By Brian Dean
Something motivates you to get up each day. That something says a good deal about your current central purpose in life. If you eventually get out of bed because you donāt want to be sacked from your job, then your purpose has to do with money and security. If you get up because of what people might think if you didnāt, then you are motivated by a fear of disapproval.
A personās life is already an expression of their purpose, whether this purpose operates consciously or subconsciously. If you are driven by a purpose youāre not conscious of, then itās likely to have roots in fear. Motivation of this kind is usually conditioned into us, whether we like it or not.
Some people donāt believe in purpose ā ājust get on with lifeā, ātake things as they comeā ā these are common phrases, yet they are also clear descriptions of purpose masquerading as lack of purpose. The unspoken purpose here is continued physical survival. Basic survival and social conformity are common motivations, but why limit yourself to mundane, inferior soap-opera scenarios when you can reach for the stars?
You donāt need permission to decide your own purpose. No boss, teacher, parent, priest or other authority can decide this for you. Purpose has nothing to do with sacrifice, getting approval, being āselflessā or conforming to somebody elseās idea of the correct way to live. It doesnāt mean giving up something you like for something more āworthyā. Your purpose is derived from what you most value. It pays, therefore, to resolve conflicting values so that you avoid being a slave to someone elseās purpose.
Purpose is not achievement. For example, achievement can mean being successful at a job you donāt want, to enable you to afford an expensive car you donāt need, in order to impress a girlfriend you donāt like… A purpose is something you express continually in order to bring you pleasure, not a list of things you have to achieve.
This technique allows you to identify your purpose by bypassing the conditioned thought associations relating to āpermissionā and ādisapprovalā syndromes:
1. Identify what you like about yourself.
2. Identify how you most like spending your time.
3. Imagine your idea of a perfect world.
Your purpose is what links these three things together. In other words, it is the way you can use your favorite characteristics, abilities and attributes in activities you like best, to manifest your vision of a perfect world. Donāt be deceived by the simplicity of this technique.
Acknowledgement: We highly recommend the book Vivation by Jim Leonard and Phil Laut for further exploring these ideas.
āI would like to have been a doctor, so I could have served people betterā
āCary Grant (paraphrased), in ironic mood.
āHowever unhappy a person may be, the moment he knows the purpose of his life a switch is turned and the light is on… If he has to strive after that purpose all his life, he does not mind so long as he knows what the purpose is.
āTen such people have much greater power than a thousand people working from morning till evening not knowing the purpose of their life.ā
ā H.I. Khan
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