Deciding what to do with your life is one of the most daunting decisions you will have to make as a college student. The plague of inevitable questions is endless, and uncertainty hangs over each student as he or she tries to decide on a major, and eventually, a career path. How do you know if you are making the right choice? Do you follow your passions, or try to remain pragmatic and pursue a career only for the success that will follow? We all go through this uneasiness at some point in our lives, and yet the answer may be simpler than any of us ever imagined.
Dr. Alexander Loyd, author of Beyond Willpower: The Secret Principle to Achieving Success in Life, Love and Happiness, claims that the answer to one of life's most difficult questions may actually lie within the story of Aladdin. Consider what you would do if you had been in Aladdin's shoes and a genie appeared before your very eyes: what is the one thing you would wish for? Loyd has traveled the world asking people this very question, and their answers are astounding. He begins by saying to his audience:
"I'm going to give you one wish. You can wish for anything you want, with only two limitations: You can't wish for more wishes, and you can't receive a wish that will take away someone else's free will. But wish for basically anything else, and you will get it...Also, you can never have another wish fulfilled in your lifetime, and if you don't tell me your wish in 10 seconds, you lose it."
Can you imagine this scenario? Can you imagine that one thing that came to your mind above all others when given only ten seconds? According to Loyd, the root of our goals can be discovered through this form of questioning when followed up with these two questions:
"If you got what you most wanted in question 1, what would that do for you and what would it change in your life?"
"If you got the things that were your answers to both questions 1 and 2, how would you feel?"
Now consider your answers. Was your answer to the final question surprising to you?
Loyd attests that by following this method, you are able to discover what ultimate goal drives your life, whether you realized it before or not. Most people tend to choose an external goal in the first question, but by the third question realize that their external goal is really only a means of achieving their optimal internal goal. This means that your answer to question three is your central goal in life right now.
At Boston College we are constantly encouraged to find ourselves, and in doing so, become fully educated people. We are here to receive a liberal arts education, not only to achieve a latter goal of prosperity in life.
Oftentimes this message gets lost in the day to day decisions we make, especially at a university with such a hefty yearly price tag. While college is a time to find yourself, it is also a means to achieve a degree that will lead you on to some greater endeavor.
Despite this, whether you are a senior facing the uncertainty of graduation, a junior trying to survive the demands of school, a sophomore struggling to decide your major or a freshman just trying to find your place, every single one of us is driven by a goal. But, maybe in discovering that goal, we will all be better enabled to find exactly what makes us happy. Maybe discovering that goal will finally allow us to "find our purpose," both here at BC and in the world.