Have you ever asked yourself that question? Maybe you are asking it right now. Perhaps you have always had this niggling feeling that you are ‘meant’ to be doing something else. Or maybe you always knew what you wanted to do, like Jane and Esther. If you don’t know who Jane and Esther are – you clearly haven’t been reading my blogs ….I’m really hurt.. ok so maybe you have been busy. No problem, you can read here about What To DO With My Life.
‘What is the purpose of life’ – that is a question every great philosopher has tackled and every spiritual leader has their own take on. Guru’s spend years sitting in a desert or meditating under a tree to find the answer to this question. Well I am no Indian Fakir, however, it seems very simple to me.
Before I explain that one more, let’s first have a look at how you would know that you are not living your purpose – or another way to put it is – you are not living your life on purpose. If you have ever felt like the list below then you are not living your life on purpose and have not found your purpose.
- You don’t wake up excited in the mornings. You wake up, realise it is a work day and think – ‘oh crap’. Or you wake up realise it is weekend and think ‘great I can stay in bed’.
- You hear yourself nagging, criticising or complaining a lot. And that could be because you are spending too much time with people who nag, bitch and complain.
- You feel like there is something missing – even though you ‘have it all’ (kids, nice house, career etc.). And therefore you feel you are being ungrateful to feel unfulfilled so you beat yourself up about that too.
- You are counting the days till your next holiday. You SO need to change what you are doing right now. You should look forward to your next holiday but not put life on hold till you get there.
- You think you will be happy once you have got the promotion/moved house/had the baby/gone back to work after having the baby/gone on holiday/bought the next Louboutin shoes. You equate happiness with external things. Happiness cannot be found outside of yourself.
So – how do you find your purpose?
Well not by staying where you are right now! And that could be in your “comfort zone’. You have to love the irony of those words right! If you’re unhappy, your comfort zone is not the place to stay, that’s for sure. And you see, it’s not your fault. Our system (education, economics, politics) is set up for maximum efficiency for the bigger organism. We are bred to comply, to not rock the boat, to make no waves. And in addition to that, your inner voice is there to protect you, and protecting you involves not letting you do anything risky or scary.
Well, that’s fine if what you were contemplating was jumping across a 20-foot gap over a very long drop carrying a large heavy bag. However, if it is – changing job, getting up and speaking on stage, or saying ‘No’ to everybody else’s demands – then you need to ignore that inner voice. Because doing those things will not kill you. In fact, the more you do things which feel slightly scary or uncomfortable, the bigger your “experience zone” gets and the happier you are to try something else next time.
And it is only by trying new and different things that you can know if they are right for you or not.
The other thing, in my opinion, that education has totally wrong – is it tries to get you to do things you are not naturally very good at. It tries to get you up to a ‘standard’ in all sorts of different things, which may or may not be of any use to you at all in life, ( I mean seriously when was the last time you used a quadratic equation or recited a piece of Shakespeare?). And by doing so it teaches the lesson – focus on your weaknesses. Try harder. Work longer and harder until you CAN do those things that you find difficult or boring or a waste of time, or things that are totally useless in everyday life.
WHAT THE HELL USE IS THAT? And YES – I AM SHOUTING.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The only way that people excel is to focus on their strengths. Why waste 4 hours trying to wire a plug when someone else can do it in 4 minutes? (or in my case – Why clean the house or do the ironing when Lindsay, Chris & Jacquie love doing these tasks?). Why spend weeks trying to read The Lord of the Rings (believe me I tried many years ago), when you can watch the film in 3 hours. Why take up going to the gym when you hate that, but love walking in the countryside or dancing?
Why do we do shit that we don’t like? Because that’s what we were taught to do by our education system. Did Richard Branson learn how to drive a train before buying a train company? Did he learn how to fly a jumbo jet before buying an airline. NOOOOOO. His skills lie in other areas, and he sticks to them and hires people to do the bits he can’t.
Now – you may not be in a position to hire someone to do the bits you can’t in your business YET – or if you don’t have a business – you may not be able to hire someone to do bits of your job, but there are ways round everything. What you must do – is spend more time doing the stuff you LOVE and are uniquely qualified to do.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am not saying don’t bother trying to learn something you find hard. My friend married a Frenchman and she found languages hard, but she learnt French – because she WANTED to. And that’s the difference. Learning and doing stuff that is hard for you, can also be very good for you – but ONLY if you want to do it, you have a big enough reason for doing it and you are doing it for you.
But don’t do shit that OTHER people think you should do – or worse – things that you THINK other people think you should do. That’s just a road to unhappiness.
Because – it is very simple you see. The purpose of life is to find YOUR GIFT, and then share it with others. And you don’t find your gift, by doing stuff you hate.
If you need some help identifying what your gift is – we have some free tools that will help you with that. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘find my gift’ in the subject line and I will send your something that will blow your mind.
Meanwhile, why not join some WHYs Women and Men in the Live, Love, Laugh Lounge or the Man Cave and share your experiences of Finding Your Why. And remember to live, love and laugh every day and continue to be you in your own unique way!