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12/29/2016 03:27 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2017

Don't Know What to Do With Your Life? These Four Easy Steps Will Get You on Your Way

How do I really know what I want? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Alexandra Isenegger, Founder and CEO at Linkilaw, on Quora:

Choosing what you really want to do is not an easy thing. Unfortunately there is no simple method that will give you the exact answer. However, there are a couple of tasks that you can do to make it much easier. Let me tell you of some of them:

  • List: First off, let's make a list. On the list, write everything that you are good at, what comes naturally to you, what you have a passion for, what your interests are, and so on. Write it all down! If you're not sure what you're interested in, think about it this way: if I had one hour free right now to do anything, what would I do? Would you play a sport, play a musical instrument, research about economics, or play a video game? Write all the things that come to your mind. What's important here is that you should let it flow out of you and don't spend time focusing and trying to make ideas come out of you. This is really based on your feelings, so don't force it!
  • Research: Secondly, it's time to do some research. Try to find out what working in those areas is like. Is it extremely stressful, do professionals work long hours, or is it more relaxed? Do you have to work in the office or can you work remotely? Find out as much as you can about the industry. If you can talk to some professionals, do so, because that will be the best source of information! Also feel free to mix your interests together. For example: you really enjoy sports but you aren't good enough to play professionally. However, you also enjoy taking care of people or like the idea of being a doctor. Then mix the two together and go into sports medicine.
  • Elimination: Once you have all the information on all your interests, it's time to be very honest with yourself. Start eliminating everything you do not like or know that you will not be able to do. For example if you know that you just cannot work for 18 hours straight and be in an office until very late, then eliminate any job that requires that. Do this for all the negatives that you can come up with. This really only works when you are honest, so no cutting corners! However, if you run out of interests, then you can make compromises. For example: let's say that you know that you cannot work in an office for 14 hours a day; however, you would be able to do it if you were going out to meet clients each day for 3 or 4 hours. Hence, this might be something worth keeping in mind.
  • Testing: Finally, if you have followed the previous steps, you should hopefully be left with one or more good options. Now you want to actually go out and try it. No matter how much research you do, nothing will beat the experience of actually doing it! Go out and find an internship, apprenticeship, or job. Once you are out there in the field, you will get a deeper understanding and you can ask yourself: am I enjoying doing this? If yes, than congrats, it's likely you have found what you want to do! If not, go back to your list and try something else. What if I only had one option left and its not working out for me? Well if that is the case then either go back to step one and try again or go back to step three and see where you can do some comprises. Then try it out!

No matter what, do what makes you happy and the money will sort itself out. I hope this helps you!

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