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13 reasons why it’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do

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It’s normal to feel anxious and uncertain about changing your mind.

You might worry that it means you’re too fickle or don’t see things through. But the good news is that you don’t have to stick with a job you hate forever.

If you’re unhappy with your current situation, it’s perfectly okay to change your mind about what you want to do.

13 reasons why it’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do

1) People change as they learn and develop

As we grow, we change.

Our priorities, interests, and desires move on. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it is a sign of progression.

You know more now than you did 10 years ago. You have the value of more experiences to shape you. You’ve lived and you’ve learned. And it is a sign of maturity to take on board those experiences and change from them.

You may have dreamt of being a cowboy or a train driver as a child. But likely as you got older, your inclinations shifted.

Should you have diligently pursued your career as a farmer just because at the age of 9 you thought working with fluffy animals would be nice?

Of course not. You’re not the same person now as you were then. Well, growth isn’t limited to childhood and should not stop just because we reach a certain age.

As you refine yourself, your goals, your idea of success, your motivations, and your tastes in life it is totally normal to reconsider what you want to do too.

Sometimes we need to try something out to realize that it isn’t for us. That’s why plenty of people train in one thing, only to realize it wasn’t what they expected.

You can do all the research in the world, but often in life we only really know whether something is going to work out by giving it a go.

The reality is that you are under no obligation to remain the same person you were 15 years ago, 15 months ago, or even 15 minutes ago.

2) You’re biologically hardwired to adapt to new information

It may feel threatening to change your mind, but your brain is designed to do so.

You are biologically equipped for changing decisions, no matter how tricky they feel to make. That’s because our cognitive systems are actually built to adapt to new information.

In fact, that’s how we manage to learn and become better at making decisions quickly.

You start out on one path and all seems to be going well, but unpredictably circumstances change.

Well, luckily human beings’ minds are equipped to very quickly absorb new info and come up with a better course of action. As an evolutionary feature, we’re programmed to handle surprise changes.

So why do you feel doubt and question whether it’s ok to change your mind?

The reason it can feel so uncomfortable is that although we’re good at adapting, we’re not designed to like uncertainty.

Evolution has tried to keep us safe by teaching us to avoid risk-taking. Of course, the risks we take today are far less likely to be life-threatening, but try telling that to your stressed-out brain.

Simply knowing that this internal defense mechanism is kicking in to make you second guess whether changing your mind is a bad idea can help to reassure you.

3) It shows you’re capable of re-evaluating

Changing your mind shows that you can be flexible and open to new ideas.

When you change your mind, you’re showing that you’re willing to look again at your options and consider them from a different perspective.

This is exactly what we need to succeed in life. We need to be able to evaluate situations from multiple angles.

We need to be able to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. And if you’ve ever been told “no” when you wanted to do something, chances are you’ve had to rethink your approach.

We all need to be able to rethink our own ideas and opinions. Being able to re-evaluate helps you to make sure you are on the right track and heading in the right direction.

It lets you improve or tweak your plans or make sure something is still worth pursuing.

Re-evaluation actually saves you time and potential trouble further down the line by asking yourself what isn’t working so that you can make improvements to your life and career path.

4) You’re committed to finding your purpose

If you find yourself wanting to change what you do, it could be because you haven’t found your true calling yet.

Once you know what you love doing, you’ll be more motivated to pursue it.

And once you find your purpose, you’ll also be more confident in your decision to change careers. Because you’ll be convinced that you were meant to do this work.

Finding your purpose is about discovering more meaning and contentment in the work you do. Most of us want this in life, and there is no shame in changing careers to try and pursue it.

The difficulty is that most of us don’t know what our purpose is, and how to find it.

It can help to ask yourself some simple questions like “What am I passionate about?” and “What inspires me?”

This can help you to uncover your deeper passions and interests which will eventually lead you to discover your purpose.

If you’ve ever wondered ‘Why do I keep changing my mind about what I want to do?’, it could be that you’re not living your life aligned with a deeper sense of purpose.

The consequences of not finding your purpose in life include a general sense of frustration, listlessness, dissatisfaction and a sense of not being connected with your inner self.

