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Do More of What You’re Meant to Do and Less of What You’re “Supposed” to Do

jump for joy 2

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Throughout my twenties I tended to make choices based on what I was supposed to do.

I didn’t always conform to what was expected (I broke a few rules here and there), but overall the direction of my life was completely dictated by social norms.

I thought I was supposed to settle down, buy a home, and start a family. I tried this and it didn’t go so well.

Let’s just say I’m still part owner of a home I don’t live in.

It wasn’t that this life plan was inherently flawed or wrong by any means, but it just wasn’t for me.

I wasn’t listening to my heart’s desires. I wasn’t asking, “What do I really really want?”

“What am I really being called to do?”

I was doing what my background taught me I was “supposed” to do.

Do you ever find that words like “should” “must” or “ought to” are dictating your life?

How many people out there are living a life that isn’t their own? 

Many people are walking this path. It is the life society or their families tell them to live.

I certainly still do from time to time. I have responsibilities and certain standards of living I want to maintain.

I value stability and security along with adventure and excitement.

So instead of doing something because it’s supposed to be that way, I now am clear of the bigger picture. What I do is for a greater goal.

The greater goal is to create a life filled with fulfillment, passion, and peace of mind.

The greater goal is to do what I am meant to do, to follow the calling in my heart and soul.

We are all alive for a reason. We have gifts, talents, and creative expression we are meant to share with the world.

Maybe you have a dream to write a book, or to serve your community through a homeless shelter, or to sing and play music.

I implore you to do more of this – to be willing to follow the artistic and creative vision in your heart.

Why? Because if you do you will be a better person in the end. You will be happier and more engaged in life. You will feel completely alive, instead of the shell of a spirit that has been beaten down and told to be a good boy or girl.

This isn’t a diatribe encouraging you to do something reckless and irresponsible. It is a message of encouragement for you to live more fully and expressively.

It is just a simple reminder that you have something you want in life, and that you have a choice to incorporate more of this joyful expression into your day to day experience.

I think the best question to ask is from Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art.

If you were the only person left on the planet, with no one to impress or answer to, what would you want to do?

Whatever it is, assuming it advances your best self and supports life, do more of it.

Do More of What You’re Meant to Do and Less of What You’re “Supposed” to Do

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2014). Do More of What You’re Meant to Do and Less of What You’re “Supposed” to Do. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Dec 2014
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