In the previous article, Life is About Creating Yourself we discussed the differences between finding yourself and creating yourself. Both are ways to ultimately answer the following questions. Why am I here and what is my purpose?
Each of us have to answer those questions.
We are not on this planet to simply occupy time and space. We are not here merely to consume food, water, and oxygen. We are not here only to have fun and seek happiness. We are not here for ourselves. Our gifts are not for us, either. We and our gifts are here for others.
Everything is created for a reason. We are no different.
None of us are here by mistake – even those who are the result of an unplanned pregnancy. There are no accidental fetuses or babies, just accidental parents.
And, if we are not here by mistake then we each are here for a reason. We each have to discover that reason then create ourselves to fulfill it.
Each of our individual purposes share common goals. Among them are these. We are here to make a difference. But not just a any difference. We are here to make a positive difference. In some way, our short presence on earth should alter the planet for the better is some measurable way.
We are here to develop our gifts and talents to the fullest to help improve the lives others. Therefore, whatever your purpose may be will be rooted in that objective.
And, we are here to bring out the best in others especially this those are close to us. And, those close to us should bring out the best in us as well. If that is not happening then one has to question the integrity, value, and purpose of the relationship. Our closet relationships should facilitate our ability to serve our purpose – not get in the way of it.
You Are Unique
Have you ever stopped and realized there is not another person with your exact makeup? No one else shares the composite of the same genetics, the same experiences, the same desires and passions, the same personality and temperent, and the same talents and gifts, and so on? Not even identical twins share the same of everything. It is in analyzing all of that that you might discover your purpose and how you are to fulfill it. Your purpose is likely different than someone with similar gifts but different experiences, or someone with similar experiences but different interests.
The world does not need two of the same type of person doing the same thing the same way.
How do your attributes different from others? What excites you? Where is your potential? What are your current competencies? Where do see a need that requires filling?
Look at all your experiences – good and bad – how do they separate or differentiate you from others and how can you use those experiences to help others? Some who have had financial and substance abuse problems have used their experiences to help others with the same problems, for instance.
More importantly seek a higher opinion on your purpose. Since God created you it is wise to ask Him through prayer to provide insight into your purpose as He assuredly had something in mind for you. I doubt you will get an answer overnight, though. So keep asking and keep praying.
Our main purpose, though, is to love God, and hear this. Our other main purpose is to let God love us. Many of us don’t let God simply love us. If we truly understood how deep, wide, long, and high His love is for each of us we would be are far less anxious and would worry less. We would be more at peace. Less restless. More confident. We would not fear failure – maybe the biggest obstacle preventing people from reaching their full potential. We would always know that we always have some one by our side.
Our individual purposes are a means to that end by fulfilling that purpose for which we were each created. We demonstrate that love in part by doing what He is asking us and leading us to do.
Struggling to Discover Your Purpose?
Some people discover their purpose in life early, but many struggle and only stumble upon their purpose after many years.
Earl Nightengale (1921-89), one of the first radio personalities and author of The Strangest Secret (1956) considered to be one of the great motivational books, said there are largely two groups of successful people. The first group he call the “river people”. These are the ones who very early in life found a river of interest and into that river they immerse themselves. They are the ones who are meant to do one thing and one thing only. And, they know it and they know it early in life. These individuals are in the minority.
In the other group we find the goal-oriented person . They do not have a particular river of interest – at least initially. They typically find happiness doing many different things. They set a goal. Achieve it. Then set another goal. Achieve it and move on to the next goal.
But, with each goal and achievement that person gets closer to their intended purpose – the real reason they were put here. All the prior achievements enabled them to develop skills that they would subsequently need in the future when their purpose becomes known or revealed.
Many people struggle to discover their one true purpose. Just look at the Bible. Many key individuals in the Bible were well into middle-age when they discovered and/or fulfilled their purpose. Even Jesus was 30 when he started to fulfill His purpose, though he must have known his purpose much sooner. Abraham was pushing 100 years old when his purpose was revealed.
So if you struggle to know your purpose you are not alone. But, just start somewhere and do something. Eventually you’ll live your way to the answer. The answer is not going to happen simply thinking about it. You have to pray and then listen to God’s answer for you. And, while you are listening start moving in some direction. Get busy moving or taking actions. You have to live your way to your purpose. You have to take action of some kind first. God moves after He sees you move.
You may be in your middle years and still may not know your purpose. This may lead to disappointment in yourself. You may feel your life has been wasted to this point. Don’t let that discourage you. Chances are all those prior experiences were necessary to eventually prepare you for the purpose God had in mind when he created you. Sometimes God has to work on you to get you where you need to be before He starts answering your prayers.
Success and Purpose
Success and purpose are not necessarily related. So be careful not to fall lint the trap that they are.
Being successful at some career doesn’t mean your purpose is embedded or related to that vocation. And, success is not a means to a truly satisfying life. I had patient involved in the oil industry. He was 35 years old. Here’s what he said. “My accountant tells me I am worth $25 million but I am still unhappy and unsatisfied.”
River Person Versus Goal-Oriented
My wife is a river person. She was put her to teach reading to students and to teach teachers how to teach reading, and she is exceptional at it. She fell in love with books at a young age. She has few interests outside of that – reading and teaching reading consumes most of her day – and she loves it. She would perform her craft for free – and at times has. It is her mission and ministry.
I’m goal oriented. There is that old saying about an expert. An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing. I like being a jack of all trades (apparently consistent with my Gemini Zodiac sign) and joke that I want to know less and less about more and more until I at least know something about everything. Though in reality I prefer to know much about much. And, each piece of knowledge and experience I’ve gained from each endeavor has taken me closer to my purpose.
Your purpose is not necessarily rooted in your career or profession, either. See Success and Purpose above. My dad worked for the phone company but his purpose was to develop boys and young men through coaching baseball, for instance (see Living Life to its Fullest: Lessons from Dad). Whatever your purpose it will:
- be rooted in what gives you great pleasure.
- will be something you do with a flare or style no one else can match, and.
- it will benefit others.
You must own your purpose. You must fulfill your purpose by being you – not someone else. Joe Cocker was a master at taking other artists’ songs and “owning them” so much so that we frequently think of him as the orginal artist. He made no attempt to sing the songs like the original artists. He was simply himself and put his personal and indelible mark on those songs. You need to do the same.
Put your stamp on the world! Let the world know you were here!
Be yourself and be the best you at being you. There is no else like you!
The Strangest Secret
For those who may be interested here is an audio version of the The Strangest Secret. At seven minutes he begins talking about the “strangest secret”.