It’s difficult to know what you want to do when you’re not feeling in sync.

I learned a new way to discover my purpose after watching Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself. He explains that most people misunderstand how to find their purpose, using visualization and other self-help techniques.

However, visualization isn’t the best way to find your purpose. Instead, there’s a new way to do it which Justin Brown learned from spending time with a shaman in Brazil.

After watching the video, I discovered my purpose in life and it dissolved my feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. This helped me to feel far more certain about what I wanted to do in life.

Here’s the link again

5) You’re not wasting your time

Time is our most precious resource in life, and we don’t want to waste it.

Stubbornly sticking at something that isn’t right for you, rather than correct course now, can prove to be a waste of your precious time.

There are many reasons why you may want to change what you do. When we’re feeling dissatisfied about anything in our lives, taking no action at all is often the worst move we make.

Of course, it’s sensible not to rush foolishly into certain decisions, especially when your livelihood is concerned. But once you already know that you want to change your mind about what you do, delaying the decision any longer is only eating away at more time and stopping you from making a start on something else.

6) Changing your mind helps you find clarity

We can fail to recognize that discovering what we don’t want is what helps most of us to realize what we do want.

That’s why changing your mind can help you clarify what you really want.

Life doesn’t come wrapped up neatly. It takes exploration and experimentation for most of us to work out what is best for us.

Whilst it feels more satisfying to stumble upon a good fit straight away, it’s pretty rare. It’s more a case of trial and error.

Think of it as a bit like Goldilocks trying things out before getting to the ones that were “just right” for her.

Each change you make in life adds another piece to the puzzle which helps you refine the overall picture.

7) It shows you are flexible

Here’s the honest truth…

Whether we like it or not, change is coming our way in life. We cannot avoid it and often it is thrust upon us.

If you can roll with it rather than try to dodge it, you’re going to be well prepared and more resilient than those who resist it.

The ability to adapt to change is essential if you want to succeed at anything. This includes being able to switch jobs, take a new course, or try something different.

Recruiters these days are actively looking for employees who can display adaptability and flexibility in their way of thinking and doing things.

You’re more likely to bounce back from setbacks with a flexible outlook.

Receptiveness to change means that you are more willing to seek new ways of doing things and have the confidence to experiment, and modify your behavior based on what you find.

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8) There’s no such thing as a job for life anymore

More now than ever, jobs come and go.

Whilst not that long ago in the jobs market it was common for someone to stay in the same line of work until retirement, this is rarely the case nowadays.

In modern society, it’s questionable whether the idea of having a job for life has a place anymore.

One study on the future of work found that 60 percent of people expect to change either their roles or their industries in the next 10 years.

A further 67 percent of people surveyed said they don’t imagine their job will even exist in 15 years’ time or they will need a totally new set of skills.

The reality is that within a fast-changing and growing society, the jobs market is bound to undergo some big changes too. Ones that you won’t be able to avoid.

It’s totally ok to change your mind about what you want to do because at some point you might have no other choice.

Changing your mind can lead to better career choices.

9) Success often relies on failure

Some of the most successful people in life have got to where they are now by being prepared to take risks.

As Thomas Jefferson once famously stated, “With great risk comes great reward.”

If you want more in life, sometimes you need to go for it. And failing isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it can be an important part of success.

When you fail, you learn valuable lessons. You gain experience and knowledge. You also get feedback. All of which help you improve and hone your knowledge and skills.

The key difference between the so-called winners and losers in life is that when you face challenges and failures, don’t let them discourage you. Instead, use them to build yourself up.

Rather than seeing changing your mind about what you want to do as a failure, recognize it is an important step along the way to creating a more successful future.

10) It takes courage

Changing your mind actually takes courage.

As American psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “In any given moment, we have two choices: step forward into growth or step backward into safety.”

Leaving your comfort zone and being prepared to face feelings of guilt or fear of failure from changing your mind about what you want to do is brave.

The courage to be open to trying new things and taking chances is one of those all-important traits that help you along in life.

It shows you are taking self-responsibility and prepared to take control over your life to shape it the way that you want it.

Taking risks and making mistakes is how you grow and develop.

