You have an inner voice.
But you might not hear what it’s saying. There’s a cacophony of advice from people telling you what to do with your life, distracting you from the truth within you.
How do you tune in to that truth?
Be alone with yourself.
“Today, it is essential that we find solitude so that we can learn what it has to teach us, so that we can find the quiet to listen to our inner voice, and so that we may find the space to focus and create.”
– Leo Babauta, in ‘Manage Your Day-To-Day’
To figure out what you want, you have to disconnect. For a moment.
For a moment, shy away from whatever people are telling you; turn off the TV and unplug from the noise that social media is making.
When you disconnect from all the static, you realise that it’s just you and your inner voice.
Clarity. Self-reflection. You piece things together.
“This calming of the mind helps us to figure out what really matters and to hear own creative voice, which can be drowned out by the cacophony of our daily tasks and online interactions.”
The people you surround yourself with will distract you from your inner voice.
Let’s say you hear your friends talking things up, how it would be cool to work in advertising. Their enthusiasm is contagious and you might become temporarily enamored by this idea.
This ‘excitatory residue’ might stay with you and you might even consider this as a route you’d might like to take.
Wow, advertising! Maybe I’ll do that!
And then your parents give you advice on what to do next. They tell you to do something completely different to what you’ve heard from your friends.
But because they’re your parents you have a natural, near automatic inclination to listen to them and you try to convince yourself that what they told you is what you truly want for yourself.
For instance, my Dad always wanted me to become an engineer.
Wow, engineering! Maybe I’ll do that.
As you go through your life, you’re constantly influenced by what the media says, by the movies you watched, by the people you surround yourself, and by what your parents try to advise you.
People put different stuff in our minds on what the idea of success is.
It’s not your idea – it’s your dad’s idea, your brother’s idea, a bit of your friend’s idea, a bit of BBC’s idea and so on.
These are things in your head that you didn’t put there, as Mike Cernovich from ‘Danger and Play’ says.
We become an amalgamation of all these different people, all these different ideas.
We become this botched blend of what others want for us and what others think would be good for us.
Our minds become contaminated by all this noise and it is fundamentally distracting us from the truth. It’s distracting us from us. You from Your inner voice.
The education system will distract you from your inner voice.
Robert Greene, author of the book Mastery, argues that the current education system that’s been in place for the past 150 years is contaminating the ‘inner voice’ of children.
It’s a top-down system that throws a bunch of rules and structure that distract you from a particular subject that you’re inner voice is naturally drawing you to; it’s a distraction because “it makes you lose touch with who you are, what makes you different, what makes you unique, and what you love in life.”
“All of us, when we were young, had basic inclinations. There was a subject that we loved, we felt connected to it. It’s not something obvious where you’re 4 years old and you say ‘I want to be a lawyer’. I doesn’t happen like that.
It’s usually like ‘I love physical activity’; ‘I like making things with my hands’; ‘I like thinking about other people in social environments.”
“People get turned off learning through the education system. They finish college and they say ‘goddamn I am out of that system, I don’t want to open another book for the rest of my life.’
What you really what to do, and you get to 22 and you finish school, you should actually be more curious than ever. You want to learn.
You want to learn practical skills; you want to learn what other people are doing. You have to have an incredible amount of curiosity to succeed or to become a master.
And it kills that curiosity because it makes you study things you’re not interested in, it makes you waste time on things that have no connection to who you are personally.”
Watch the video below from 4:18 to listen to Robert go into more detail about this:
How to know what you want from life
Spend time alone to figure it out.
Take time to reflect upon yourself. Spend time alone to figure out what your true idea of success is. What you feel would be best for you.
You have to go through that introspection and self-reflection to gain this valuable self-knowledge. Be truthful and objective during this vital solitude.
You need to spend time alone with yourself to know what you want. Otherwise you won’t know. Simple.
Here’s what Keith Ferrazzi writes in his book Never Eat Alone:
“Have you ever sat down and thought seriously about what you truly love? What you’re good at? What you want to accomplish in life? What are the obstacles that are stopping you?
Most people don’t. They accept what they ‘should’ be doing, rather than take the time to figure out what they want to be doing.
We all have our own loves, insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, and unique capabilities. And we have to take those into account in figuring out where our talents and desires intersect.
That intersection is what I call your “blue flame”—where passion and ability come together. When that blue flame is ignited within a person, it is a powerful force in getting you where you want to go.
If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.”
Look for the commonalities in your days.
You already have the answer to your problem. It’s deeply embedded in the unconscious part of your mind.
Elements of your deepest desires bleed into your everyday routine. They manifest themselves in your everyday of your life.
Maybe you enjoy writing? Or you have a penchant for communicating with others? Perhaps you are drawn to the thrill of public speaking?
You will naturally put yourself in the position to take advantage of these skills and use them on a daily basis. You will do it because you love doing it.
Look for the commonalities in your days. These are the clues your subconscious is giving you.
Visualise your perfect day
At his first ever seminar hosted in London, Mike Cernovich from ‘Danger and Play’ suggested that you take some time to visualise your perfect day.
Plan it out in as much – or as little – detail as you like. Doing this exercise will help you figure a few things out about what you want from life.
I strongly recommend you check this idea out by listening to Mike’s podcast episode about this: