There was a time not too long ago that I felt a lot like you.
I felt purposeless. I felt lost. I felt like I was wasting time.
The career I had worked so hard to build no longer made sense to me. My life suddenly lacked purpose. I was devastated.
And the worst part?
I felt like I was going through it alone.
None of my friends understood. None of my coworkers seemed to be suffering. Even I questioned myself.
What was wrong with me? Why could I not be happy? Why had a life that once seemed so rich suddenly evaporated before me?
It made no sense to me then.
As I’m sure it makes no sense to you now.
You’re in the thick of it. You’re lost in your own mind.
It’s OK. I’ve been there.
It’s not until now, a year later, as the dust has settled that I can see what it was all for.
And I have good news.
What you’re going through now… there is a reason for it. There are answers to your questions that you can’t see just yet.
There is an ending to this uncertainty; this anxiety. It will all make sense one day.
But it’s not going to happen overnight.
It’s going to be a process. A painful process.
So, the question becomes… what to do now? How to make it through in one piece?
What did I do then when the times seemed so dark? What will I do in the future when they surely will turn dark again?
There are methods I discovered during this time that helped me cope with and fight out of my situation. These are methods that I want to share with you today. Ones that I think can help you.
3 Methods for Fighting your Quarter Life Crisis:
1. Maintain your sanity through journaling
2. Map out your future with lifestyle design
3. Look within to make a decision
1) Maintain your Sanity through Journaling
There are two types of journaling techniques that I use regularly that should help you with your current circumstances. It might feel funny to write down your thoughts at first but it’s a great way to clear your mind and provide a type of self therapy. Here are my recommendations:
A) 5 Minute Morning Journal:
Every morning before you start your day, write down a list of three major topics:
1) Everything that’s bothering you
2) Everything you’re grateful for
3) Recent victories in your life
This simple exercise serves to empty the bad thoughts out of your head and remind you of all the positive things in your life.
B) Stream of Consciousness Journal:
If there’s one problem that’s causing excessive anxiety for you (i.e. your job) then it helps to get all these thoughts down on paper without filtering your thoughts. For this, try a steam of consciousness writing technique.
Write down your thoughts and focus on the specific pain points to flush them out. Don’t stop writing until you’ve left it all out. At the end you should feel as though a mental weight has been lifted and possibly even gain some clarity into why you feel this way.
2) Map Out your Future with Lifestyle Design
One of the concepts I’ve learned from personal development leaders, including Tim Ferriss and James Altucher, is the concept of lifestyle design. The idea is that we can dictate our future and pave our own path. Whatever we want can be achieved if we’re ready and willing to take the right steps.
I’ve started to see the effect of this mentality in small ways in my own life over the last year and think it’s an essential mindset for anyone who feels “stuck” to embrace.
Here are some resources that will help you change your mindset:
- Designing Your Life Book by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
- James Altucher Podcast & Blog
- The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
3) Look Within to Make a Decision
If you’re reading this article then you’re probably at a crossroads in your life. No matter which way you turn, things feel uncertain. Making decisions that have this kind of gravity can seem daunting.
But luckily there are some techniques that I think can help you make the right decision. These techniques helped me find clarity and confidence in my decision despite all the doubts that crawled around in the back of my mind.
During my time of difficulty, meditation helped me silence the noise of my day-to-day life and find a direction that made sense to me. Mediation is actually the reason why I decided to change career paths in the first place.
I recommend starting by downloading the Insight Timer App and trying out a guided breathing meditation or body scan mediation. Stick with it even if you feel your mind start to wander.
As you deepen your practice you’ll find a part of you that you’ve been ignoring all along. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find answers there.
B) Fear Setting:
When it comes to making big decisions, we have a tendency to turn to lists of pros and cons. But these lists can often lead to more confusion. Another technique that I learned from Tim Ferriss is to look at your decision in terms of your “Best Case” and “Worst Case” scenarios.
For example, if you want to quit your job to become a writer your “best case” could be to become a New York Times Bestseller and your “worst case” might be to go broke and go back to your old job.
The idea here is to show you that your “worst case” or greatest fear may not be as bad as you perceive it to be and your “best case” has so much upside that it’s worth shooting for.
What I think you’ll realize in this exercise is that whatever big leap you’re looking to make right now might not be as terrifying as you perceive it to be. In fact, you might find it’s a jump worth taking.
Now I don’t expect these methods be a cure-all for you. I know that you’ll have to find your own way as I did.
But, if just one of these helps you then writing this post has been worth it. Even if I’ve given you just a ray of hope, then this post has been worth it.
I hope that just knowing you’re not alone is comforting.
I know it would’ve been for me.