There are any number of pads of paper lying around my home office that have headings like "Things I like doing", and "Things I hate doing". If you've never tried to fill one of these out before, it is a lot tougher than it sounds. The real list that I'm trying to put together is "Things that would give me a deep sense of satisfaction and purpose, and could be meaningful in the context of my future". If the first two lists seem difficult to assemble, this last one is my current Mount Everest -- distant and seemingly unattainable.
The negative list is a bit easier, because I've reflected more often when I have a negative experience, as opposed to a positive experience (which, I suppose, I see as 'normal'). Here are some sample items off of one of the older lists
* Being criticized.
* Being directed by other people, as opposed to persuaded
* Having my direction changed once I'm committed to something
* Conflict and confrontation
* Being rushed into things on a tight timetable -- I prefer to contemplate.
And this list goes on and on.
For the positive list to have any real insight, it needs to reveal something other than the 'contra-negative' (yes, I know that's not a word, but Shakespeare invented words to suit his needs....). Here are some sample items off of a list from the same vintage.
* Novel or new experiences, especially where I learn something new
* Discussing and understanding the big picture
* Wrapping in emotion, I especially see this with music
* Spending time with friends
* Physical tests and challenges
There are probably a dozen of these types of lists lying around now, and they are all variations on the themes above. So what does this all mean? Does it get me any closer to the BIG list -- the one that could hold a future direction for me? I really can't say at this point. What I can say is that I'm more aware of what my likes and dislikes are than I've been in a long long time.