I recently came across a question on Quora where a person asked how they knew that they were on the right track in life. Of course, Quora being the question-and-answer social media website that it is, there were a myriad of different responses.
It’s a question whose response is unique to the person asking it. What may be right for one person may not be the correct path for someone else.
At the same time, there are some telltale signs that can confirm that someone is on the right path for them.
Here are the ten indications that you’re finally on track to fulfilling the life that was meant for you.
1) You trust yourself to make the right choices
I have to admit, this one has been hard for me personally. I used to second-guess myself all the time, wondering what career path to choose. I questioned if it was safer to have a more reliable profession than freelance journalism.
At the same time I didn’t want to be confined to writing about only what I was told to write about. My background is in education, and I have to admit that I always felt like I wasn’t living up to my potential.
When my dad passed away five years ago, I decided that I might as well go after what I felt was right because life is short. I reasoned even if I was wrong, I could just reevaluate.
I decided to take the leap and I’m so happy I did. Now I have the freedom to take on assignments that stir my soul, such as those on human rights and world events. I also write about culture, fashion, and self-help topics which I also find incredibly engaging and fulfilling.
I get to talk to amazing high profile people and I never know what my month is going to look like. My work has also given me travel opportunities that I never could have anticipated.
Trusting yourself and taking the leap can pay dividends to get you on the path to the destiny that is waiting for you.
When big decisions come up or uncertainty arises, you do your research. Similarly, if a problem arises, rather than complain or sulk, you start brainstorming and strategizing.
You know that you have it in you to figure it out.
2) The right people start coming into your life
There’s a saying that goes something like this: “When you’re on the right track, the universe conspires to bring you the people who will help you along your path.”
I truly believe this. I find that it can be wittingly or unwittingly orchestrated.
Here’s an example. Last year, I interviewed a television personality who was new to working for a national network. Out of nowhere, a co-worker volunteered her (kind of as a joke) for an assignment to cover a major political candidate. That on-off gig got the ball rolling and she was asked to cover the candidate on a regular basis. Her career took off because of it.
When you’re on the right track, you don’t have to know what the end goal is. Life has a way of putting people on your path who take you to the next stepping stone.
Before you know it, you might be doing this you never thought were possible. Following your heart can have a domino effect.
3) You’re living by your values and not someone else’s
Your values form the foundation of your life, and they dictate the choices you make as well as determine the direction that your life takes, says Helene Walther from Betterdale Consulting.
“Your values influence your decisions related to your relationships, career, and other activities you engage in.”
The thing is, few people actually choose to live life based on their own values. They take on the values and beliefs of their parents, culture, and whatever views are upheld by the society and community.
“Sometimes, these values may have also created a life that is carrying you down a path that is not the direction that you want to go.”
You’re on the right path if you’ve made the decision to live by your own values and belief system.
4) Obstacles don’t overpower you
If you’re intentional about living a life that is authentic to you, you know that there will always be obstacles that pop up now and again.
Maybe you didn’t get the job you were so close to getting, maybe you have to deal with an illness.
While we have every right to feel down and depressed when life throws us a curveball, we get back up and still keep our eye on the ball: our goals.
People who are on the right path look at challenges as lessons, says Sarah Gonnella at Full Sail Partners.
They don’t complain and they face obstacles head-on, she says. They don’t beat around the bush. If they’re having an issue, they don’t bury their head in the sand, because they know that all this will just eat away at them.
They also do their best to stay positive. They think about the good things that could come from having to make a difficult decision or having a hard conversation.
They’re also realistic, says Gonnella. They realize that they may not get the outcome they want but they get the result that they need. Maybe there’s some growth that needs to happen first. “Sometimes the timing isn’t right and we just need to be patient.”
People on the right path in life know that they don’t have to solve everything at once. “Sometimes the bigger obstacle has small obstacles to overcome first,” says Gonnella. When dealing with challenges, they break them down and figure the smaller stuff first.
5) Your own opinion is the most important to you
Part of being on the right trajectory means that you don’t get distracted or bogged down by other people’s perceptions of who you are and what you should be doing with your life.
