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You can have a good laugh at the human condition if you really think about it. We're the only creatures on the planet that ask what the point of all this is. It’s generally not enough for us to have shelter, food, and reproduce. That satisfies all the other organisms on Earth, but not us.
So, like many people, I've spent countless hours pondering, “what’s the purpose of my life?”
Is there even such a thing as someone’s purpose? (As if there could be an answer that would be right or wrong.)
Well, one day I was sitting quietly having a little chat with the Universe.
Actually I was trying hard to not talk and to just listen. Why am I here? What’s my purpose? The question seems so complex, so deep, so meaningful.
I asked what my purpose was, and with real certainty I heard,
“Run, Play, and Have Fun.”
To be clear, I didn’t hear it with my ears the way you would hear another person in the room. I heard it in my heart. That is the best way I can describe it.
When I hear that small voice in my heart, I consider it, wisdom, Divine Intelligence, God (pick your favorite). I “hear” it as a feeling in my chest.
I imagine it’s how people sense telepathic communication, but I’ve never experienced that with another person. Just God.
Could it be that easy?
Could the purpose of life be to run, play, and have fun? It seems too simple. Life can seem so serious.
We get attached to things. We know that “we” are right and “they” are wrong. We start wars. We try to make things fit the picture that we think is best.
We go go go and do do do.
Honestly, I don’t know the answer.
It seems plausible to me that an all loving creator meant for us to run, play and have fun as our purpose. Could God experience fun through us?
To have the ability to ponder this question seems a luxury a lot of people don’t have.
Run, play, and have fun.
Maybe someday, a life focused solely on running, playing, and having fun will be possible, but society is pretty far from that today. But I digress.
I suppose for now we all have to do what we have to do to put shelter over our heads and food in our tummies.
It’s not up to me to tell you what your life’s purpose is, but I will tell you a few things that it’s not.
I doubt your life’s purpose is to be unhappy. Or to ignore the people you love. Or to worry non-stop about material things. Or to accumulate money at the cost of everything else.
At the same time, I doubt the purpose of my life is literally to do nothing but run, play, and have fun. That sounds pretty vapid and selfish.
I’ll blend the run, play, and have fun philosophy into the passion I have for helping people live rich and fulfilling lives.
Having balance and a sense of peace is at the core of my coaching programs and my writing. So, continue doing your thing. At the same time, find ways to put more fun into your days.
- Do something silly, be willing to laugh at yourself.
- Take up sports and hobbies just for the fun of it, be a little less serious.
- Watch a movie or read a book just because it makes you laugh.
- Create fun experiences for other people.
- Be friends with you inner child.
Do the work you need to do, but it sure wouldn’t hurt for us all to all run, play, and have fun just a bit more.
The truth is, your life doesn't have a single purpose anyway, so stop trying to figure it out.
Instead, your life has many purposes. Are you a prodigy or a savant? Me neither. That means your life does not have to have one single purpose, and you don’t have to discover it or have it revealed to you.
It’s easy to fall into existential angst thinking about the meaning of life. Why am I here? What's my purpose?
I’ve known people to get stuck and refuse to take on new opportunities because they were waiting to figure out their grand purpose before making any decisions. Books and seminars on success tell you you need to know your purpose if you’re really going to build the life of your dreams.
I discovered something that works much better for me.
Mini-purposes. Most of us wear a lot of hats.
Student, Business Owner, Parent, Spouse, Writer, to name only a few.
I have a different purpose for each hat I wear. My purpose as a parent or as a spouse isn't the same as my purpose as a business owner.
I find it an easier task to define the purpose for each of my different roles.
Each segment of my life can have a mini-purpose.
My purpose as a writer is to share knowledge and expertise I’ve developed over decades to help improve the lives of others. Hopefully in a way that makes people feel good.
My purpose as a business owner is to make decisions that move the business toward gradual growth while receiving a fair compensation for the work I do.
The more your mini-purposes can interconnect and support each other, the more harmony and satisfaction you are going to have in your life.
Ideally the many mini-purposes compliment each other.
If you find a conflict, find a way to make them meet. Find a way to feed one without excluding the other. I had to do this when I worked while my children were still young. I often felt torn between my time at home and my time at work.
Your mini-purposes are going to eliminate doubt from your life. When you hold up each opportunity and decision to your mini-purpose, it’s like having a meter that gives you an answer.
I get easily distracted by things that sound exciting. I want to say yes to them all! I can ask myself,
“Does this serve the purpose of why I write?” or “Does this serve the purpose of who I want to be as a parent?”
The answer is going to be yes or no. Say yes to things that support your purpose. Say no to things that don’t align with your purpose. Those things are only going to lead to frustration and derail your goals.
Do you see how you can remain grounded and certain in your choices because you made your decisions based on whether or not they supported your purpose?
Times Change, Your purpose might too.
The things that motivate me today are different from what motivated me years ago. When my kids were young, I chose to weigh my purpose as a parent more heavily than my purpose as a business owner.
My life looks completely different today, and my purposes have kept up with the changes. The key is to get clear on the purposes that support the different pillars in your life.
The pillars shift over time, so occasionally examine your purposes and see if you want to modify them.
There is no right or wrong, you get to choose.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your purpose has to be a certain thing because it’s what’s expected of you. Society, religion, family traditions and expectations…they all heavily influence what we think we have to do and how we think we need to act.
It just doesn’t add up if you're trying to live up to a purpose that belongs to someone else. There’s no flow.
Success depends on you getting honest and clear on who you are and why you do what you do in each of the areas of your life.
When you know the purpose behind what you do, and your actions align with this purpose, you are unstoppable. Work is inspired and invigorating. You have more inner peace because you aren’t trying to operate in a state of conflict. You're confident and not easily swayed because you got where you are with certainty.
It’s time to ask yourself.
What's my purpose for…?
Ask this question for each segment of you life. Pause before you act. Ask yourself if your next step is going to take you closer to your purpose or move you farther from it.
Let that be your guide.