Leadership

4 questions to ask yourself to figure out what you really want in life

Self-made billionaire Warren Buffett recently said, "The secret of career longevity is to find something you love doing, something you would do if you didn't need the money."

In reality, data shows that many millennials are finding it difficult to follow Buffett's advice.

A 2016 Gallup poll found that only 29 percent of millennials are engaged in their jobs, which means the other 71 percent lack job clarity, which can be stressful.

"I think anyone can relate to how hard it is to find your unique voice," author and creative entrepreneur Adam J. Kurtz tells CNBC Make It. "It can take a lot of time and exploration to find what feels natural, honest and true to yourself."

In his upcoming book, "Things Are What You Make of Them," Kurtz shares a mini-collection of inspirational essays and "no-nonsense advice" for anyone seeking encouragement.

"By now, you've spent a good portion of your life learning things about yourself, steering those things in different directions, hiding them, claiming new identities and any number of other adjustments we all make (consciously or not)," Kurtz writes.

"Life is going to tell you a lot of things about yourself that you didn't ask to be told," he adds, "but when you're being true to yourself and doing what you love, none of that really matters."

Here are four questions Kurtz says you should ask yourself to figure out what you really want in life.

Who are you?

It may seem easy to tunnel through a job you don't like, but research shows that the stress and unhappiness caused can take a physical and psychological toll on you.

"Before you can create and share honest work with the world, you need to have a sense of where it comes from," Kurtz writes.

A post shared by Adam J. Kurtz (@adamjk) on

He adds that "you can stay busy making s--t blindly, or you can look inward."

"People throw themselves into their work to distract from what's really going on in their lives," Kurtz says.

Being introspective also requires you to look within a the roots you may have buried deep.

"Learn to cherish (or at least acknowledge) even your darkest parts," Kurtz writes.

What is your truth?

While Kurtz encourages you to figure out who you are and what you value, he says it is equally important to embrace it as "valid, meaningful and okay to talk about."

"Usually we know our truths, but are unwilling to embrace it, or to give ourselves a chance to think objectively about who we are," Kurtz says.

Denying your truth could stem from a time when someone rejected you or made you feel ashamed or afraid of your thoughts or feelings, he writes. But what is most important for your own growth is accepting the experiences you face as "the real, human person that you are."

This also involves finding your voice and learning to speak from a place of honesty, because even if your work doesn't involve emotion, all work requires some level of personality, Kurtz adds.

"You need to figure out who you are and what's important to you," Kurtz says. "Own your s--t and then you can start working towards it."

Who do you want to be?

Kurtz points out that no two people's journey will be exactly the same. Perhaps this means some may read, watch lectures, listen to podcasts, find mentors, or some combination of these.

A post shared by Adam J. Kurtz (@adamjk) on

Others, meanwhile, may benefit from toning down their energy, meditation or completely not thinking about who you may want to be, Kurtz says. Some may just learn from trial and error.

"Think about who you hope to grow into," Kurtz says. "That desire is as important as who you are currently, to set your intention and inform the steps you'll take now to get there."

What is your brand?

Kurtz advises that before you build a brand, get to producing work first.

Though technology may make it easier to accomplish more with fewer resources, Kurtz says "sometimes you just need to try first and worry later."

"Putting a label on yourself before you've earned it, or know that it's accurate, is a little bit pointless," he says.

After you look within to figure out your brand, Kurtz recommends "using your power," or your combination of "history, voice, and skill," to help propel yourself forward and "do incredible things."

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