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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day 688: What is Your Purpose?

This is a world with little purpose. While greed and desires abound, true purpose is hard to find. Most people are just trying to stay alive, keep their families safe, keep their jobs, have enough money to buy food, clothes and a place to stay. Purpose is often the furthest thing on their mind. Some people have dedicated themselves to living a particular thing(s), like a principle or ideal. Some people have dedicated themselves to reaching certain goals, like becoming wealthy.

Let me begin with a question: What is purpose?

The dictionary definition is: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.


Pretty straight-forward. The problem is that humans were not given a purpose, we aren't born with instruction manuals that describe how to make proper use of our lives. Some turn to religion, others to self fulfillment - these are just 2 ways in which people try to find meaning. Maybe that is part of the problem: that everyone is looking for meaning / purpose "out there", waiting for something to happen to them r waiting for something to show them the way.

I propose that purpose is something that you must give to yourself - something that you must actually create. This means deciding what you want to do with your life and then actually doing it in every moment that you have. This doesn't mean that you have to quit your job in order to dedicate as much time as possible to pursuing your purpose - often you can have a job and still live your purpose. You also can't leave your family to go off and fulfill your purpose absent encumbrance of familial responsibility.

Living your purpose would have to be something you can do while still living your life like taking care of your family or making enough money to live comfortably. I propose that purpose need not be an exclusive life choice - meaning that you don't have to give anything up to live your purpose. You can work your purpose into your every day life a lot of the time.

Having said that - what exactly would purpose then be? The more I look at it, the more it seems to always go back to principle. Every single thing that you could develop as your purpose comes back to some principle. For example, promoting a message or a group can be traced back to the principles that the message or group promotes that you agree with and want to live and see in the world; or choosing a career path can be traced back to the principles that you see as being valuable within that career, or even the principles you would like to further nurture in that particular industry; even making a lot of money can be traced back to the principle of self fulfillment (which is more like an ideal than a principle, but for the purpose of this post it is acceptable).

So now it becomes about what principles you want to live and stand by in this world - what principle(s) do you want to live as an example of? What do you want to be representative of to every person who meets you? Once you know what principle(s) you want to live you need to decide how you can live it. Sometimes it's as simple as changing your behaviour in order to become a living example of compassion and sharing, other times it may lead you to obtain further education in order to follow a particular career path. Often there will be particular points that you have faced in your life that give you certain skills or experience that could be used toward creating purpose - especially the particularly difficult things that you have walked through. Your experience can become the pillars for creating a structure of support for others (for example).

What is important to remember is that real purpose is not about "want" - yes, there is a degree of enjoyment in giving yourself purpose, but when considering the state of the world today, it becomes apparent that purpose should improve our collective lives until such a time that all life is cared for and given the space and opportunity to live comfortably - in this setting we could shift more to self fulfillment (but not entirely because then we'd end up right back here again). So purpose becomes more of a practical choice than a fulfillment of a personal desire. You consider what is needed in the world and where your skills, knowledge and experience give you the ability to contribute to improvement.

What is your purpose? What purpose will you create for yourself and so give to the world?

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