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5 Ways to Find Your Mission in Life

When Elon Musk was in university he asked himself what his mission in life would be. He looked at the world to see what it needed most urgently, and then he looked inwardly to see what his talents and passions were.

He came up with four potential missions:

  • space exploration,

  • electric transportation,

  • artificial intelligence, and

  • rewriting the human genome.

After further thought, he decided to eliminate the last two and focus on the first two.

How can we, normal average human beings, adopt a mission mindset?

1) Look at Your Own Unhappiness

We live in a world of overstimulation. With so many things vying for our attention, we have developed too many interests. The time has come to get super specific and a great place to start is your own unhappiness. Find what makes you unhappy, anxious, and frustrated – and then find a way to alleviate these maladies. You need to dig deep and be honest about what pisses you off, what frustrates you, what causes anxiety.

You only need to look back at great businesses to understand the needs they were solving. Facebook was founded on the need for companionship and social connection – the fact that it has morphed into something exponentially larger is beside the point. Uber, Lyft, Didi, and Bolt come out of the frustration of finding a safe, clean, and reliable taxi at 3 am. Tinder is deeply embedded in our fear of loneliness and the inherent sadness of trying to meet single people in the produce section of your local grocery store. Airbnb was borne out of the desire for new and unique experiences that avoided having to check-in at the lobby, the inconvenience of being accosted by a handful of bellboys trying to grab your luggage and being ripped off for a bag of peanuts from the minibar. You get the idea.

2) Align Your Talents

I am going to use a crazy example. Let's say that cancer makes you angry – you are righteously indignant about this horrible disease. Your grandmother recently died of lung cancer and you want to find a cure. Let's also say that you got a D in high school biology. Although your cause is noble, your personal genetics is a huge roadblock in the execution of this mission. You need to find a cause that more closely aligns with your talents. Musk has a degree in physics – it is not quite the same as a degree in rocket science, but the man is a master in reverse engineering. He has the intellectual talent and curiosity to throw himself into a highly technical engineering field and execute like a ninja.

3) Align Your Interests

Can you see how we are narrowing things down and going nice and deep? In professional sports, there are hundreds of people with talents that are off the charts. Tiger Woods is as talented as dozens of other golfers – what is the ingredient that made him one of the greatest of all time? He had an intense and obsessive interest in the game – you can call it passion. You may be a talented structural engineer, but you have no interest in building bridges for a large multi-national engineering firm. You may have a passionate interest in bringing clean drinking water to thousands of people in Africa. You would be better suited to align with a non-profit organization that has a similar mission.

4) Get Super Focused

Your mission does not need to be grand, it needs to be super precise. Your mission may be to solve world hunger – this is a grand mission but it is far too broad, you need to narrow it down. Missions are about helping other people. Of all the problems that currently present themselves, what are the ones that properly interest me, and do I have the skillset to find the solutions. The only way you can answer this final question is if you get specific. Maybe you want to start by alleviating hunger in your community, and then your municipality, etc.

5) Write Down a Plan

You may have come to notice that I am a huge fan of writing – I am the girl in the front row showing my tits when writing is on the stage. Writing is formalized thinking – it forces you to put your scattered and dispersed thoughts in order.

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