The real truth about finding your true path

Q. I’ve lived a lot of different places and done a lot of different types of things for work, but now that I’m getting older, I worry that I haven’t chosen a true path. I guess I think I might be afraid of committing. What should I do?

A. I know it’s heartbreaking to think that the life you really want and deserve is out there and you just haven’t found your way to trailhead. I know it’s terribly disappointing to think that where you are today is all you get and it is not the path that you were meant to be on. And I know that your heartbreak and disappointment is born out of denial, magical thinking, resistance to reality, and vanity.

But you are on the path that you were meant to be on, so stop tormenting yourself about where you are and bemoaning that you’re not where you should be. Here are the questions you can ask yourself that will take you out of this funk: Where am I most useful today? How could I use my skill sets to help others? Who is up for a dinner party tonight? Where will commitment to these answers take me? These trump the path questions because things you can control today don’t give you decision fatigue.

Silver linings

If there’s a silver lining to your situation it’s this: only privileged folk get to ponder their “true path” because they’ve managed their affairs so well: No student loan debt, no shortage of square feet, no child in rehab, and no spouse who carries his phone into the shower (worried you’ll discover something you already suspect).

But it’s funny how high achievement often leaves us feeling bored with our current situation, feeling detached and lifeless, offering courtesy laughs and smiles but never having real fun, and the biggie: feeling like our time and efforts don’t mean crap to anybody.

So what to do if you’re really feeling like you’re not on your true path and you want to do something about it?

First, let’s define true path

When you say “true path,” I hope you know that this is not a path that necessarily feels good, makes you look good or is void of suffering. In fact, if you want truth, you have to suffer. The wilderness is not air conditioned. You have to work a lot of late hours. There’s no yoga-in-the-middle-of-the-day here.

That’s right: True paths come at a cost. You have to shed pride, arrogance, self-assassination and self-hate.

But I live—and encourage others to live—in a way that allows something transcendent to be achieved in all their efforts. My bar is this: If others are elevated or uplifted as a function of your current path, you’ve chosen a true path. So are you considering going into debt to be a social worker or a teacher? Those are paths with fruits greater than the debt, paths that yield gifts that keep on giving.

Now on to this afraid of committing thing

The “afraid of committing” piece is probably the most dangerous thing you mentioned because it reeks of stagnation. And it’s the highest caloric and least healthy stunt you’re pulling right now.

But wait. Don’t go buy bigger clothes. There is a solution to this.

•If you’re really ballsy, hope for a crisis. Greatness is born only out of tragedy and crises. You don’t just decide to be great, you have to “earn” it. A crisis can get you there (but whoa…watch out: this can definitely put you in a “be careful what you wish for” scenario before you know it).

•If you’re not so ballsy, join a cause that involves a crisis, be it Tea Party or Occupy. Just join up with something that yields a product or service that transcends the service of your ego.

Buy a sandbox and invite tons of people over to share with you.  

The underlying current in all of these things is the same: stop waiting for the right path to come along and just do something. Think of it like this: If you want to attend one of the Ivys, you have to apply. So your commitment to a path is essentially like applying to life: you pull your thumb out of your you-know-what and get your action on.

I promised straight truth and I’m giving it

I’ve been called too cynical and suspicious by a few because I just abhor woo-woo “follow your heart and it will manifest your destiny” talk. And that’s because I firmly believe that the truth is in reality and real love is born out of embracing reality no matter what that might be.

(Remember, nothing great comes easy).

And before you think that you don’t want me as your coach because I ain’t magical enough, I want to make sure you know one important thing: I’m keeping it real because you deserve it and I love you! And there’s no deeper truth than that.

Be peace, be love,

Jerome!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

sherri March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I love you! You are just what I need. I just wish I had your words of inspiration and power each day. Thank you for being my friend and therapist. I am a fortunate person to have found you.

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William March 15, 2012 at 10:20 am

LOVE IT!!! “True paths come at a cost. You have to shed pride, arrogance, self-assassination and self-hate.” …ABSOLUTELY!!

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