Image by orvaratli via Flickr
Jay over at InnerNoodle has a great perspective and discussion on the search for Life Purpose and how it’s not as difficult as it’s often made. He elaborates on his journey in this and I figured I’d prefer to write a bit more then a short comment on the subject and here’s the result.
Searching for Purpose
I definitely agree with many of Jay’s points. I feel too many people spend (should I dare say waste) time searching for what they wish to find as a life purpose and they ignore for years some obvious known life purpose at that time. Some people spend years of their lives searching for a life purpose.
I think they find many things that could be purposeful along this path, but they either refuse to accept it or simply want to find something that attracts them more. Often people are so connected with their material world, the same notions bleed into their soul searching so the status and glamor of their purpose is highly important to them. This ultimately leaves them searching, taking little action and ultimately feeling lost and inadequate from not being connected to something with meaning in their lives.
Living Your Purpose
The point that people are always searching for something that has some, “cool factor” is a massive roadblock to people taking action and simply living what they know best at that time. If you were asked, “What is your purpose?” and you have no response, I can assure you that is because you are thinking you have no response because you’ve trained yourself to wait for a purpose that you want. Well, what if you purpose is something that you don’t know yet, or really don’t want? Is that still a purpose? Do you decide your own purpose or is it something you find by searching? Is it something that is revealed through experience, through others, through God? How do you live your purpose if you don’t fully know what it is.
My suggestion is this. Instead of thinking that you don’t know your purpose, break the habit and develop a new belief that you will only find your true purpose by taking action on what you feel could be your purpose at this point in your life. Act on what you feel, don’t analyze it too much or criticize it, just explore. Stop and let yourself examine those feelings and desires.
- What are your strongest desires or feelings in your life right now?
- What action can you take right now to explore that further?
- With what you know right now, is it possible that this feeling ties to a purpose in your life?
- Would it hurt anyone to follow your gut with this and see where it leads?
- If this is your purpose, could you live it more fully right now?
This type of questioning can help you to explore new areas in safety by using just the imagination at first. Visualizing yourself take on new actions and living in a way driven more by purpose can enable you to avoid the seeking and start living for what you know at this point in time. It helps you open your mind to new possibilities of purpose and to discover new and more defined purpose than what you currently know. Getting out of that trap of trying to find a perfect, well defined purpose by living with what you know right now, will give you far more opportunities to know your life purpose, but to actually live it!
Purpose Does Change
I also believe you don’t have ONE set life purpose, your life purpose changes as does your life. No life is static, nor is any purpose. If you actually do something for what you feel in your gut at any point in your life instead of just thinking, dreaming, and hoping to discover something greater, then your life purpose will change as you do. It is something that grows with you and it is something you discover along your journey of life.
Purpose is connected deeply with your spiritual centers and most people seek out purpose to a point where they can find a morally accepted purpose. To me, this is driven entirely by your connection to God and your faith in that allows you to experience the joy of purpose, with hope for returns outside the worldly temporary things so many cherish in life. This is exactly why I think so many people struggle to find a purpose, they don’t have the faith or spiritual beliefs that let them connect to a moral purpose, separately from the material temptations.
So, I encourage you to let your heart and mind wander. If you follow your heart, believe in your ability to find happiness in purpose and accept the journey of discovery, it will lead directly to the purpose you have been seeking. Just make sure you get your mind out of your own way!
Prev: Avoiding Some Dangers of Goal Setting
Next: The Burden of the Self