[Note: This is the 3rd article in the series How to Make Your Dreams a Reality.]
Growing up, I spent a lot of time thinking about the purpose of life. In church they would tell you the purpose is to go to heaven and to be a good person. “Why?” I always thought. There’s no question that being a good person is essential for living a fulfilling life. But what’s the point? Why do anything at all?
Why is a meaningless question. The reason being, why always leads us in an infinite loop. You can always repeat the answer to “why” with another “why.” The only time the question really ends is when you answer “because it’s fun” or “because I enjoy it.”
This took me a while to accept, but the purpose of life is to enjoy it. If you’re trying to find the purpose of life, by looking for something outside of life, you’re never going to find an answer. That’s because the purpose of life is life.
That doesn’t help you much, does it? We all want a larger purpose, something to give our lives meaning when everything seems meaningless.
The truth is, life doesn’t have a purpose. That’s hard to swallow. When I realized this, I felt lost. I felt confused and I felt like giving up.
What I failed to realize is that life doesn’t have a purpose because of free will. There is no purpose forced on you. You can choose to have a purpose, or to not have a purpose, but life isn’t going to give you one. You don’t need to let this bother you though. The only reason you need for having a purpose is because you want one.
The only question you need to answer now, is do you want a purpose or do you not want one? As soon as you figure that out, let me know. I’ll wait.
I’m assuming that if you’re still reading, your answer was yes. That’s good, because not having a purpose isn’t very fun. At least not for me.
Now that we have that sorted out, we need to understand one crucial thing that drives people to insanity and causes them to spend their lives in the confines of a cubicle.
And that is:
Your purpose is not your job
Yes, that’s right. Your purpose has nothing to do with your degree, your resume, your career, or vocation. Your purpose is independent of all those things. In fact, it’s much bigger than any of those.
Purpose has to do with your creative self expression. It has to do with what makes you feel alive. It’s something you do, where at the end of the day you think “I made a difference.”
Now, if you want to find out what that is, take a minute to do a little exercise that I originally found here.
- Take out a blank sheet of paper or open word, notepad or textedit. Whatever works best for you.
- Now write at the top “What is my true purpose in life?”
- Write everything that comes to mind. Don’t think about it too much, just write.
- Keep writing until you write something that makes you cry. That is your purpose.
When you come up with your final answer, you will know it. It won’t be something you’ve decided logically, you will simply know it in your heart.
If you find this exercise to not be structured enough, change the question to “How would I want to be remembered when I die?”
After you’ve discovered your purpose, your job is to live as closely in alignment with it as possible. The more you live in alignment with your purpose or your bliss, the more you will deeply enjoy your life.
Now remember when I said that your “job” is not your purpose? Well, it’s half-true. Your career can be a medium for the expression of your purpose. If your purpose is to help others live in truth and express your inner creativity, you’re probably not going to be able to do that very well working as an file-clerk for a company that is greedy and self-serving. You can live partially in alignment with your purpose this way, trying to help others and going against the morals or your employer, but you’re still ultimately assisting corporate greed.
You’ll probably find living in complete harmony with your purpose isn’t easy. It might take you a year, or a few years before you find a medium (a career path) that best serves the expression of your purpose. If you can’t find a job out there that does that, you might have to create one (like I’m doing here, through this blog).
So how do you move more in alignment with your purpose? How do you take your purpose and your dreams and make them a reality? That will be the next article in the series. See you next week!
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