Do you feel lost?
No purpose? No passion?
No idea where to go?
This may surprise you, but here’s what I’ve discovered: You don’t need to have a direction, purpose, or passion, to fully enjoy life.
You can dance in uncertainty and let life live itself through you.
These are not just empty words. I know uncertainty, fear, and worry. I know confusion. I’ve been in the deepest darkness, and I’ve found my way back.
So let’s dive into the details of how this can be done, shall we?
What is Direction?
Look closely at your definition of having a direction.
This definition will determine how you judge and compare yourself to others.
You experience confusion when your internal “reality” doesn’t match what you see out in the world. It’s an internal narrative of how you think your life should be.
If I think that having a direction means I will never be confused, unhappy, or uncertain, I will suffer.
If I then look at how happy other people are, and compare my internal to their external, I will suffer.
Having a direction in life is having an internal image that you feel matches external reality. That’s it.
But even that is not needed.
In fact, without a direction, life becomes an adventure.
Why Do We Feel We Need Direction in Life?
Because it makes us feel safe.
When you feel like things are as you think they should be, you feel good.
But how you think life should be is created within you. It is not an absolute. Meaning, everyone has their own interpretation.
And this interpretation often comes from the outside. You listen to friends and family. You watch movies. You take in the world, and the world molds you.
You then look at this fabricated internal measuring stick to see how you’re doing.
But none of this is needed. You can let it all go.
How to Live Life to the Fullest
Living life is like walking in a dense fog.
I don’t see more than three feet in front of me. But when I take one step, I see a little bit farther.
As I keep moving, I see opportunities that I couldn’t have seen before.
So movement is the key. I notice what is interesting to me, and I follow that to the best of my ability.
I don’t need a direction to do that, all I need is to pay attention.
Below is a video on not having a direction. It complements the article, so I recommend you watch/read both.
The article continues below the video.
And if you want more videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, because I don’t post everything here on the blog.
1. Patterns and Definitions
How do you define what having a direction means? How will you know when you’re on the right track?
Answering these questions will begin to reveal the internal image you hold up as the standard to which life should conform.
In the past, feeling like I had a direction gave me a sense of comfort.
Today, I live a directionless life. I do my best. I follow my enthusiasm. I see where life takes me.
I don’t search for a direction. If it comes to me, it comes, but I don’t force it.
When I drop my need for a direction, I step out of my head, and into the present moment.
2. Pay Attention
I begin to pay attention to what is available right now.
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What do I feel drawn to do?
- What is interesting?
- What is fascinating?
- What is fun?
Notice your mind judging. Maybe you feel like something you feel drawn to do is silly or stupid, so you don’t do it.
Maybe you feel like being interested in drawing stick figures won’t lead anywhere, so you dismiss it.
These are the calls of your soul that you need to answer. You never know where they will lead.
Take care of your practical needs, but allow yourself to play, to explore where your inner being is drawn.
As Steve Jobs said:
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
When I follow what is interesting, I am walking my path in life.
Or, you could say I am following the breadcrumbs of life.
3. Hello Fear
What if, instead of excluding fear, you include it?
What if the seemingly negative is also a part of your path?
As you follow your interests, you will meet fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
- What if this goes wrong?
- What if people judge?
- What if you aren’t good enough?
Feel everything fully. No need to push anything away.
Strip the story from “fear” and it is merely energy dancing in your body.
Let it salsa where it wants, and you will discover real freedom.
What If My Mind is Too Strong?
This is not another achievement that you need to yearn for. Instead, it’s a process and a change in how you relate to life.
In the beginning, your mind will insist that you search for a direction, and you will fall for it.
But with time, you will realize that you don’t need to use your mind as the middleman. You can live and experience life directly.
Gradually, this realization will cascade to the rest of your life.
You begin to take your mind less seriously. You live more in the moment. One day, you notice that you’re just … enjoying life. This enjoyment is not dependent on how external life goes. Instead, it comes from within.
Summary: All is Well
Sometimes (I feel like) I have a direction in life, sometimes I don’t.
If it comes naturally, I’ll take it, but I won’t strain to find it.
Life happens naturally. My body lives it. I enjoy the ride.
There are moments of panic, and there are moments of laugh out loud joy.
This is life.
Nothing is wrong if you experience confusion.
You only have to live life one moment at a time, follow what feels magnetic, and do your best.
All is well.
All the best,
P.S. Would you like to learn more about following what resonates? I invite you to check out my popular book Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life (amazon affiliate link. I get a small share of any purchase you make at no extra cost to you.).
