What Is This “Purpose” of Which You Speak?
I recently heard Bishop T.D.Jakes on one of Oprah’s Lifeclass episodes talking about how people frequently pursue a talent, believing it’s their purpose in life. This really got me thinking about how often I’ve tried to do that in my own life. Before I go on though, if you’ve never seen Bishop Jakes look him up – pretty interesting dude. Not sure I like him but what he says makes you think.
I’ve cast many a project onto the world seas only to see them toss among the currents watched mostly by me. There a lot of things that come easily to me that have never panned out as far as career paths. I have unheard demo CDs gathering dust from my guitar/singing days, books sitting on electronic bookshelves, unused private practice therapist appointments and now art that admittedly has been more successful than other projects for sure and yet it remains to be seen if it can get beyond the point of merely paying for itself.
He states, Bishop Jakes that is, that a talent may be merely transportation to carry you to your purpose in life. That your purpose is where your passion lies and pursuing that, while it may not be entirely easy, is what will bring the financial success into your life as well which will support more purpose related actions. Sort of a by product of doing what you were meant to do.
Hmmm. This makes me feel like one of those people who has been in multiple relationships but isn’t sure if they’ve ever been in love. Like really in love because I know, or think I know, what it feels like to experience passion but maybe I’m wrong?
I feel passionate to the point of obsession with whatever I’m involved in. I produce, I market, produce some more, read more about marketing, etc. I enjoy the process, become lost in the production, can’t wait to do more of X, Y or Z. All the things I’ve heard your purpose described as and yet nothing has ever really taken off. George Lucas said, “If you start a project at 7am and stop to eat and find out it’s 7pm, that’s passion.” I can do that. I might be doing that right now.
All the things listed above I did lose myself in, can do that still with, other than therapist gig which I never really enjoyed. The not 100% enjoying it is what made it so ridiculously easy to give up when the Great Whatever presented me with the ever so odd choice of Career vs. Gamble Everything on Love. Glad I chose love. Jobs, as it turns out, are another thing that seem pretty easy to come by for me so with this many options why is it so hard to find my “purpose”?
Is that concept only a great marketing tool? I mean there are about as many Find Your Purpose books as there are Lose 50 Inches Off Your Fat Ass in 10 days books. Could it be that our only purpose is to exist for a certain number of years, reproduce to support the species and die? Jeez that’s a depressing thought.
Could it be that the search for purpose merely makes it even more elusive like so many other things we pursue? Could it be that purpose is only our “special purpose” as it’s described by Steve Martin’s character, Navin R. Johnson in The Jerk? Does anyone besides me even remember that movie?
Some tricks to find your purpose are almost always described as find your passion and you’ll find your purpose. What can you lose hours of the day or night doing? What activity would you do all day for free? Um yeah…other than playing the guitar I already write/draw every day in some form or other for free.
I could totally eat Ben & Jerry’s all day for free.
I had a dream the other day and clearly heard a voice say, “The answers are in Africa.” Ok that’s rockin’ but what are the questions? Maybe the answer to the search for purpose is in Africa? If so somebody better get me a ticket because any extra dime crossing my path at the moment is going into to the Great Minnesota Mall of America and a Quick Run to Canada Adventure of 2012 trip which is planned for August.
So then maybe you have to look deeper? Martha Beck asks you to examine what you yearn for in quiet moments or desperate moments when you hate your current job which I don’t really have those anymore.
Maybe you have to look for those times in life where you encounter someone or something and a magic moment happens? Most of time those happen to me when I get the chance to tell someone that the voice they hear in their heads telling them what a schmuck they are isn’t really them at all and they actually believe me.
The most magical of moments happens when the light bulb goes on in an adolescent’s eyes. When they can see, even if just for a few fleeting seconds, that they are not only what the people around them have told them they are. That the destructive voice really isn’t their own and they really can take control of it. I can trip on that high for days.
My daughter Morgan, in her ancient wisdom, worried about me when I quit working with adolescents. She said something along the lines “but you love working with those kids!” Hmmm.
So if writing and drawing are only talents meant for transportation perhaps pairing those with adolescents in some form is my purpose. It remains to be seen and I’d need to really put some effort into learning grant writing. I do know that being willing to pursue something that seems purpose related causes doors to open that you’d never expect. I’ve seen the Universe shift and change around people nearly overnight when they make that connection so we’ll see what happens here.
How about you? Are you living your life on purpose? Do you already know what it is or like me are you still trying to find it? What questions do you ask yourself to find clarity and a direction to travel in?