though, maybe I need to take that into consideration when I’m writing the article. 

      I really appreciate your honest thoughts man. All too often the comments turn into a “praise every single thing” about the post and it feels insincere :). 

      Thanks for taking the time to leave such a real comment. 

      • Rebecca Epstein-Kennedy

        Seriously, Izzy? When people take issue with something you included in an article that explicitly hates on an already discriminated against group of people, they are detracting from the purpose of the article? That’s like saying it would be tangential for a disabled person to get upset with an article in the New York Times that threw in one random sentence about how all disabled people are fakers and freeloaders. Intolerance needs to be called out. Another great way to start moving somewhere in your life is to take responsibility for your actions, learn from your mistakes, and try to improve. You said it yourself. Learn, learn, learn. You should take your own advice.

        • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

          What’s up Rebecca :). 

          Yes. Seriously!

        • Greg

          I think this quote was taken out of context: “Fat, lazy, boring
          people don’t tend to volunteer.” Let’s take a moment to dissect that statement.

          First of all the emphasis was on “don’t tend to volunteer”. This is a true statement. You could be one or all three. The point is that Izzy was just saying, it’s not good to be fat, lazy or boring.

          This touches on a soft point for some of you because you may be fat or you may be lazy or you may be boring (or have a fondness for someone who is). However, the only issue raised was with the word “fat” as though this was a protected class.

          Here are some of the things that carrying around extra weight can hinder: energy levels, motivation, confidence, etc.

          The reality is that most people who are fat, lazy or boring have a choice. Sometimes people collapse into the victim mentality and get depressed and start thinking that there is no solution for them.

          So again, I recommend that everyone take a chill pill and govern yourselves accordingly. Because this was not an insult but rather an observation.

          With the emphasis on the words “don’t tend to volunteer”.

          If you don’t volunteer in your community, it doesn’t mean you’re fat, lazy or boring. But if you are fat, lazy and/or boring, chances are you probably don’t volunteer. Not because you don’t want to but because you may possess one or all three of the aforementioned characteristics.

          It’s not a one-size-fits-all statement. Just a generality. Let that soak in. Pray the Serenity Prayer and then get going!!

          Respectfully submitted,

          Greg Bell
          President
          The Real Estate Investors Training Club – http://www.REITC.com

    • http://www.screwthesystemnow.com/ ScrewtheSystemJoe

      That’s a good point Trevor – I would generally go with that question as well, ‘If money was no object, what would you do?’ It tends to cut through all of the crap people tell themselves as I would guess that 90% of people do what they do primarily to make money. You’d have to be a very brave person to pursue the answer to that question but the world needs more people like this.

      Great article Izzy. I like the point about taking ONE major lesson from a book at a time. This can be applied with so many things. Often we try to learn a hundred things badly, rather than one thing well – good advice bro.

    • Greg

      I think this quote was taken out of context: “Fat, lazy, boring people don’t tend to volunteer.” Let’s take a moment to dissect that statement.

      First of all the emphasis was on “don’t tend to volunteer”. This is a true statement. You could be one or all three. The point is that Izzy was just saying, it’s not good to be fat, lazy or boring.

      This touches on a soft point for some of you because you may be fat or you may be lazy or you may be boring (or have a fondness for someone who is). However, the only issue raised was with the word “fat” as though this was a protected class.

      Here are some of the things that carrying around extra weight can hinder: energy levels, motivation, confidence, etc.

      The reality is that most people who are fat, lazy or boring have a choice. Sometimes people collapse into the victim mentality and get depressed and start thinking that there is no solution for them. So again, I recommend that everyone take a chill pill and govern yourselves accordingly. Because this was not an insult but rather an observation.

      With the emphasis on the words “don’t tend to volunteer”.

      If you don’t volunteer in your community, it doesn’t mean you’re fat, lazy or boring. But if you are fat, lazy and/or boring, chances are you probably don’t volunteer. Not because you don’t want to but because you may possess one or all three of the aforementioned characteristics.

      It’s not a one-size-fits-all statement. Just a generality. Let that soak in. Pray the Serenity Prayer and then get going!!