“Knowing your opinion of yourself—inside and out—plays a big role in how others see you, and how capable you are of finding happiness and achieving success with your goals,” says Caitlin H. from Freshology.
If you do get sidetracked by someone else’s opinion of you, it’s a good thing to remind yourself that their perspective is none of your business so why bother getting distressed about it?
“You’ll never fully understand how people view you—it’s just not possible,” adds Caitlin H. “You can’t get inside people’s minds. You can’t be a fly on the wall when people talk about you. And changing someone else’s perception is extremely difficult.”
I would take this sentiment further and ask, why should it matter so much what others think?
They’re not the ones living your life; they don’t know what you’ve been through. They’re not the ones in your shoes. So why do they get to be the judge? It’s frankly ridiculous to give other people that kind of power over you and your life. They’re judging based on a very limited part of who you—or really, who they think you are.
People on the right track are often working on strengthening their own self-concept.
How you see you is all that matters.
6) You’re following a passion or livelihood that you love
Being on the right track has a lot to do with being more tuned into your talents and making a commitment to pursuing them—even if it’s in little increment throughout the day.
This could be anything from reading 20 minutes a day before bedtime to expand your mind, having a side hustle that you hope will become your full-time gig one day, or clicking away at the keyboard on your first book. Maybe it could be attending art classes because you have a dream to exhibit your work in a gallery.
The point is you’re doing it and you’re doing it consistently—not just once in a blue moon when you think of it. No matter what’s going on or how busy you are, you know that you owe it to yourself to go after your dreams bit by bit and day by day.
7) You’re past no longer has a hold on you
I love this quote from late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
He would often say to his players: “Don’t live in the past; you can’t do anything about the past. It will never change whether it’s yesterday or last year. The future is yet to be determined and can be influenced by what you do today. Today is the only day that really matters.”
If you’re on the right track, it means you’re not wasting your time contemplating what could have been or what should have been. You’re even grateful for your past because of what it taught you—including what you don’t want to have happen again.
You’re at a place where you’re okay with whatever happened in the past and your focus on the here and now as well as what you want from the future.
8) You feel a sense of inner peace—even when life is chaotic
Being on the right path in life doesn’t mean that life is always flowing along swimmingly, but it does mean that you have an inner sense of well-being no matter what’s going on.
“If you’re being honest with yourself, even though so many facets of your life are in flux, you don’t feel the usual anxiety you have in the past about the uncertainty,” says Molly Burford from Collective World.
“Instead, you feel a sense of calm because you have faith you’ll figure it out.”
9) You’re proud of the progress you’ve made
I don’t believe you have to have achieved something “major” to be proud of yourself.
To me, being proud of yourself is more about the idea that you’re better than you were yesterday or last year.
Maybe you quit smoking or drinking, for example. You’re letting go of what no longer serves you. This can include toxic people.
“Being proud of oneself means having a strong, healthy sense of self-worth, which leads to a generally more positive well-being,” says Kate Skurat, Clinical Project Manager at Calmerry.
“It’s a vital part of leading a healthy and happy life. People who have a strong sense of self-worth feel more content with their lives and empowered with the life journey.”
10) You feel excited about your life
If you’re on the road to living an authentic life, you appreciate the gift that life is—and you’re excited about the endless possibilities.
“In this staggeringly large universe, we are somehow alive and conscious, with the ability to understand, to feel, to think,” says psychologist Sirvart Mesrobian.
It’s easy to take life for granted when we’re immersed in the more mundane aspects of life, such as paying the bills and running countless errands.
“It is hard to keep it in mind amidst all our fears and phobias, our frustrations, and the sometimes mundane and repetitive habits we all endure at times,” adds Mearobian. “[But] there is so much to life [and] there are many ways to get excited. Being excited about life is good for mental and physical health.”
I would add that with everything going on in the world—especially in our times—that we are so fortunate to have the lives we do, and live in the part of the world that we do. Other people have it so much worse.
They would do anything to have the life we have.
It is a disservice to humanity to waste our lives and truly live in a way that excites us.