You don’t know what you want to “be when you grow up”— but you think that you should.
You don’t want to continue down the soulless path you’re on— the corporate ladder, the unsatisfying job that pays the bills, the [fill-in-the-blank-here]— but you think that you should.
Should, should, should.
What if I told you something today that could change your life forever?
What if I told you that the “should” is a myth?
What if I told you the problem is NOT that we don’t have it all figured out…
Instead, it’s that we think we SHOULD have it all figured out. The problem is that there’s this ridiculous expectation, this insane belief, this PREPOSTEROUS idea that we should know it all (thus the horrible affliction of the soul, shoulditis).
Enter the ultimate cure for shoulditis: the knowcation.
THE CURE FOR SHOULDITIS: TAKE A KNOWCATION
What’s a knowcation?
It’s a vacation from needing to know.
It’s a vacation from expectation.
It’s a period of time where you allow yourself to ask questions, to explore and to discover that deep well of thick, bubbling awesomesauce that lies within you.
The way I see it, the knowcation should be a required, or at least widely accepted, period of our lives. It ought to be the norm, the standard, the expected.
What if instead of sending their kids off to college after high school, parents sent their kids off on “knowcations?”
“Bye bye, Johnny! Have fun on your knowcation!”
And off Johnny goes into the world— off he goes to find himself.
Imagine a world where the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is replaced by “What have you learned about yourself during your knowcation, son?”
This is the kind of world I want to live in one day.
. . .
Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.
– Henry David Thoreau
. . .
Ask yourself this, guys:
Why do we have this strange compulsion to know, to be certain? What’s the worst that could happen if we let go of needing to know all the answers?
Before taking my very first knowcation back in 2007, I came to a shocking realization:
“… My life wasn’t going to end if I didn’t know all the answers. I wasn’t going to fall off the edge of the earth or get eaten by a pack of bloodthirsty wolves. My Myspace page wasn’t going to get unexpectedly deleted. (Yes; I said Myspace— this was 2007, people.)
The only thing that would happen is that I wouldn’t have it all figured out— which I already didn’t anyhow.”
That’s it, guys. We aren’t going to die if we don’t have shit figured out. Our lives are not gonna come to an end.
The only thing that will happen is that we won’t have it all figured out for awhile (which we already don’t anyhow).
Is there anything inherently wrong with that?
. . .
The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery.
- Fred Wolf
. . .
Now, to be clear: the point of the knowcation is not just to float around and stay lost forever. During my very first knowcation, I’m afraid that this was where I didn’t get things quite right. I did a brilliant job letting go of my need to know— but I failed to realize that I was only executing on only one-half of the equation.
If we actually want to get anywhere, we’ve also got to take targeted actions toward finding ourselves and our vocations. We’ve got to take targeted actions that address the two problems I described in Part I of the guide:
- Address the “one-shot internet shopping dilemma” by looking externally: Fire small bullets (& try on inexpensive jackets) to gain experience BEFORE making one big commitment to a career choice or a career move (rather than firing one big cannon and “losing it all”). I’ll show you how to do this (hint: you can do it even if you currently have a full time job).
- Address the “dilemma of the nonexistent jacket” by looking internally: Learn how to evaluate the outer experience that comes from firing bullets (“trying on jackets”) by looking within yourself. Learn to listen deeply to your life in order to hear that voice that is yours alone, and allow this to guide you toward that person you were meant to become. Discover that one-of-a-kind jacket that can’t be found in any store.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to drop out of school or quit your job to take a knowcation (although you can if you want to). You don’t have to leave everything behind and take off for some foreign country (although, again, you can if you want to). There are infinite ways to take a knowcation, and only you can determine the knowcation that’s right for you.
Want to know more? Check out The Unlost Guide to Finding Your Career & Life Path (an interactive e-course).
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[Image by Giorgio Bagnarelli]