      Respectfully submitted,
      Greg Bell
      President
      The Real Estate Investors Training Club – http://www.REITC.com

      Fat, lazy, boring people don’t tend to volunteer.
      Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/10-ways-to-determine-exactly-what-you-want-to-do-with-your-life/#K74wBycDMjrKMbbi.99
      Fat, lazy, boring people don’t tend to volunteer.
      Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/10-ways-to-determine-exactly-what-you-want-to-do-with-your-life/#K74wBycDMjrKMbbi.99
      Fat, lazy, boring people don’t tend to volunteer.
      Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/10-ways-to-determine-exactly-what-you-want-to-do-with-your-life/#K74wBycDMjrKMbbi.99

  • CarolGPaperCrafts

    Hi Izzy,  some great ideas and prompts for reflection here!  I’m going to share it with my kids – one in high school, one in college. 

    Number 8 “Do Things That Scare You” makes me think of something I saw on a mug: “Your life starts at the edge of your comfort zone.”  Isn’t it great to find inspiration in odd places?

    Carol

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Hi Carol :).

      I’m thrilled you are going to share this with your children. I believe it one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves: “What do I want to do with my life?”

      I believe with all my heart – that when we find that thing it will allow us to give to the world in a manner we never thought possible. This is because we will become passionate, engaged, and excited about life – and that is a beautiful thing!

  • http://www.deanphillips.net/ Dean Phillips

    Absolutely loved this man!

    You crushed it! 

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Haha! Thanks man :). I appreciate you saying that.

  • http://twitter.com/ConfidenceCues ConfidenceCues

    I hate #9. That’s going beyond my comfort zone! Aaargh. Well, I guess you are right. In making those awkward situations, I have grown to be a better person. I must say i have achieved a lot because of those moments!

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      It’s one of the many ironies of the universe. To grow, we must do things that make us super uncomfortable… But the beauty of growth is that we will no longer feel awkward doing those things that once made us feel awkward.

      But then to grow some more we must do more things that make us awkward :). Thanks for taking the time to comment Rob :)

  • SpinClub

    I’ve been reading this blog; PTB for about year now and I honesty think this article is one of the best. I feel blessed to have actually discovered what truly makes me complete in life but to make it a career is another topic all together. Unfortunately I’ve been holding myself back due to the pressures of everyday life and trying to create a plan to make my passion my fulltime.

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Thank you so much for saying that :). It means a lot to me.

      Shifting to following our passion full time isn’t something that happens overnight. If you are making progress every single day then you will eventually get there. They key is to make sure you participate in what I call “high value activities”. Every day I ask myself “What is my highest value activity?” In other words “What gets me to where I want to go the quickest?” Then I make sure to do it each day!

      It’s very powerful if you focus on this each day.

      • SpinClub

        Hello Izmael, I want to thank you for taking the time to reply and your guidance. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. I will definitely be applying your advice immediately! Cheers

        • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

          Awesome! I love to hear that :).

          If you are interested I work one on one with people (the first session is free) – http://www.30yearoldninja.com/conversation/ . you can check it out, if it seems like something you could dig then sign on up :).

  • http://www.finishyourproject.com Eric Johnson MBA

    9. Actively seek out “awkward situations.” – Nice!  I think many of us get caught in seeking comfort (where no growth is going to happen), but intentionally going after awkward situations is an EPIC suggested action to take!!

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Haha! Awesome Eric :).

      It’s kind of crazy – by doing things that make us feel awkward we grow and become… less awkward. But then to have more growth we must do more things that make us feel awkward :) .

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • http://projectlifegrowth.com/ Angie Bowen

    Thanks so much for this article. I’ve spent the past decade struggling with chronic physical and mental health issues and now find myself at 35 years old still not sure what I ultimately want to do with my life, but ready to figure it out.

    This article really helped give me some direction in that.

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      I’m really glad it was helpful Angie. Now the question is: which strategy will you immediately begin to implement into your life? Only choose one! Run with it :).

      • http://projectlifegrowth.com/ Angie Bowen

        I actually have a time chunk set aside for later in the year just to focus on finding my passion. In fact, I made my yearly todo shortly before this article was published which is one of the things that made it seem so perfectly timed. Right now my main focus is recovering from my autoimmune disorder; following all of my specialist’s instructions to the tee, exercise and eating clean. And that has to be 100% of my focus.

