The purpose of life is a life of purpose. —The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
I never had any purpose. I had dreams, sure, but I never thought of the possibility of them becoming reality. I failed to take the hint from countless novels I’ve buried my nose in over the years that dreams are the basis of reality in most cases. The stories that lived across the pages bound in books were to me merely stories that usually provide emotional relief. Did I miss the whole point then?
My voyage across teenage years through stormy seas was without direction or destination. For some time it did not bother me as I thought that it was better to go with the flow, as they say. However, I have come to learnt that life is not worth living without the search for something.
I had had enough of aimless wanderings only to encounter and subsequently battle whirlpools one after another. Why I am going along this treacherous path when I could traverse along calmer waters more frequently? What if I set anchor at an island instead?
So like a sailor repairing damaged parts of a boat, I did a self-examination on my damaged soul. And that is key to figuring out what your life purpose is, as no one else knows yourself better than you do.
Having established the fact that I needed to cultivate more positive thoughts, I began thinking of what positive outcome I wish to contribute. And I knew that I could only contribute through doing the things that I am excited or passionate about. Whatever you feel does reflect on your actions. Moreover, I wanted to make sure that my lifework would actually bring fulfilment. So I took some time to write down what I would like to do based on my experiences, strengths, and desires.
The book emphasises on setting defined personal, professional and spiritual goals, and act upon them thereafter. Writing down the goals is the easy part but acting upon them is rather challenging. The ‘society’ or the ‘environment’ seems to be the huge obstacle that many claim to be the main cause of unfulfilled ambitions. To some extent this might be true, but really it is mostly just an excuse to not wanting to overcome the precious barrier that you have set up within yourself—the barrier that keeps you away from the daunting but maybe rewarding unknown, and instead buries you deeper into the comfort pit.
There are of course ways to overcome this problem and actually reach for your goals. The book outlined the 5-step method:
- Form a clear mental image of the outcome
- I find this very helpful as the thought of my achieving something excites me. I know that this method is effective because I had done it before when I was 12 and wanted to ace a public examination so badly. The result of course was the manifestation of my everyday imagination.
- Get positive pressure
- The right amount of pressure can be productive, especially positive pressure. I think the way this works best for me is to first understand why I am doing what I’m doing and constantly remind myself of it along with the mental image especially when the going gets tough. What may work as well is to associate yourself with like-minded people who would give you a nudge.
- Attach a timeline
- This is particularly challenging for me because as I might have mentioned before, I never did schedule my life. I was just going with the flow. But since that did not work, I decided to be more organised and precise. I guess having a due date in some circumstances does help, as puts a bit of pressure. But it is important to set realistic timeline according to your capabilities.
- Make it a habit
- Since I wanted to improve my flexibility and strength (among many others), I decided to commit to an exercise regime an hour every day for about a month, or at least 21 days. After that I allowed myself rest days once or twice a week. It gets much easier for me to get back on track even after a rest day. With a goal in mind, I am definitely more determined than ever before.
- Enjoy your life
- Yes, that’s right. Enjoy every minute of every hour of every day. Especially when you are going through a difficult time. That does sound paradoxical but it is when you face Hardship that you need Joy the most. I am glad to say that I truly do enjoy my life now despite the obstacles. Being frustrated about something only holds me back and so I would try to calm myself and rationalise that this particular difficulty is only a phase that would eventually come to an end, to be replaced by ease.
In a nutshell, don’t be afraid to search within yourself and ask the pertinent questions: Why are you here? What are you doing with your life? Is it adding any value to you or others? Why is it important to add value to your life and others’ lives? Can you live without goals? If not, how can you change? What passions would you like to pursue?
I hope that this helps you in some way as it certainly helped me. Feel free to share your thoughts on this. I would love to know a bit of your story! I hope you have a wonderful day ahead nonetheless x