“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many people go their entire lives without finding their purpose. They work jobs that they hated; they stayed in relationships that brought them unhappiness; and they never followed their dreams or took a leap of faith that could have forced some change into their lives. Without purpose, as humans, our minds run rampant, feverishly trying to find things, styles, trends, and other people that help us to feel “something.” It’s part of our social nature – we want to contribute, and we want to be part of a community.
If finding your purpose was easy, it wouldn’t be a time old question and dilemma for so many people in our world. I’m going to look further at the concept of finding your purpose, as well as its inevitability. Every single person on this planet has their own spark. It’s just a matter of having the support, gumption, and drive to light that fire.
Living in Our Closed Shells
It has been proven in countless studies that humans prefer predictability to non-predictability. We like cyclical predictive behavior and occurrences that we can count on. This is when we are our most comfortable. Therefore, venturing off course with no certainty is something that can scare people to death. This fear prevents us from wading into the waters of purpose and tasting what the world could be offering us.
We end up in our closed shells, away from the different; away from the daring; and away from the “dangerous.” These shells don’t bring us happiness – they certainly don’t challenge us to do better, and be better. But they are comfortable. They are predictable. They are something we know how to do well. For many people, they then ask themselves “why would I leave this shell?” People want to stay in their safety nets.
How many times on your life have you missed out on destiny, because you settled for normalcy? For all too many of us, we’re nodding our heads in agreement right now.
A System Rigged Against Individuality
The problem is that most of us don’t know what we want. We haven’t been given the time and space to identify this purpose. It lurks in the backs of our minds. It’s not something we were taught in school. Instead, we were taught to follow the pack and conform in a way that is beneficial to the ingrained systems.
It’s a confusing conformation considering we grew up reading fairytales, idolizing people like Anne Frank, Michael Jordan, Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah, and so forth. These people changed the world for the better; their legacy is solidified for all of time. They are these superhero beings born with gifts that you and I could never have – right?
Wrong. I disagree wholeheartedly. These people knew how to find their purpose and run with it. They had a vision, and they put this vision out in front of them. They let this vision carry them forward. They created a life of meaning and value in a tangible way. They were born with the same odds as you were – they’ve made the CHOICE to make purpose their mission.
Finding Your Spark
You have a spark. You have a magic inside of you – your personal purpose. You have a gift that only YOU can provide the world. You have a way of solving a problem that only you can solve. When you refuse to share that gift, the world misses out on a solution that was only built inside of you.
The only way for you to feel fulfilled is if you complete the task the universe instilled inside of you. What have the purpose-driven people in our world demonstrated about finding this spark? Here are our 3 takeaways:
1. Find What You Love:
What do you love to do? What are your innate passions? Is it programming computers? Is it painting? Whatever it is, identify what it is that brings you joy. Just because it’s not “corporate,” doesn’t mean it’s not legitimate. You have passions for a reason.
2. Put it Before Everything Else
All of the people we identified above did one thing differently than the rest – they put this vision ahead of everything else. They made it their every single day. They worked for it in a way that no one else imagined. After years of this kind of dedication, they rose above the packs, rooted right in their purpose.
3. Listen to the Critics, and Then Do It Anyway
People are going to come at you with criticism if you are pursuing a passion with immense ferocity. This means you’re doing something right. Listen to the critics, but then do what you love to do anyway. What are you going to reflect on the day you die? That you lived a life of a passion, or that you lived a life of conformity?