        For future reference though, when I get to the “find your passion” todo I’ll start with the first on the list. Since I’m a natural planner and list maker it’ll be a fun exercise and get me motivated for the other steps.

        • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

          Excellent :). I love how organized and structured you are with your time. I just really hope you stick to it – and don’t allow it to slip.

          Attempting to discover our passion is very scary because it requires that we really put ourselves on the line! Which also means it will be very easy for your mind to come up with reasons to put it off until later. Just wanted to throw out this warning.

  • Shaunakaye

    Wow, the article I have been waiting for. Thank you!

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Awesome! I’m thrilled to have written it and to have it posted on Pick The Brain :).

  • misa

    Ciao Izzy san. Ninja ni naru tame ni Nihon ni ittano desuka? Dokode Ninja no benkyo wo shite imasuka? Watashi wa Togakshi ga aru Nagano no shusshin desu. Ima wa italia ni sunde imasu.  Kiji arigato, sanko ni shitemimasu. Ganbatte, Ninja shugyo!!  -misa

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      konichiwa Misa-san. doko wa nihongo o benkyoushimasuka?

      Watashi wa ureshi, Misa-san ha kono “post” tanoshimashita :).

      Hiragana to Kanji o yomimasuka?

      Boku no nihongo was furui. ishukan ni itsuka wa nihongo o benkyoushimasu :).

  • hippychickwannabe

    The timing of this article could not be better -and I think there was a reason I saw this share from a friend!  I’ve recently become at a crossroads in my life… my husband passed away 6 months ago leaving me all alone in this world.  I took a few months to feel sorry for myself, but, lately I’ve come to the realization that I AM all alone and I can do anything I want for the rest of my life!  It’s pretty scary and yet, empowering!  I SOOO want to live a different life than I have now but I don’t know where I want to go or what I want to do…. I do know what I DON’T want to be doing and where I DON’T want to be 5 years from now!  I’m going to call that a start!  I’ve printed this out and I’m going to give it an all out effort to find my path in life.  Thank you for your help in my journey!!

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Hello hippychick :).

      First off, I am very sorry for the loss of your husband.

      I feel very humbled that this can help you through this very challenging situation in your life.

      You are correct – knowing what you don’t want is a start :). Sometimes it is powerful if you write down what you don’t want then ask yourself “What is the opposite?” Very often the opposite of what we don’t want is what we do want.
      :)

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  • http://www.confidecoaching.com Paul Strobl

    I love what you said about number 2.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recommended a book to a client and they tell me how they’re going to get through it as quickly as possible.  Taking your time and doing the exercises is key.  

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      It blows my mind how many people will read a book – love it, and then do nothing with it. As far as I’m concerned books are the cheapest most amazing way to get incredible personal development. Yet so few people truly take advantage of the power of a book.

    • Shauna

      I would like to know which books you recommend

  • http://twitter.com/CronoAlSayed Abdullah AlSayed

    is there anybody i can talk to? i feel lonley, i was strong and kept going for long time but dunno what happend just

  • http://twitter.com/CronoAlSayed Abdullah AlSayed

    is there anybody i can talk to? i feel lonley.. iam lonley in everything, i kept going forward for a long time but dunno what happend..

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Hello Abdullah :). I’m sorry to hear you feel lonely. I reccommend you look into doing community service. This is a great way to connect with good and very kind people.

      If you sit around all day doing nothing, you will continue to be lonely. Nobody is going to knock on your door and say “hey, here’s 100 amazing friends!”

      You gotta go out and get them.

  • Exoticgurl89

    Oh my god your blog is amazing :D i stumbled upon it a couple of days ago and i’m already addicted, great article :D keep it up :D

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Well, thank you so much for saying that :). It really means a lot to me. Always feel free to email me or comment at my site as well – I reply to every email and comment. I love connecting with my readers.

  • junosorio

    Great article . . . sometimes I struggle on this, still don’t know what I want to do with my career  :)

    • http://www.30yearoldninja.com/ Izmael Arkin

      Well if you are struggling the only way to figure it out is to out and try a strategy to figure it out. So which strategy are you going to implement?

    • Shauna

      Im having the same problem too. Have you figured it out yet? If so What steps did you take?

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  • Jkl999

    remove the word ‘fat’. it’s incredibly insulting.

    • Yoshi

      Are you one of them?

