Why Are You Here: Closing
We’re reached the 6th and final installment of this series on finding your purpose in life. Even though I had only planned it out in outline form before starting I’m happy with where we’ve ended up. Those last two articles took on a life of their own. All I can say is wow.
I always knew I wanted to end with a challenge and a warning of some likely pitfalls. It may not be as powerful as previous articles, but it might help explain why some of us haven’t been as successful in our endeavors as we thought we would be.
The first pitfall is extremely prevalent among teens and twenty-something’s who are faced with decisions about their future day after day. It is the desire to make money, regardless of profession. Many of you have already realized this, but for those who haven’t, “Making a lot of money” and “Becoming Rich” do not count as passions. Almost everybody would like to make more money; there is nothing about that statement that is unique to you. More importantly, there is nothing about that desire that has the direction setting power that a true passion contains.
Don’t feel bad about it. I remember saying it countless times as a young person. “Jonathan, you have a lot of potential, what do you want to do with your life?” My response was always, “It doesn’t matter to me, I just want to make a lot of money!” For some it’s an answer born out of a poverty mindset. When a person has experienced financial hardship at any age it is typical to view the future through a lens of poverty and focus in on the need for money rather how you want to spend your life. Another common reason for this kind of answer is a simple lack of self-awareness. In this situation it is a flippant cover up to the true answer of I don’t know. It is easier to default to saying what status you want to reach than it is to think about the true answer to the question.
However, you my friend have now had fair warning and should know better. I hope that you’ve taken the time to go through the steps that I’ve put in front of you in the previous articles. The sooner you break past the superficial thoughts that block the road into your heart the better. If you’ve been there once you’ll never look at the world the same again.
The next pitfall that I hear a lot is the belief that Family counts as a passion in your life. I probably just struck a nerve with some, so let me allow for some caveats before moving forward. Family is a perfectly acceptable and admirable passion for an aged matriarch or patriarch who wants to share everything they have left with their family. That’s exactly the way that you are supposed to feel when you’ve reached a certain point in your life. But, if you are a healthy person in the younger stages or prime of your life then I would caution you from considering family as a passion.
Don’t get the wrong impression; I don’t have anything against family. You should have a deep love and respect for your family and should be spending quality time with them to show this this. The thing is, that’s a given. That’s how we were designed. You would be an oddball if you didn’t think or behave in this manner. We were made for more than that. We were made to work, to accomplish things and to be gratified in those accomplishments.
If family is your passion, then your work actually takes you away from your passion instead of giving you a way to express it. That doesn’t make sense. Family is a wonderful reason for doing work, but it’s an unwieldy choice as the type of work that you would like to do. If you included this as a passion or focused on it as your primary passion then I would encourage you to scratch it off and work with the remainder of your list. I promise, it doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t mean you love your kids any less. It simply means that you will be more likely to find a rewarding purpose in your life that will expand your horizons and make you an even more positive role model for the family that you love so deeply.
Another trap to be aware of is the feeling that you’ve figured everything out, the danger of narrow-mindedness. Is it possible that you’re going to find your purpose, take action and live happily ever after? Sure. Is it likely? Nope. What’s much more likely is that you’ll figure out what’s perfect for you, and then find out in 3 years that something else is even better. And then, after 10 years of that, your direction changes again.
There are characters in books who are one dimensional. They are static and their thoughts and viewpoints don’t change throughout the book. Your life is not like that. None of us are static, we are all designed to learn and grow throughout our lives as we experience different things. As you change, your passions will change too. It’s even possibly that your talents will change over time. Don’t try to fight this. You want to embrace this and continue to challenge yourself to understand your purpose as you grow throughout your life.
I’ll end with a challenge. I’ve offered this challenge more than once during this series but I want to make it as clear as possible. Inactivity is your biggest enemy. It is hard to get off your butt and do something that doesn’t fit with your current routine. It’s even easier to do something once to soothe your conscience and then allow yourself to fall back into inactivity (dieting anyone?). The key to finding your purpose and living is action. It may seem like an impossible journey. Don’t be afraid, if you take the steps that you can take life will meet you halfway and reveal things that will help you on your journey.
There’s an old saying that the only person who fails is the person who doesn’t try. This isn’t quite true. There is another person who fails. It’s the other person who starts and then quits without giving their best effort. Your future is worth your best effort. Make your lists, use them and then step out and meet your future head on. It’s there for you. Take control of it and live the life you were meant to live.