Spartan

Am I Feeling Resistance or an Evolving Life Purpose?

4 posts in this topic

(TL;DR at the bottom)

Before I begin, @Leo Gura, thank you so much for creating the Life Purpose Course. This forum is already full of praise for the course, but if you’re reading this and still aren’t sure if it’s worth the investment, I’ll tell you this: the Life Purpose Course has provided me with more value and transformation than my college education. I say that as a student graduating this spring from an ivy league university with a degree in computer science (I include this detail not to sound like a privileged douche ? but to convey the unbelievable value and profound insights you can gain by diligently working through the course). It taught me more about myself, life and impact than any other resource or experience I’ve had.

I completed the course 3 years ago as a freshman in college. By the end of the course this is the life purpose statement I came away with: “Design software that protects humanity from devastating cyberattacks and malicious AI.”

It made perfect sense. I fell in love with computers in first grade, was obsessed with learning about programming and technology growing up, and studied computer science and cybersecurity in high school (and now college). This love for the field culminated in wildly exciting experiences such as leading a team to win a national cybersecurity competition with several thousand competitors. Not only was I passionate about computer science/cybersecurity, but I saw the huge, meaningful impact I could have on this path, given the catastrophic risks presented by increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and AI targeting critical infrastructure. This life purpose was one that was “hidden in plain sight”, as Leo explained in a video.

Over the past three years I have been aligning myself with my life purpose. I have interned as a security/software engineer at well-known tech companies, studied computer science in college with a focus on cybersecurity, and have taken security courses during winter/summer breaks. This fall I’m starting as a full-time security engineer to work alongside leaders in the field to develop my skills, learn the cutting edge methodologies and identify key problem areas. To put it plainly, I do feel that I’m on the path towards actualizing this purpose.

But for the first time in my life, I’m starting to wonder if this is still my purpose.

I completed the course as a freshman in college. Since then, I have had many life experiences: living in different parts of the country, serious relationships/breakups, dedicated meditation practice, self-actualization work, experience in the tech/security industry and the diagnosis of a chronic, progressive disease two years ago (in the past few months I’ve finally gotten it under control). Throughout this time, my passion and fascination for personal development and self-actualization has grown and grown.

I discovered personal development and Actualized.org 5 years ago in high school. I applied what I learned and experienced a huge transformation. 

But more importantly, I shared what I learned. I gave a motivational speech (inspired in part by Leo’s One Simple Rule for Acing Life video) in front of several thousand people that went viral in my local community. I coached friends and family through breakups, quarter/mid-life crises, unemployment and health problems. I’ve published articles that have gone semi-viral on various self-improvement subreddits. I gave a presentation to high school students on unconventional college/career advice. I've written motivational letters to younger teammates who have framed the letters on their walls. I’ve researched and shared advice on focus, nutrition, exercise, time management, productivity and mindfulness. Throughout the day, whether I’m showering, eating, walking, or whatever, I have tons of ideas on how to convey a new insight through a course, video or article. My OneNote is filled with these ideas.

While cybersecurity clearly won out at the end of the Life Purpose Course, throughout all the exercises, my passion and curiosity for self-actualization/writing/coaching/teaching/leadership often popped up alongside security. It was the only other path I seriously considered while taking the course.

As a student, I don’t have as much time as I would like to engage in the things I listed above, but when I do, I absolutely love it. Despite knowing about my achievements and vision for my cybersecurity career, several close friends, family members and mentors have said that I should consider working in the personal development/coaching space.

Up until this point, I haven’t taken that advice, given the clear vision I developed through the Life Purpose Course. I have only viewed personal development as a hobby and necessary part of fulfilling my life purpose in cybersecurity. Over the past 3 years, whenever I feel unsure about my life purpose and imagine alternate paths like personal development/coaching, I remind myself of the ideas in Cal Newport’s book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, which I read around the same time. He argues that instead of navel-gazing and wondering if we found our true purpose, that we should put our heads down and focus on grinding to get “so good they can’t ignore you”, which accumulates career capital and allows us to eventually bargain for the job traits and impactful work that make us passionate about our careers.

