Finding your purpose: Don't believe the hype
As the new year gets into full swing, finding your purpose seems to be the most popular goal, leaving those still hunting unfulfilled and empty.
I have a new theory; finding your purpose doesn’t mean what you think.
The odds of finding your 'purpose' are slim
At school we’re exposed to at least eight different subjects, and in high school, most of us expand this to include exciting electives like media, cooking or wood shop. After this twelve year ride, we head off into the workforce, a trade school or University to begin the journey to find our purpose. We’re forced to narrow our exposure of day-to-day topics and information from around fifteen at school, to just one. If that one thing doesn’t lead us to our purpose, we’re supposed to be constantly searching for something that will.
The odds of this journey leading us to a vocation that makes us want to jump out of bed in the morning and scream “Yay!” are slim to none. Some people do find a passion or purpose, and that’s great for them!
But for most people, burning passion isn’t part of their daily life. They just live it. And that’s OK.
I’ve found a sort of purpose; a business I founded and created that makes me happy, fulfilled, super positive and gives me a sense of helping others. But! I wasn’t unhappy before I founded my business, and I don’t have an overwhelming sense of fulfilment I was lacking. I just really enjoy it. Just as I really enjoyed other things I did before.
Is purpose confused with positivity?
What if finding your purpose is about changing your mindset, not living one specific passion?
In his Masterclass sessions, James Patterson talks about how he used to accompany his grandfather on his delivery route. They’d get up at four a.m, and his grandfather would always be singing to work as they drove. One day he turned to James and said “Jim, when you grow up, whether you become the president or you drive a truck like I do, just remember you gotta be singing on your way to work.”
This is a great example of the power of positivity over purpose. It’s doubtful James’ grandfather thought being a delivery man was his life’s purpose, but he enjoyed it anyway. He just liked his job. I’ll bet there were freezing days when he’d have to get up at three am. to brave the icy roads on his route, but his positive attitude made most days genuinely good.
Health and wellness expert Dr Libby Weaver says “for many people, I don’t think there is some elusive purpose out there. It’s here within them. There doesn’t have to be a big realisation or major moment of discovery of your life’s purpose.” And I agree.
Finding enjoyment and contentment in the life you’re living might actually be the real purpose all of us should be searching for.
So! If you catch the train to work and smile at the ticket man, then work at a job you kind of like and get home to nestle into bed and watch Netflix with a smile on your face, maybe you’re living your purpose right now. It’s time to call off the search.
What do you think?