So if you want to succeed in life, you’ll need to be willing to put yourself out there and try something different. Having the courage to do that is key.

11) You’re less likely to live with regrets

You know what they say, you only regret the things you didn’t do. And research seems to back this up.

Studies have found that it’s regrets about inactions that haunt us far more and for a longer period of time.

Plenty of people have regrets, and the most common when you’re lying on your deathbed is: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

As explained in Business Insider, there’s a very good reason why the regret of not following your dreams becomes the most haunting:

“When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

You only live once and life is too short for “what if’s”.

So if you want to change your mind it’s far better to change it 1000 times over than live with the regret of not doing so later on.

12) Your skills are more transferable than you think

I once met a guy who when I asked him what he did for work said: “I’m creative”.

Whilst on the face of it that may sound quite vague or wishy-washy, I really liked his answer.

Why? Because far too many of us define ourselves based on the work we do and not who we are.

Most of us are asked to choose subjects to study, or what jobs we want to do at such a young age.

We then end up narrowing down our options. We feel as though once we have committed down a certain path, it starts to define us.

But when you zoom out, rather than in, you have far more transferable skills than you think. These skills are based on who you are rather than any one particular thing you have done.

Going back to my example of the man who “is creative” rather than saying he worked as a digital designer.

Just think of all the potential careers, and work opportunities he is opening himself up to with this small shift in mindset.

It’s ok to change your mind about what you want to do because you are infinitely more than one set of narrow experiences you have focused on up until now.

You hold within you both natural and already developed talents that can be applied to so many different things.

Nurturing new skill sets can be one of the most valuable assets in a changing job market.

13) Changing your mind can be a sign of mental strength

Sticking to your guns can be esteemed by society as an admirable trait.

And so the inference becomes that changing your mind about what you want to do means you are fickle or uncommitted.

But changing your mind doesn’t make you weak. In fact, it can be a sign that you are confident enough to confront your doubts, assumptions, and ideas.

Changing your mind can be a sign of mental strength when you “give up” on something for good reason.

Those reasons may include recognizing a career path no longer aligns with your values, deciding that the reward isn’t worth the effort, identifying that the risks are too high, or simply feeling like your overall goals have changed.

Why do I keep changing my mind about what I want to do?

There are many reasons why people find themselves constantly changing their minds about what career or work to pursue.

As we’ve seen there are many benefits to daring to change your mind.

But if you feel frustrated or lost because you’re always changing your mind about what you want to do, there may be some fundamental underlying reasons worth exploring.

Some of them include:

  • Being unsure of where you stand in life or not understanding yourself.
  • Feeling like you haven’t found your purpose yet.
  • Not feeling confident enough to make a decision yet.
  • Having self-doubt or questioning your ability to make the right decision.
  • Trying to people please and live your life to suit others rather than yourself.
  • Having unrealistic expectations about work — expecting too much too soon, or searching for perfection.
  • Overreacting to inevitable bad days, boredom, or other negative emotions you experience occasionally.
  • In extreme cases, people with BPD might find that they constantly change their mind about things.

In many cases simply getting to know yourself better can be a good solution for finally finding satisfaction in what you do.

Quite often we fear that we can’t achieve our biggest goals in life and in work, and so end up settling for less. But there’s still that nagging voice in the back of your head that wants more.

What does it take to build a life filled with exciting opportunities and passion-fueled adventures?

Most of us hope for a life like that, but we feel stuck, unable to achieve the goals we wishfully set.

I felt the same way until I took part in Life Journal. Created by teacher and life coach Jeanette Brown, this was the ultimate wake-up call I needed to stop dreaming and start taking action.

Click here to find out more about Life Journal.

So what makes Jeanette’s guidance more effective than other self-development programs?

It’s simple:

Jeanette’s created a unique way of putting YOU in control of your life.

She’s not interested in telling you how to live your life. Instead, she’ll give you lifelong tools that’ll help you achieve all your goals, keeping the focus on what you’re passionate about.

And that’s what makes Life Journal so powerful.

If you’re ready to start living the life you’ve always dreamt of, you need to check out Jeanette’s advice. Who knows, today could be the first day of your new life.

Here’s the link once again.

Written by Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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