Nov 11

That is probably a question everyone of us was asking him/herself already. When walking around in Jalan Doublesix a few days back, I passed a stall of used books and this one literally just “jumped into my eye”.

So I had to buy it for Rp 30.000, which was well worth it. Reading through it I was amazed over the similarities of what people struggle with and how and if they overcome their fears and doubts. Most people don’t get it written down on paper, what is their goal in life and how they can achieve a fulfilled time on earth. There is no difference if old or young, open-minded, well-educated or easy-going.

Looking for guidance and courage at this crossroads, it’s intriguing to learn from people who had unearthed their true calling, or at least those who are willing to try. Those who fought the seduction of industry, money and novelty, but overcame their allure. Those who broke away from the chorus to learn the sound of their own voice. Nothing seems more brave than facing up to one’s own identity, and filtering out the chatter that tells us to be someone we’re not.

We have to lose the respect for corporate leaders, no longer believe that technology would make our lifes better, and the attack on our freedom made life precious and weighty. People have to reassess what matters to them and what they believe in.

In this book, ordinary people are portraited, they are all real! They’re messy and complicated. It’s the antithesis to all those books which pretend that their one-size-fits-all formula will result in a rosy, happily-ever-after Hollywood ending.

Ususally it’s in hard times, when people changed the course of their lifes; in good times, they frequently only talk about change. Hard times force them to overcome the doubts and fears that normally gave them pause. It’s surprising how often we hold ourselves back until we have no choice.

So the people in this book suffered layoffs, bankruptcies, divorces, evictions, illnesses, and the deaths of loved ones, and as a result they were as likely to stumble into a better life as they were to arrive there by reasoned planning. They made their mistakes before summoning the courage to get it right. Their paths called into question the notion that a calling is something you inherently know when you’re young. Far from it. These people discovered in themselves gifts they rarely realized they had.

The author tries to answer the questions of people, who are afraid of their own courage and fears, such as:

  • Should I put my faith in mystical signs of destiny, or should my sense of a “right fit” be based on logical, practical reasons?
  • When should I accept my lot, make peace with my ambitions, and stop stressing out?
  • Why do I feel guilty for thinking about this?
  • Should I make money first, to fund my dream?
  • How do I tell the difference between curiosity and a passion?
  • How do I weight making myself a better person against external achievements?
  • When do I need to change my situation, and when is it me that needs to change?
  • What should I tell my parents and my family who are worried about me?
  • If I have a child, will my frustration over my work go away?
  • What will it feel like, once I get there? (How will I know I’m there?)

Some things really matter in ones life and some things are merely ‘that week’s noise’ intruding in ones life. And what about the stumbling blocks that prevent us from living our dream: never enough money, never enough time?! We’re aware of these constraints – they’re right in front of us, every day.

So is it a book about life, or about careers? “It’s best to not get trapped by semantics”, as Po Bronson put it. “it’s about people who’ve dared to be honest with themselves”. Let’s be honest. Let’s listen to our dreams and live them!

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written by Chris

7 Responses to “What should I do with my life?”

  1. MikeNo Gravatar not found Says:

    Did I miss it? What’s the book’s title/author/isbn? Sounds like a good one.

  2. JennDZNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    So how does one become a nomad?
    How does someone who doesn’t have extra money or many possessions get out of the rat race, and have money to travel and learn?
    What would your suggestions be to people like that?
    These are questions I am asking myself now. I am ready for a big change…..but I don’t quite know how to get there! I will see what this book has to offer! Thanks! (again…)
    (so i ordered the book!)

  3. JennDZNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    So I broke down and actually bought this book. It sounded so great on this page. I have only read the intro and a few pages of the first story, and I do like it so far… thatnks for the recommendation!

  4. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Mike, the title of the book is “What should I do with my life” by Po Bronson. JennDZ, u got mail. ;-)

  5. Travel DestinationsNo Gravatar ROMANIA Says:

    we have a life we should live instead of asking ourself these question that have no answer

  6. Lucy WalterNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hi Chris,

    I saw your comment on and wanted to introduce myself as I am drawn to anything “Bali”. The book you are recommending sounds great and I just wanted to add my two cents worth. In regards to “what should I do with my life/life purpose”, I just want to let you know about my experience. Approx 3 years ago after a trip to Bali we started a business to raise funds for Balinese children living in poverty by selling fashion jewellery, nothing too “change the world-ish” just bracelets, necklaces and earrings, fun stuff that women enjoy. I am amazed how much my life has changed since this project. it takes most of my working hours to manage and we support 40 children by paying for for their education but the sense of fulfillment I get by doing this is beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life before. I am also amazed at how much women love a vehicle to support a good cause.The other interesting thing is the amount of business opportunities that have come to me personally since starting Bali Dreaming. I really believe the best place to start in finding your “what should I do with my life” is to start with “what shall I do to make a contribution” and then watch the magic happen.

    Say hi to Bali for me


    ps I am about to order the book from amazon. thanks for the recommendation

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Travel Destinations – you definitely have a good point here! Most people wonder to much and forget over it, that it’s up to them and in their own hands.

    The more happy I’m about the comment by Lucy Walther, who found her way to fulfillment by helping others and integrating people who are still looking. I admire your passion and attitude, as these kind of people like Lucy are rarely to be found in our cold, money-oriented, modern society. Keep it up Lucy – you set an example for all of us! =D>

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