When In Doubt, Work

Even the most ambitious and decisive of us will have plenty of moments in our lives where we’re not sure what to do next. We want a change, and we’re not sure where to go. We’re in a rut and don’t know how to get out. It happens.

I don’t know all the answers to how to deal with that. But I know one thing that always helps: work.

Do something difficult and productive. Don’t worry about maximum efficiency or value; don’t worry if you’re working for free, giving away what you made or even making something of low importance. Just work. Fix a fence, volunteer at an animal shelter, pick up trash along a road, write a blog, anything.

Keep the momentum going. Keep your brain away from the quagmire of dwelling on not knowing what to do. Put energy in a positive direction.

The worst case scenario is a bunch of small improvements to your mood, attitude and maybe environment or health. You also might give yourself inspiration on what to do next, attract positive attention, or make friends – all good positive side effects. The worst thing that can come out of it is that you waste a few hours, but if you were feeling really indecisive I guarantee you were going to waste those hours anyway if you were to dwell on it.

There are certain things that are universally good in this spot. You can always grab a marginal benefit by working out, or cleaning something, or completing a project.

The wrong thing to do in that situation is leisure activities. I think leisure activities are good for the soul and you need them! If you want to watch a movie, play a video game, etc., you shouldn’t feel bad. But use those as rewards for jobs well done; as balance to the accomplishments you make. Don’t use them to fill in the gaps when you don’t know what to do, because that’s the path of sloth and inertia is a powerful force. Don’t let yourself say, “I’m feeling dissatisfied and I don’t know where to go, so I’m going to veg out in front of the TV/computer for a few hours.”

When you’re happy and things are good, take your leisure. But when in doubt, work.

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