Do you know why you are on the planet?
Many of us believe that someone else has the answer to the call of our life. “Just tell me what I’m supposed to do with my life!” we claim.
While it’s true that a good mentor can give us valuable course corrections, and remind us to stay true to ourselves and our path, ultimately, finding and living our life purpose is up to us. We have to be the one to uncover and discover what we are here to do.
Even still, psychics and woo woo healers will claim to know your life purpose. To want them to give you the answer is human. Believe me, I have looked to someone else to tell me what I should do with my life many times over.
There are many web sites and businesses built upon helping you discover your life purpose. But it all boils down to 2 main things:
- Know yourself deeply
- know what you want
The more you know yourself, the more you are able to articulate what you want in life and out of that comes discovering your purpose.
So, if it’s true that you just need more self-knowledge to discover your purpose, then save yourself a lot of time and money, and, as I keep saying over and over on this website, go inward. Be willing to make the deep dive and your purpose will emerge, but not in the way you think.
The River Of Your Life
Let’s use a metaphor of a giant, wide, river.
If you stay in the river of your life, you are likely to be on purpose and you may not even know it. The more you stay in the big wide river, which represents your following your heart or following your truth, then you are on target.
For example, if all you know is that you want to help others, then that is your river. The finer details will come in terms of with whom, where, what and how.
Now, if you don’t stay in the river of helping others, and you listen instead to your parents, culture or friends, the more you will get diverted along the path of their river and you will get lost taking side tributaries. You might get distracted by the allure of money, fame, power, a woman.
This is common–to veer off your path for a while. But then, remember to come back to the big river of what you want.
If you commit to staying in your river, not someone else’s, the narrower the river will become until it’s like a surging mountain torrent or waterfall. When this happens, you feel alive, invigorated and full of energy to give to your purpose or cause.
Notice how I didn’t use the metaphor of reaching the summit of the highest peak. Men often think that one day, they will find their purpose, as if it’s a summit, and then everything will be okay. My own experience suggests otherwise.
A few important points about purpose.
- You have to be willing to know yourself deeply and know what it is you want. Not what your ego wants!
- Most spiritual teachers and traditions agree that a meaningful life purpose is always about helping others.
- David Deida likes to say that if you don’t know your purpose, your purpose ought to be finding your purpose.
If you are unclear about your purpose, here are some fun exercises:
1. Finding your life’s purpose in 20 minutes. This comes from personal development wizard Steve Pavlina. Check it out.
2. What do you want? Stemming off of what Steve suggests, take out a sheet of paper and write “What do I want?” at the top. Now, write “I want…” and fill in the blank over and over. Remember not knowing what you want becomes an excuse to continue putting off your life and discovering what you are here to do.
3. Now brainstorm this question from Deepak Chopra. “If you had all the money and all the time in the world what would you do?”
4. If you go the “woo woo” route, use palm readers, psychics, shamans and plant medicine with great care. Don’t go in like I did expecting to be hit over the head with “the answer.” Remember, your purpose is likely to unfold over many years and will change many times. Remember to stay in a common theme (the big river).
So remember, finding your purpose in life is about discovering who you are and what you want, plain and simple.