What can you do that no one else wants to do?
What do you find yourself capable of doing, over and over again, even when everyone else has left or decided it isn’t fun anymore?
In other words, what can you endure?
These are questions that I think can help us clarify the activities that we should be pursuing. We all want to contribute in some way. The problem is finding the “right” thing.
There might not exist a perfect activity for you to do, but thinking about what you can do more than anyone else is a good starting point. Do you find yourself glued to your keyboard, typing away when others are scrolling around on the web or wasting time? Is the lure of a musical instrument something you can sink five hours into? Do you take pleasure in trying to crack difficult mathematical puzzles?
Whatever that thing is for you, dig deeper into it. It’s easy to overanalyze activities, wondering if we really like them or if there’s something better available. But it’s a lot easier to ask yourself if you can do an activity more than others.
I’ve noticed this in my own life when it comes to running. I’ve run every single day for over three years now, and show no sign of stopping. Furthermore, I average over a hundred kilometres each week. As such, even if I didn’t have such a streak, I would be running well above what the average person does.
I’ve been running for so long that this seems normal to me, so it’s a little disorienting when others express surprise at the volume I run and the dedication I have to getting up in the morning to do so. In my mind, it’s completely normal, but the reality is that it is very different from what others do.
What keeps me going during those cold winter mornings when people are trying to dig into their bedsheets even more to stay warm? Why do I have this urge to keep going?
I don’t know the exact reason, but I think it points to something worth exploring. I have the endurance to keep running past the point where it is considered “cool”. I didn’t run for a few weeks and then stop. I’ve turned running into an entire lifestyle, and an integral part of my life. When I think of myself, running is one of the first things that pops into my mind. I can barely fathom what life without running was like.
Finding the right thing to do in life is a daunting task. There’s always the uncertainty that an unknown activity is just around the corner, which tempts us to keep searching. However, perhaps a better way would be to find the activity you can keep doing longer than anyone else. Then, don’t worry about it being the “right” thing, because it’s clearly something that you’re obsessed with anyway.
The point isn’t to stick with something forever because you feel like you have to. Instead, it’s to think about the activities that are present in your life, and figure out if you do any of them much more than anyone else you know. If the answer is yes, it’s worth taking the time to pursue this path a little further. It may not be what you do all your life, but it might be something that brings with it an enormous amount of joy.
Don’t search for the “right” thing. Search for the thing that you can endure more than everyone else.