But I’m starting to wonder if, despite Cal's advice, I should pay more attention to the resistance that I feel towards my work.

Whenever I have a break or free time, I always want to spend it on personal development work, whether that’s researching, reading, working through a course or writing my own piece of advice/content. Aside from school, I typically only work on developing my security skillset not because I’m excited to but because I’m “doing what is most emotionally difficult” and “adopting a craftsman mindset” towards my work, expecting that more passion will come down the road with mastery. Don't get me wrong, I still find my current vision very meaningful and impactful, and find cybersecurity/software much more exciting than most other work, but I don't feel the same way about it that I used to. I find myself asking more and more, both about my current work and the work ahead of me, "Is this what I really want to be doing for the rest of my life?"

To avoid making this post too lengthy and detailed, here’s my question: should I remain committed to my life purpose as described above, or is this the kind of authentic evolution of a life purpose that Leo mentioned in the FAQ? If it's the latter, I'm considering re-doing the course.

Am I feeling a sneaky form of Resistance or is this a genuine indicator that I’ve outgrown my current life purpose? In other words, I’m pretty wary of being a self-help junkie, so I’m trying to distinguish whether this is all just a self-deceptive distraction from the hard work required to actualize my vision in cybersecurity.

I'm pretty terrified of the idea of throwing away the 8+ years of education and career capital I've gained in computer science and cybersecurity. But if that's what it takes, then so be it.

My final semester schedule is relatively easy, and I start my job as a security engineer in August, so I have more free time until then to either focus heavily on developing my cybersecurity skillset and continue along my current path, or to explore my options and ideas for personal development/coaching.

I'm not expecting any black-and-white responses. This is obviously something only I can figure out for myself. But @Leo Gura I’d love to hear your thoughts as well as anyone else’s! Thanks everyone! :)

TL;DR

  • Completed Leo's Life Purpose Course 3 years ago as a college freshman and concluded that my purpose is to design software that helps to mitigate the catastrophic risks presented by cyberattacks and malicious AI targeting critical infrastructure.
  • I am on the path to actualizing my life purpose over the next 10 to 20 years, and feel increasingly aligned with it.
  • I've had many life experiences since taking the course over my college career (living in different cities, relationships, self-actualization work, cybersecurity/software work experience and serious health problems).
  • I am very passionate about personal development, leading others, teaching and sharing self-improvement insights. I naturally gravitate towards spending my free time on this.
  • Despite a thorough completion of the life purpose course, I am feeling a slow but growing sense of doubt about whether I'm on the right path, and if my life purpose has been evolving as I have been growing as a person (maybe I should redo the course since I'm only in my early 20's?). Or, maybe this is just Resistance, since I have decades of hard work ahead of me to actualize my life purpose.
Edited by Spartan

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Self-help coaches are dime a dozen, and your level of technical skills (ivy league, winning competition, interning at tech firms - damn!) + life purpose is much more unique and useful for the world.

Self-help is also not fulfilling after a certain point, when you realize that most of it are sort of gimmicks. IE. there are useful techniques like proper nutrition, good sleep, productivity etc. but someone can follow all of them and still not be successful. While Elon Musk eats like shit and barely sleeps and is driving the world forward. There are concepts that transcend all of traditional self-help easily, such as true life purpose.

Why don't you keep following yours, start your own company down the line, and you can apply the motivational speaking and personal development to your own employees and fuel your life purpose even more?

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@AuthenticSelf That makes a lot of sense. Plus there’s no guarantee that I’d even be a good coach.

I have a feeling this is Resistance manifesting as doubt/uncertainty. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me and have to move across the country for my job, so of course the grass looks greener on the other side right now.

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply! I really appreciate it.

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@Spartan you may benefit from reading The Path of least resistance. Seems like a huge ball of resistance stands between you and your passion, this is common. It comes in all shapes and forms. doubt, fear, anger, laziness, boredom, distraction. 

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