How much of our precious lives do we spend searching for the one? The one true love. The best place to live. Our career calling. All that emotional energy devoted to finding three needles in the ginormous haystack of life.

Think about it. There are billions of people on Earth. Nearly 150 million square kilometers of land area. Countless jobs and career opportunities. But we can only have one of each.

The whole concept of seeking the one true [fill in the blank] makes no sense at all. Yet that’s what many of us do. And in so doing, we actually cut down on our chances of finding what we’re looking for.

In short, we set our expectations too high.

Don’t get me wrong. The only thing worse than that is settling for a life of misery with someone we don’t love in a place we don’t belong doing work we can’t stand. But I think we all know that.

Somewhere in between those two extremes you will find a good and happy life, as long as your luck holds out. What can I say, there is always luck, good and bad. I don’t care how much of a control freak you are, you can’t control luck.

The hands-down best process I know for successfully finding that middle ground is this:

1) Cast a wide net when starting out, since that will provide you with vast experience to help you determine what you like and don’t like.

2) Successively narrow the field with honest feedback and self-awareness until it feels right. How right is right? That’s your call. Just don’t seek perfection or settle for wrong.

3) Be flexible and open to new experiences and changes in your environment because, let’s face it, the only constant is change. If you lose a job, a home or a love, you can and will find another, maybe even a better one.

Got a better plan, I’m all ears. And don’t talk to me about Albert Einstein, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. There are always outliers, although we’ll never really know if people like that have multiple callings or not, will we?

Image credit torbakhopperand Beyond Neon / flickr