Photo by Jason Blackeye
when I listen to your words, they take the sting out. The things that are bothering me stop stinging and I can go deeper, under the surface and suddenly see what is at the core. I find that I frequently have to pause the video, because its like your words have enabled me to see clearly, like goggles for a swimmer, and now that I’m underwater there are many things alive in the reef that I have to explore. Now that the shame, the sting, is gone.
Thanks for sharing all that. You painted an amazing picture with your comment. I appreciate it, and I’m glad I could help 🙂
Sheila Bergquist says
I love your videos and advice. They always make me feel better and that is a gift. A big hug to you.
Happy to hear that, and thank you!
Thank you so much for this message, which came at just the perfect time. I’ve been struggling with a health issue that has (once again) pushed me back into a period of feeling a bit lost, no drive & questioning the direction I was moving in so confidently just a few months ago. Your words (paraphrased) “No direction means freedom, a time to explore, learn & grow” and also your encouragement to do what I am drawn to, even if its just watching a movie – this is so very comforting. I appreciate your work so much! Blessings to you!
You have a gift for expressing these truths in such a clear, straightforward way, saying so much in a few words. I’ve been following you for years and I’m still impressed by how well you do that. And because you do, your messages don’t get lost in a sea of unnecessary and distracting words. This post is very helpful to me – I especially liked the comment that life is a fog and when you step forward you see opportunities you didn’t see before. Thanks for writing, Henri!
Thanks for taking the time to comment, and for being a reader for all these years, Kathie 🙂
Daniel Sieff says
I am going to write some poetry today! And if not that’s ok too.
Thank you for your message
That’s a good way to approach things!
Daniel Sieff says
I surrender to the masked sun
And hug the fog mirrored English clouds above.
I am peaceful in gentle nothingness.
Released the frenzied strain of what might have been.
The shoulds, the coulds, the didn’ts. Rest to live and embrace again. One step forward on this adventure. Life’s beautiful, purposeless, it’s directionless magnificent meander.
Thank you Henri.
Daniel Sieff says
I really desire for your wisdom to have a bigger audience.
Thank you again.
I appreciate that, Daniel. We will see what life has in store 🙂
Ryan James says
Yes, yes, yes… Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This makes so much sense, you’re so right! I’ve been thinking I need to know things to have meaning and purpose but I don’t, only my mind does to help create the illusion of safety and avoid perceived shame!
This has been killing my ability to enjoy life and play more. I take everything far too seriously, just trying to figure it all out – urgh!
Just more patterns and self judgement. Yes, I totally see what you mean.
Honestly, I can’t thank you enough for these ideas, a real blessing.
Yes, we get so stuck in trying to figure things out that we miss just living life. Keep rocking!
Peter Wang says
Thank you Henri, it came just at the right time when I am pondering that very question, it is a very comprehensive article, concise and to the point, just what I need, I am at the moment between a rock and a hard place… and an age of 68.
Glad to hear it!
Hi Henri, greetings from Malaysia. I randomly came across your article and I would have to say that you’ve saved me! And I’m not exaggerating. I’m been feeling really low for some time, after my ex and I broke up followed by my mom’s recent death and I keep questioning my reason and purpose. I’ve lost all passion to everything that I’ve used to do, I feel lost, and there are days I just want to not do anything but yet I feel so bad and guilty that I’m not doing anything in my life. Yes I have a job and all the necessities but I keep comparing myself and wondering what is wrong with me?! And everything that I’ve looked up in the Internet talks about being discipline, about having a change of mindset- yes I want that, but it’s so very hard! But…after so long, coming across your article and watching the videos make me less critical of myself, and just let things be as it is, for now. Maybe I don’t have the answers now, but I may have them later.. it brought me hope, and it made me realise that it’s okay and that it’s okay to feel this way, and that it will be fine. Thank you Henri..
Sorry to hear about what you’re going through. Glad my article could help. Thank you for taking the time to comment and share what’s going on. Life has a tendency to unfold in its own way. All the best to you 🙂
sumit sharma says
That was amazing….I related to every bit u mentioned….thanks a lot…❤️
Glad you liked it!
You have described me. This is me, doubting in my self, feeling inadequate and silly about the things I like doing. Nothing is ever enough. Believing myself is not easy. That’s why your article will be a companion and guide for me to know that it is ok. Even if I do not trust myself it is ok. Confusion is ok. Not knowing is ok. Thank you Henri for summarizing it so beautifully!
I’m 61, on disability, alone.
I suffer greatly from no direction, no purpose. Ive been very depressed and anxious and had just recovered from a panic attack when I found your article and watched the video! What a blessing! Thank you.