As a human, you have the privilege of knowing that you exist. We know that we live and we know that we are going to die. This responsibility leaves us often reflecting on decisions, motives, and outcomes. Among those questions you ask yourself, one will undoubtedly be the purpose of life. The purpose of life varies depending on culture, religion, country of origin, and your own personal life experiences.
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The purpose of life is complex, yet simple
There will be those who define the purpose of life as the ability to amass wealth. They see success having to do with wealth and the joys associated with it. As they amass more stuff, they feel more successful and significant. On the other end, there are those who believe there is a creator and the human experience is aligned with God’s divine purpose. In the middle is the belief that the purpose of life is to leave the world better than when you found it. This could be accomplished by positively impacting your family and friends. Yet, it could also be a global impact on a grand scale.
You can recognize the complexity of the purpose of life as I only touched some of the most commonly accepted meanings. This makes sense because you are a complex person yourself. Your desires and passions shift throughout your life experiences. That is why it is more accurate to think of your purpose as a set of spinning plates. Your goal is to keep each of plates spinning at the same time, without letting any of them fall.
Your purpose in life
The first place to start searching for the purpose of life is in your past life experiences. What experiences have you had in the past when you felt most confident, happy, or fulfilled? It could have been an educational accomplishment like graduating from high school or college. There may be a time when you donated or helped someone anonymously and you felt great satisfaction. The purpose of life for you could be tied to your children and your ability to be there for them and to help them to become successful, upstanding citizens. There could also be those small events where you wrote a thank you note, held the door for someone, or volunteered at the local shelter. As you are gathering these events, you may realize these events seem unimportant in the moment, but as you compile them together, you realize they are significant.
Don’t let someone shame you out of your purpose
There was a preacher at a congregation I attended that told everyone the only purpose of life was to spread the gospel. While I can appreciate his message, it is missing the mark. Sure, there should be a priority list and some things on your list are going to have an impact on hundreds of people, while other things will only impact a couple. The amount and length of the impact will differ from giving someone a meal to helping someone land a job. However, these differences don’t make one more important than the other.
In fact, if everyone followed the preacher’s suggestion, then you would all quit your jobs and work in the church full-time. The problem with that plan is there is no one to pay the salary of the church leadership. It is the donations from the people in the congregation who generate income outside of the church that donate money for the work of the church. It is a reminder that you are to work as though you are working for the Lord and not for man.
Everyone is not going to like it
Don’t allow yourself to get caught up attempting to satisfy the few people who will never come around. You end up creating a prison for yourself trying to get everyone to like you. Think about it, what have to change about your purpose of life to get certain people to accept what you are doing is going to cost you your purpose. Your purpose will be so vague and non-offensive that no one will be offended because your message is lost. Some people should be bothered by your purpose in life. Not in the sense that you are personally hindering someone else’s growth, but in the sense that you cannot make everyone happy. The moment that you try, you are going to lose a piece of yourself in the process.
It’s a them problem
When someone is rejecting your purpose of life, they are not rejecting you, but themselves. They do not like what your aspirations says about their life. Therefore, they are saying no to themselves more than they are saying no to you. In the case of the preacher, he had let some of his spinning plates break over the years. Now he is telling others that they cannot be focused on anything but spreading the gospel. This was a rule he created to help him cope with the results of his life. If you spend time attempting to convert him to your viewpoint, you can image how difficult it will be. Not because he has an issue with your purpose of life involving more than faith, but because his life doesn’t.
When you complete your list that outlines your moments of fulfillment, you may want to share your list with others. I encourage it, but be prepared to experience some push back from skeptics. My warning you is not to discourage you, but to make sure you don’t change direction when others doubt you. Remember, 70% of people are living a life that leaves them unhappy. This means that normal is dreading Monday and being excited about Friday. Therefore, if you are attempting to live a life where you are excited every day of the week, it is going to throw people off.
Stop worrying about the next person
If you are focused on receiving the acceptance of others, you will miss your purpose in life. This habits stems from when you were a child and you had a strong investment into whether your parents were happy with choices. They provided you food, shelter, and clothing so you really wanted to makes sure you stayed on their good side. As you got older, this habit translated into other professional and personal relationships. However, the biggest difference between making your parents happy (when you were young) and making someone happy as an adult is your parents had your best interests in mind.
For example, if your children completed their homework so they could go out with their friends, it is in your child’s best interest to have their homework completed. The curfew you gave them was because you wanted them to come home before problems could occur. When you become an adult, listening to what other people expect of you has little to do with your personal best interests. It is more about how they can use you to help them accomplish their goals. If it helps you in the process, they are cool with that, but if it hurts you in the process, they are hurt by that.
Your purpose of life benefits the whole
There are some who are not following the voice of their inner drum beat of happiness, but their voice of fear and self-doubt. Your inner drum beat is interested in finding ways to accomplish your purpose of life that benefits everyone. Fear that teaches you to take desperate measures to accomplish your goals because “that is the only way to ensure success”.
Hate groups are a good example of people who believe they are fulfilling their purpose, but what they are really doing is succumbing to their fears. Fear tells you, if you don’t stop someone else’s progress, you are going to suffer. This thought process is also where corruption, violence, and greed manifest. There are enough resources in the world that everyone can fulfill their purpose without needing to sell their soul. And as I often say, what benefit is it to gain the whole world if you lose your soul?
When attempting to figure out what your purpose of life is, listen to the voice that is telling you how to leave the world a better place. The application is where people get lost in this. Some believe dictatorship, war, and persecution are the only way to ensure they can stay in power and help others. If you are building the daily process and following the achojah lifestyle of rising to the challenge, you will succeed… the right way!
You can work on spinning as many plates as you desire to fulfill your purpose of life. Don’t allow anyone else to impose their limiting beliefs on you and tell you otherwise. Keep in mind that your purpose in life will adjust as your life experiences change. There are going to be things that mattered to you at one time that don’t matter to you anymore. You may realize being a parent changes your priorities. Others will change their change your profession based on something happening to someone you care about. Your goal is to be flexible and constantly listen to your inner voice.
Until next time,
Dre “Better Self, Better Wealth” Griggs