What do you really want to do?

I mean really?

If you could do anything what would that be?

That’s a hard question to answer, isn’t it?

That question paralyzes us because we’re suddenly presented with an infinite amount of options.

Should I go back to school? Start a business? Quit my job? Go into ministry?

There’s so many options it’s overwhelming.

And to make matters worse there’s the whole issue of “we only have one life to live.”

So we have an infinite number of choices but a finite amount of time to live.

This can create so much pressure that we “opt-out” of this whole thought process.

We think, “Screw it, I’ll just keeping working this job I hate and try to focus on some positive things during the time I have off. Maybe take up a new hobby or volunteer more at church or something.”

One of the reasons we stop thinking about what we really want is because the sheer number of options is debilitating.

The Jam Study

It’s like The Jam Study.

Researchers set up a booth of jam samples at a store.

They split tested two different presentations of jam. One had 24 jams to choose from and the other had just six.

The result?

30% of people who sampled the small assortment decided to buy jam, while just 3% of those bought who had to decide between 24 jams.

As a marketer I know this is a basic fact about how we humans choose. “A confused mind does not buy,” we say. And it’s true.

But it’s not just true in marketing. It’s true in life.

So what’s the solution?

Instead of asking yourself, “If you could do anything, what would you do” start asking yourself more specific questions with fewer options.

For example, you could ask yourself:

  • Do I want to work from home or commute in to work?
  • Do I want to work with people or work alone?
  • Am I more of an employee, freelancer or entrepreneur?
  • How much money do I need to make each month?
  • What skills do I currently have?
  • What kind of work have I done that I really enjoy?

Notice how all those questions have a limited number of answers?

I’ve found these questions to be much more helpful then the “If you could do anything” question.

So try it out. See how it goes.