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Can you rely on your curiosity to make career decisions?




Recently I've been inspired to follow my curiosity as a guiding force in my decision making. At this period of my life (I'm 30 years old) I feel an intrinsic motivation to commit to things and stick with them, especially in the realm of my vocation and how I can be of service to others. I spent most of my twenties trying different jobs, from sales and marketing to woodworking and entrepreneurship, and now I have a solid idea of what environment I like to be in.


It's a valuable piece of information to have about myself, but one difficulty I have is picking something that I will commit to, as it is required to build expertise and feel that it's the right decision for me. I've spent the last couple of weeks pondering that question and I made some discoveries that I'd like to share with you that helped relieve some of the pressure I am experiencing while motivating me to go forward with what feels best for me.


The Power Of Exploration


My initial approach at the dawn of a major life decision was to rely on what I know and make a decision based on that information. I told myself "You know what you like, so stop wasting time and choose something at once!". This felt like the logical approach to take, but it made me feel terrible inside. I only felt more nervous and less certain about the options I had in mind. Thankfully my intuition stepped in with a question that arose:


"What if instead of telling myself what to do, I gave myself permission to explore what I am curious about?"


This seemed more interesting to me. Telling myself what to do feels stiff and shortsighted. It requires me to make a choice now (in this case a University degree) and nail it on the head for the end result to be positive. This approach doesn't fit me and I can feel it. Exploration, on the other end, seemed to have an answer for this conundrum. What if I followed what makes me curious? What if I picked a University program that stimulates my curiosity as opposed to trying to execute an idea?


Exploration vs. Execution


The difference is subtle, but monumental at the same time. Telling myself "Sign up for this program and finish it" feels immensely different from "You have permission to sign up for the subjects that you are curious about". In the former, I feel pressure to make the right decision today for the next 3-5 years of my life. In the latter, I feel inspired to explore what makes my heart curious and I feel free inside.


What's comical about this exact situation is that my final program selection ended up being the same as my initial top selection. But without the approach of exploration which makes me want to learn as much as possible, the process of selecting a University degree feels dreadful and unmotivating. Now I feel like I can follow my natural curiosity and honor the person that I am, instead of forcing myself to be someone I think I should be.


It turns out that this approach applies to many other types of decisions:


When you don't bully yourself into thinking you should already know something, you create room for genuine exploration and you might surprise yourself by learning unexpected things about who you are, which you could have missed out on otherwise.


Tell me how you feel about this approach in the comments and please share your personal experiences! This is a place for all to share their process.


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