Life is a long and winding road, and it’s natural at a certain point to stop and genuinely wonder if you’ve gone astray.
Did I take a wrong turn somewhere back there, or is this the road I’m meant to be on?”
After all, none of us wants to put effort and energy into something that’s a mistake.
Look out for the following signs that show that you’re on the right path in life.
1) You have people you love in your life
If you have people you love in your life it’s a sure indication that you are on the right path.
Nothing is ever wasted when it’s around people you care about and spending time with people you love.
If you’re alone then it may seem like you’ve failed in this regard, but it’s not so simple either:
If you thrive in solitude and your time alone is leading to greater growth, facing your shadow and becoming a more complete and confident person then your time alone is very valuable.
Plus, if you love yourself then time alone is with somebody you love!
2) You’re doing work that’s connected to your purpose
I believe that everybody in this world has a purpose in their lives, both on a personal and professional level.
The key to finding your purpose is often to align your talents and skills with what is needed and missing in your own life.
Many of us spend years looking for fulfillment and answers for parts of our lives or even pragmatic problems that don’t seem easy to fix.
But it’s when we learn to look deeper into the problems we’re having and how we can apply our own talents to them that our purpose begins to emerge.
If you’re doing work that’s aligned with your purpose then you’re on the right path in life.
It’s ultimately that simple.
If you’re not, at least ensure that the money you make from your work and the life it allows you to have is aligned with your purpose, for example raising a family or being a leader or contributor in your community or cultural circles.
This ties into the next point…
3) You’re finding a balance between material success and inner meaning
I have met many people in my life as a reporter, writer and in more than 15 other jobs I’ve done over the years.
In my journey I grew to have a deep curiosity about what motivates people in life and looking at what separates people and brings them together.
I’ve met highly idealistic folks who were completely against participation in the “System” and relying on material success, as well as much more 9-5 folks who wanted to just follow the rules and see more digits in their bank account and have a comfortable life.
What I noticed, in my own view, is that those who shunned material success and those who chased it with all their energy both had big blind spots.
The idealists ended up with fascinating experiences and ideas but a constant grind and the worst kind of work just to scrape by, because they hadn’t focused on career or money…
The pragmatists ended up with generally more boring lives but much more stability when it came to not worrying about making ends meet and vacationing wherever they wanted.
In my view, the best path lies in the middle: focusing on career and becoming at least materially comfortable, but also never losing sight of your ideals and what means more to you than money.
If you can balance both (or even come close) you are absolutely on the right path in your life.
Ultimately it’s all a matter of learning to listen to your soul.
4) You’re not depending on anybody else for happiness
In myself and others I’ve also seen many people who depended on somebody else for happiness and others who were much more independent.
What I observed is that even those who depended on romantic partners or family members to be happy ended up eventually feeling lost and miserable in life.
But I also noticed that those who didn’t depend on others for happiness fell into two main categories:
Those who are independent but still engaged and involved.
And those who are independent but in a detached and emotionally disconnected way.
Needless to say, the first type of independence is what we should all be seeking.
None of us wants to become a cyborg (well, almost none of us) but becoming dependent on others for the happiness in our lives is also a trap.
The key is learning to relate and interact with others from a place of stability and strength, gaining and giving to relationships, but never treating them as a life raft!
If you find that this is also how you’re coming to see your connections in life then you are becoming exactly who you’re supposed to be.
5) You’ve let go of past regrets and feel ready to move on
Pain from past trauma, regrets and disappointments doesn’t ever fully disappear, nor should it.
But it is possible to move on from that pain or, even better, to channel it into new pursuits and inner grit.
If you’ve managed to overcome feelings of resentment and bitterness about the past and accepted the pain for what it is, there’s no doubt you’re on the right path.
You’re ready to switch into action instead of focusing on past regrets that can’t be changed.
6) You feel open to seeking wisdom and spiritual truths
Whether or not you’ve embraced any particular spiritual path or religious faith, you feel open to learning and experiencing new things.
Even if you’re a secular atheist, you haven’t shut your mind and heart to the possibility of experiences you might not understand or be able to explain.
You aren’t just going through the motions in life or shutting the book and saying “well, this story’s over.”
The story is still unfolding. You’re still keeping your eyes open. You’re willing to be surprised and introduced to new experiences, people and ideas.
7) You’ve gotten a handle on your vices and addictions
We all have our vices and addictions, no matter how small they are.
It could even just be things like binge-watching various series or smoking a few too many cigarettes every day.
Even if it’s bigger addictions like unhealthy addiction to sex, drugs, gambling or indulging too much in emotions like anger and jealousy, you’ve now got a handle on it.
You know your weak spots and you’re able to take charge and avoid some of your impulsive and addictive behavior.
When you feel yourself about to slip back into old habits you do your best to resist.
And when you give in once or twice it’s much longer until the next time you do as you begin focusing your energy and attention on more proactive things.
8) You have healthy and empowering daily habits
In addition to dropping unhealthy vices and addictions, you’re replacing them with healthy habits.
Getting up early, eating well, resting soundly and pursuing hobbies that bring you joy.
You are looking at small improvements to every area of your life and finding ways to build healthy habits.
If you’re doing that you’re absolutely on the right track!
9) You’re able to change and adapt with life’s changes
The only constant in life is change.
If you’re able and willing to adapt then you are already on the right path in life.
Because the truth is even the “right” path will change as you traverse it:
- People come and go
- Experiences shape you
- Beliefs change and evolve
- New places, cultures and ideas shift our focus
- Tragedy, triumph and surprise changes our priorities
There’s just no way to predict where life will take any of us, even with the most careful planning.
If you have accepted that and don’t cling to fixed things in life then you are on the right path.
Let me be clear:
You may have commitments like marriage, contracts and beliefs that you hold to and in my view that’s a great thing.
But at the same time, your sense of self never depends on anything outside of you, and you accept that life can change, in fact it will always change.
10) Your discomfort zone doesn’t scare you anymore
Leading motivational speakers and authors like David Goggins emphasize the importance of embracing your discomfort zone.
The areas of your life where you impose discipline, try harder and push further are the areas where you grow.
To be sure there’s a time for rest, relaxation and recuperating.
But if you’ve managed to make friends with your discomfort zone then you’re on the right track:
Physically, emotionally, even spiritually when you’re feeling like giving up is often right before a massive breakthrough occurs.
Don’t give up and stay on the path you’re on.