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  • Mike Wilson

    I like your post.  I just finished a book and am looking for recommendations.  In regards to #2, what book(s) would you recommend?

    • Shauna

      what was your first book?

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  • Rebecca Epstein-Kennedy

    I love this article SO much, but I am horrified by the way you put the words “fat” and “lazy” together as if all fat people are lazy, and the fact that you think they don’t volunteer. What the hell? I’m fat. I run a free writing group for people with mental illnesses, I mentor an undergraduate at my alma mater, and I help out at the local animal shelter. What you did there was include a hateful, “fat-phobic” sentence that ruined your credibility for me. Would you say something so obviously hateful about black or gay people in a public article? No. Fat people deserve the same respect as anyone else. I refer you to this fantastic article for education about fat phobia:  http://kateharding.net/faq/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/

    I’m really torn because this site is fantastically helpful and inspiring, but that one sentence you wrote may have put me off of it forever. Bah.

  • amira ali

    hey how it is going

  • amira ali

    it is truth

  • shai

    Wow thank you Izzy. I tried the 5year success plan and this is what poured from my heart.

    Today i woke up next to the most wonderful and beautiful man in the world inside and out. And peep this, he turned me over to tell me thank you for being the most beautifully loving wife and mother he could ever have imagined gracing the presence of this earth. Now I’m feeling more rich inside than I am on the outside…and thats alot of money.

    Today is our little ones 1st birthday and we’ve invited over our good friends from our neighborhood community center, our families, and a few of our really close mutual friends… theyre all pretty mutual. Afterward we are going to drop the baby off with the my friend Angelique and attend a private dinner party that is being thrown for our entertainment company reaching a level of excellence in Forbes Magazine.

    I am so amazed at all the beautiful options of lovely gowns and elegant jewelry to choose from, my husband and I serve each other so well. Yesterday we taught each other how to prepare one of our favorite international dishes. I did quite well for my first time at sushi.

    I am simply amazed at myself that I already know exactly the kind of life I desire. I’d love to know your perception of what I’vewritten Iif you will.

  • Madeleine

    Hello Izzy. I never participate in message board conversations but I stumbled into this blog post and have found myself reading the comments and I am unable to resist. Despite it being 7 months ago, I think your reaction to Rebecca is rude and ignorant and this plus the way you talk about others’ praise for you and for your blog makes me think you are an insensitive cocky egoist. I am proud of this Rebecca for expressing strong like for your blog despite her disappointment in your ignorant use of the word fat, and even after your sarcastic and inconsiderate response to her thoughts and feelings.

    “IZZY IS LIVING PROOF THAT YADDA YADDA YADDA DREAMS COME TRUE ” … capitalize on my greatttttt success and earn myself pride as a self absorbed g u r u

  • Greg

    I think this quote was taken out of context: “Fat, lazy, boring people don’t tend to volunteer.” Let’s take a moment to dissect that statement.

    First of all the emphasis was on “don’t tend to volunteer”. This is a true statement. You could be one or all three. The point is that Izzy was just saying, it’s not good to
    be fat, lazy or boring.

    This touches on a soft point for some of you because you may be fat or you may be lazy or you may be boring (or have a fondness for someone who is). However, the
    only issue raised was with the word “fat” as though this was a protected class.

    Here are some of the things that carrying around extra weight can hinder: energy levels, motivation, confidence, etc.

    The reality is that most people who are fat, lazy or boring have a choice. Sometimes people collapse into the victim mentality and get depressed and start thinking that there is no solution for them. So again, I recommend that everyone take a chill pill and govern yourselves accordingly. Because this was not an insult but rather an observation.

    With the emphasis on the words “don’t tend to volunteer”.

    If you don’t volunteer in your community, it doesn’t mean you’re fat, lazy or boring. But if you are fat, lazy and/or boring, chances are you probably don’t volunteer. Not because you don’t want to but because you may possess one or all three of the aforementioned characteristics.

    It’s not a one-size-fits-all statement. Just a generality. Let that soak in. Pray the Serenity Prayer and then get going!!

    Respectfully submitted,

    Greg Bell
    President
    The Real Estate Investors Training Club
    http://www.REITC.com

  • Shauna

    2. Read non-fiction self-help books and implement a major action.

    What books do you suggest?