3 Unusual Questions To Figure Out What To Do With Your Life – Part 2


What is worth the pain? Let’s get to the next 2 questions.

But first: How has the last week been?

After doing the exercises in the last post, were you more aware of what made you feel fulfilled and what was not in line with what you want?

The ideal week you decided on last time might be awe-inspiring, or it might be mundane in the eyes of the modern media, but it doesn’t matter. It’s yours.

Remember the rules

There is only one rule – don’t think about the constraints.

As technically-trained people, we tend to start with the constraints and work within the boundaries of the problem. I am giving you permission, right here, to do the opposite this time.


Question 2: What gets you out of bed in the morning – besides the alarm clock or toddler jumping on the bed?

If your goal really is vanilla and beige, are you going wake up in the morning and think – what can I do today to get me closer to my goal… how can I get moving towards that goal fast?

No, you are going to wake up and think – is it really Tuesday morning again and do I have to get out of the warm bed?

So, what does get you out of bed – is it an activity outside of work? Or do you love your paid job? Is it a solo hobby, or a team sport with friends, or socialising?

There are two types of answers to this question, and we will branch out from here – choose your own adventure.

Answer type 1: You have something that excites you enough to get out of bed…

This is now the real question you need to ask – what is it about it that makes you want to get out of bed? Is it the problem-solving? Helping people? The achievement? Competing against others or yourself?

Take this core attribute that excites you and apply it everywhere. Seriously.

If you love physical activity, change your job to be more physical. If you love the problem-solving but not the people interaction, learn to code and write apps in your spare time. If you like to compete start experimenting with sports or online competitions with people all over the world.

In the age of Google, you can be 100% guaranteed there is someone out there the same as you who has started a job or hobby in what you are interested in.

Life is not a dress rehearsal – don’t start living your life when you’ve paid off the mortgage. Enjoy the journey instead.

Answer type 2: You can’t think of anything that excites you, you just get out of bed because you are obligated to…

“I’m not passionate about anything except for sleeping in and watching Netflix, I have no passions!”

Sound familiar?

I was totally like that too. Especially when my 2 kids were small – seriously, my only passion was getting 8 hours straight sleep just one more time before I died. I think I would have climbed Mount Fuji for that one. (Everest takes lots of planning and preparation – no way I could have done that in the state I was in).

But the more I asked myself questions, and got out there and did stuff, the more I found my passions. Passions like writing, drawing, travelling, cycling, communicating important technical stuff, dogs, interior design, wine with good friends…

[blockquote id=”” class=”” style=”” align=”center” author=”Marie Forleo” affiliation=”” affiliation_url=”https://www.marieforleo.com/“]Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.[/blockquote]

Your passion isn’t going to appear in your mind when you sit on the couch and contemplate your navel.

Your passion will reveal itself through all the things you try out. You may have to go through multiple activities that aren’t your passion to find them.

If you had told me 10 years ago my passion would be working with engineers to help them communicate their excellent ideas better, I would have laughed at you. I only found that out by starting this business.


Which brings us to the final question, you need to ask yourself to find out what is worth the pain.

Question 3: Are you using all the functionality of your operating system?

Our brains are super-computers on steroids. Scientists recently recreated a slither of a mouse brain and the numbers of connections and complexity in that alone will blow your mind.

So our minds (being way more complex than a mouse’s) have multiple dimensions to them – logical, emotional, relational, physical and spiritual. Think of it as a complex operating system, or even an ecosystem – every dimension or component is interrelated and dependent on the others. If you don’t use them all, you aren’t using all the computing power.

When you are figuring out what is worth the pain in life, you need to consider all the dimensions.

Think about it: What’s the point in dreaming – “I want $1million”.

There’s no substance to that goal – why do you want the money? So you can pay off your mortgage and live freely? Or so you can go on holidays all the time? So you can quit your job?

Well, these are the actual goals and dreams then – not the money. There are many ways to get to these goals without winning the lottery or getting a windfall.

Make your goals multi-dimensional

Think about goals that mean something to you financially, emotionally, relationally, physically and even spiritually. There will be many dimensions to your goals, they may be aspects of the one goal or separate goals.

A multi-dimension goal might be that you want to make a sea change so you have a shorter commute with more time for exercise and your family, without the financial pressure of a huge mortgage.

Having multiple different dimension goals would be:

  • an exercise goal; to run a marathon
  • a family goal; to have family dinner 3 nights a week
  • a financial goal; going on a round-the-world trip next July.

It doesn’t matter what type you have – just think about all the dimensions.

Engineers tend to get a bit funny when you talk about things emotional and spiritual, but you are not a computer – despite the earlier analogy. If you ignore how goals make you feel, you aren’t going to find a goal that I worth the pain.

Hollow goals are not worth much if you work yourself into a hospital bed or depression.

Another rule…

Oh, and there is one further rule I forgot to mention earlier – rinse and repeat.

This is not a one-off exercise to set you up for the rest of your life. You need to revisit these questions regularly. Life changes. Your goals and aspirations need to change too.


So what did I decide was worth the pain for me?

Well, you will have to wait for the next instalment for that one – I’m going to launch something new very soon. It eventuated out of this exercise!

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