A man moving at the pace of a sloth at Shell gas station. (In praise of not looking)
On choosing a career after high school when you have no idea what you want to be in the future

A lost young adult from Kathmandu. (In praise of doing)

[ 7 min read ]

I don’t know exactly what I want to communicate in this post, but I started writing it anyway. I believe that starting is the key. If you just sit there and stare at the screen or that blank sheet of paper and you don’t know what you want to write about, where to begin, or what you want to communicate (to yourself and others) then you may wait indefinitely.

Start (anywhere and anyhow — even in the poorest of fashions) and see where it will lead you, is my advice for anyone who wants to write anything, but also for those who want to find the right career (some occupation that will suit them). Sitting and complaining how fucked-up it all is and bitching about life (and how unfortunate you were or are compared to others, and how you will never …), or how bad of a writer you are (compared to others, and telling yourself that you will never write like …), will get you nowhere.

Starting anywhere and anyhow always worked for me. At least I can’t remember a single instance when it didn’t. I can only remember instances when it did. So I have every reason to assume that it works every single time.

Take a look at the following exchange I recently had with a young person called Jarina from Kathmandu in Nepal. That’s when I last used that technique.

Jarina:

Hello … I have been following your quora answers and found it to be different. It’s beautiful the way you present what you want to informand. it’s not that I want ‘someone wiser’ to guide me but I definitely feel like to learn from you.. I like your thoughts . I don’t know if am sounding cheap or whatever but you are wiser and please involve me to think like you do..
Thankyou.

Me:

Jarina, thank you for your kind words. I appreciate the fact that you read what I write. I’m very glad you find value in it.
Am I a wise human being? Yes, I am, but so are you, and each and every one of my readers. Not because they read my stuff and, for the most part, agree with what I say, but because we all have this potential in us. I believe so.
I spend most of my time thinking, writing and reading, and I guess that’s where those thoughts come from. And I think someone else could come up with similar or the same thoughts and ideas if that person spent as much time on those activities as I do.
Most importantly, I believe that I can have those thoughts. This is not something I was taught as a young adult. We (I and my peers) were never really encouraged to have our own opinions and share them with others, and questioning the status quo and established rules and traditions, and challenging authorities were almost unthinkable.
My parents didn’t believe I have much potential. They knew that I was hardworking and ambitious (and not dumb) but they thought that only they or other people can show me the right path. They believed that I’m not competent to figure things out for myself. They (and our teachers) believed in following the flock — now I can say for sure that it’s something most people believe in. They too were never encouraged. Such is the society.
Let’s keep in touch.
Best
Lukasz

Jarina:

I thought people here in developing countries only have this kind of society but now I feel it’s like same everywhere….
I am doing my undergraduate studies .. but now im not that interested as I used to be before.. many of my classmates feel the same but still we are dragging it to complete it.. many are after the certificate some want to get the job and some want scholarship for abroad studies.. I m not saying it’s bad to think for future but feels like for what? I am stuck I don’t know what I should try.. unknowly I am too in the same flock which you described.. sometimes I feel like I should work on my GPA to get accepted for abroad studies.but I don’t enjoy reading the way they teach … what I had thought and the way they are only covering up the syllabus looks like we are only being pragrammed for certain skills(to get job or to be accepted by others) Maybe I m on the wrong way of studying. I’m not satisfied. plus I have not tried other areas .. I was good in studies so my elders showed me the paths of study only.. I had never been permitted to go out of my town either. It’s the first time I went for college tour for 6 days(out of my city) last month . My parents wait for my undergraduation to complete and then run for graduation or to do the job. Some days I feel like leaving home but can’t ( my mom needs me).I don’t wake up feeling energetic as before.. I feel like leaving my study but then do what? Each day seems like m wasting .. it doesn’t feel right.. and yes I don’t give time to think thoughts like this because I left to think.. I mean m loosing interest from everything.
Once I was too a hardworking and ambitious but now even waking up from bed has become a forceful task. You said passion will find us but my life has become like a fixed routine ..

Me:

Where do you live?

Jarina:

Kathmandu , Nepal

Me:

Jarina, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. As to your current situation — is that the worst? I know people don’t like this question, but it’s really important to ask yourself this. OK, you’ll end up spending several years doing some studies just to get a degree (and probably trying to make some members of your family happy), because you have no other idea or plan. So what? You will learn some things you will never need and some things you will find helpful.
Maybe it sucks because that wasn’t entirely your own decision, or maybe it wasn’t your decision at all? OK, now you know what it’s like to do things which other people want you to do (because they have certain expectations and dreams or plans). You’ve learned.
You think you could be doing something else, something better (which makes more sense) and you know what it is? Do that!
You believe you can’t allow yourself to drop out of college (someone is paying for your studies and you don’t want to infuriate those people, those members of your family)? Start doing your thing apart from your studies. Even if it’s something nobody will pay you for. I believe that having something like that (the thing you enjoy doing and which you do because you chose so, not because you’d been told by others to do that — because it’s smart, practical, or logical) will fill you with a sense of pride or at least you’ll feel that you’re doing something in your life you really care about and that’s tremendously important.
Doing something you care about, even if it’s not a paid work (or especially then) very often leads to passion.
Doing is always better than looking at your life and bitching about it or wondering why it’s so fucked-up and telling yourself that you can’t do this or that. Do something. Anything. It will soon lead to new things. You won’t regret it. Never focus on the things you cannot do. Forget about it — it will never solve any of your problems, or get you out of trouble, or help you change your life. Forget the expression “I can’t” or any expression to that effect.
Let me offer you an example. One of the reasons there was such a long pause (I didn’t write you right away) was that I didn’t quite know what to write (what to tell you). The other was that there were more messages I needed to respond to. Today I sat and started typing. And I still wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say to you. But the further I went (the more I typed) the clearer the idea became what I could say to you.
Never sit (alone or with your colleagues) and bitch about your predicament. Besides chances are it’s far from the worst. Always focus on things you can do, not on the ones you can’t. Ignore those you can’t do and do only those you can. Sometimes or even oftentimes you’ll realize there are other ways — you will be able to accomplish the same or something similar in different ways.
You can’t leave home because your mom needs you? Don’t leave home and play that hand. Stop ruminating or dreaming what you could do / accomplish if you could leave your home, and start doing the things you can do. Focus entirely on them.
And of course, test your assumptions. Maybe your assumption that you can’t or shouldn’t leave home right now or in near future is wrong. What if it’s wrong — you believe that it is the real obstacle when it is not?
I hope it helps.

Jarina:

Hello, i thought the same that my situaation must hve confused you but i am happy that despite tht you replied. you’re right … rather than stepping up i’m only complining about the situation