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4 Questions to Ask Yourself in Early Adulthood

Updated: Apr 9

In my previous article: "So, I am an adult. Now what?", I mentioned the importance of asking questions. Questioning ourselves is a great head start. It helps us to define what we want and do not want, with clarity. If we do not start with ourselves, we may run the risk of becoming people-pleasing and requiring external validation in order to grow (or not grow?). This is because we may start asking questions of people, that we should instead be asking ourselves. Questioning ourselves is a vital part of creating the experience that we want. Imagine a life where we play by other people's rules. Yes, rules may be important for ensuring that moral standards are maintained and things are done in an orderly, manageable manner. However, when it comes to our personal lives, the responsibility is ours, and ours only, for creating the experience that we want.

As children, we needed to learn about the world; at least from the point of view of the people around us and the environment in which we lived. But, when we become adults, it is no longer anyone's responsibility to groom us, to meet our needs, and to show us the way. Having a helping hand is great, mentorship is great. However, we are primarily responsible for the results we obtain in whatever endeavour. May it be in study, work, or personal life, we are solely accountable for the results we achieve; once we become adults. Our parents and the society around us are no longer responsible.

A first step in questioning what we have learnt and aligning that with the person we want to become, is to ask ourselves the following questions from a neutral standpoint (while ignoring learned beliefs):

1. How do I want to experience life?

2. What is required for me to live this experience?

3. What can I do to meet this requirement?

4. What is the most sustainable route?

These are questions that I found important to ask myself earlier in my journey. They have helped me to live with a clear vision in mind. This, in turn, has helped me to navigate challenges easier and to become process-oriented.

Deciding how I want to experience life as a starting point, gave me direction. By clarifying this, I started focusing on that experience by living it in the present moment. Some of you may wonder: "How do you live that experience now, without yet having all the material possessions that you need?" First off, material possessions are not needs. They can be a tremendous help based on usage. For that, I am grateful. But they are not needs. I guess that has always been clear to me, somehow. Once that was clear, I became more intentional about my experience. I am more intentional in the way I interact with people, how I take care of myself and how I approach each day. I needed to become the person that I envisioned myself to be, in order to live the experience that I had decided that I wanted. There was no other way. My life experience is a journey, not a destination. Hence, I had to start living the experience to actually live it, you know?

Once I was clear about how I want to experience life, and ultimately who I want to become, I moved on to question 2. I then realized that I had answered question 2 in question 1. The requirement for living the experience I wanted was to be clear on who I want to become and to maintain that state of being in the present moment.

My thoughts about how to meet this requirement explored the supporting activities that would assist me in maintaining a present state of mind, most, if not all of the time. I became more intentional about my food choices, physical activity, the people I spent time with, my home, work and other environments, the information I consumed, among other things. I started to structure my life in a way that supported my vision.

The doing of what is required is probably enough. However, the question of sustainability allowed me to further clarify my vision (which is embedded in the way I want to experience life). It has helped me to channel my energy efficiently. What we must do to achieve our goals can be counterproductive if we do not apply specific strategies and be creative with the process. The quest towards goal attainment can be exhausting. I have learnt this through the earlier mistakes that I have made. But, while effort is needed for goal achievement, the process can be really simple. How simple it gets depends on the mental attitude of the individual. The simple and sustainable route, for me, reflected the route that would overcome my biggest challenge first. Overcoming the biggest challenge first, ensures that the smaller challenges are resolved in the process. This process, however, requires great patience, discipline and commitment. That, to me, was the hardest part - building my mental fortitude. So, ask yourself: "What supporting tool will be most useful on my journey?" Devise ways to work on that tool first. It helps a whole lot.

The quest towards sustainable growth is continuous. With each life review, my ideas evolve; considering changing goals, acquired knowledge and changing circumstances. However, these questions have assisted me with embracing the process, being flexible with my goals, accepting the challenges as necessary parts of the process, and recovering from apparent setbacks, all while being the person I want to become - my true, evolving self.

The world is changing at a fast pace. It is essential that we evolve with the changes and find new ways to achieve our goals, live our vision, and sustain growth. From my observation of society, old methods, while some may still create a framework, may not create sustainable growth for many. It is therefore of great importance that we question ourselves - our learned beliefs, who we truly are, and what we truly want.

Our questions are important foundations to build our lives on.


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