After doing a ton of research, this letter writer still can’t decide what to study next.
Think about what gives you satisfaction, says our elder, and indulge in some positive future fantasies.
Hi, I just finished one of my biggest exams in April and am now on a holiday while waiting for the results to be announced. I am currently working to gain experience while surveying for some courses or fields that are suitable for me and to further my studies. After months of researching and attending talks, I still can’t seem to grasp my interest or pathways to further invest in. I am now in confusion and don’t know what my next step is. Due to all the research, I know that making the right decision at this stage is really important, which makes me even more anxious day by day. Friends around me also seemed to know what they want to pursue in the future which makes me worry as well. How do I determine what to pursue in the future? I think that’s all for my problems for now. Thanks for listening 😉
The anxiety you feel is quite common when choices are considered that can significantly impact your life. The “right” decision is no more than educated guesswork about what will bring you long-term satisfaction. You have done the research and are not yet confident about the path to take. It’s normal to feel anxious about moving to a new place or starting a new job. This type of anxiety is unpleasant, but it may motivate you to work harder and do a better job. Ordinary anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes, but does not interfere with your everyday life.
One mistake is to compare yourself to a friend’s situation. A comparison with others serves either one of two purposes. It makes us feel wrong or deficient or that the other person is wrong or flawed! You are unique, and so is your situation.
Faced with a similar problem, a wise counselor asked me, “What activities bring you the most satisfaction?” After considering the question for a good while, my gut reaction (or sixth sense or intuition) came up with this answer. “Being of service to others and creating joy within myself brought me the most satisfaction over time.” I thought that anything I would do for a career that would support those goals would be fine. That gave me a broad choice of things I could do and did not limit me from pursuing a vocation. I ended up practicing law, and doing volunteer work fulfilled my criteria.
I call myself an extrovert, so working with others was not a roadblock. Had I been an introvert, I would have been limited in my choices. You do have to take such things into account when evaluating the assets you possess. When you narrow down your selections, I suggest you interview people working in the field and ask them for their opinion of the ‘bad news’ about the proposed choices facing you.
There is one last thing to realize. Any thought about the “future” is nothing but a fantasy (because it hasn’t yet happened). Your choice is either to create a positive fantasy or a negative one. So far, the anxiety you experience is about the consequences of your negative future fantasy. While I don’t know you, I believe it is probable that your fear is one or more of these: a fear of being judged, condemned, a fear of being wrong, the fear of not measuring up, the fear of disappointment, or fear of losing out.
Whatever it may be, the immediate cure is to realize that fear cannot exist at this moment in time, and it is always about a future adverse event in fantasy land. The remedy is to be living in the present, and this is where life is happening. So feel free to entertain your fantasies if you make it all positive future fantasies or dreams.
I hope this advice will bring you more peace of mind and a direction to follow.
Article #: 487595