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OP-ED: Purpose Palooza

By: Tyler Williams

(Source: Medium/Thrive Global: “Confused In Your Career? Great! Now do this…”)

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is the most counterintuitive question a person could ask a kid, a teenager, or even a young adult. The reason why this question is so debilitating is because it implies that the person should commit to one occupation for the rest of their life.

From personal experience, career and personality tests took a lot of time. Remember the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)? The MBTI is an extensive personality assessment that matches the test taker with one of the 16 personality types. People can take the test for free on the Truity website. Once the results are in, a profile is available for perusal when it comes to potential careers, relationships, strengths, and areas of improvement.

Now, normal functional people would just get their results and move on with their lives. However, if the reader is a psycho like yours truly, over-analysis and overthinking become a symptom when trying to pinpoint your purpose relating to the test results. So, I would deeply research the career and personality tests such as the RIASEC test, CareerExplorer test, and MBTI cognitive functions test.

My explanation for why I kept digging myself in a deeper hole of paralysis of analysis is because I was suffering from chronic career confusion. Symptoms of this particular type of confusion may cause overthinking, long periods of introspection, minor headaches, excessive journaling, frustration, temporary sadness, and applying to odd jobs.

(Source: Pexels, Photo by Ayman Nouas)

It has been a struggle since I was 15 years old. It took me 10 years of reflecting, journaling, and walking, to figure out my passion. Eventually, I got out of my own career confusion by doing three things: experimenting, finding connections within yourself, and building my dream life. In order to understand what I wanted to do in my life, I had to experiment with different careers or jobs. I was a camp counselor, customer service representative, fitness desk associate, freelance writer, and staff reporter. Currently, I am a full-time substitute teacher and a part-time blogger. If it wasn’t for experiencing different things, I would still be in the orb of confusion.

Another strategy of creating purpose is to move like Samurai Jack and get back to the past and connect to your inner child. Ruffle around your time capsule in your mind and find out what made you tick. Was it a specific pastime, hobby, or activity from school or home that made you beam with light? For me, I remember writing and drawing comics for my own enjoyment after school. After I was finished with my homework, I would create random short comic stories with my notebook paper and pencil.

(Source: HBO Max. Link:

Personally speaking, it’s vital for individuals to understand that we are more than our jobs. Instead of building the dream job or career, build the life of [insert your name here]. Instead of focusing on the occupational titles that society and corporations give, focus on the action and why you are doing it. For example, instead of calling yourself a writer, you write. Or, if you are a public defender, you defend the public according to the law. The reason for this is we as individuals forget that we are more than our careers. We are not robots that do a specific task and switch off to do the same thing over again. We are so dynamic as human beings that we cannot fit into any box or title. We are called human beings for a reason because we are always doing things in the moment. When was the last time you’ve heard of a “human been” or “human to be”? You haven’t because we are not living in the past or future, we are always living in the present. There is no better time than now to become the best version of yourself to create the life that you want to live. Your only limit is you.

Learn Even More

Become Your Own Role Model

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