The Dangers of Living Without Purpose
Nothing gives a person inner wholeness and peace like a distinct understanding of where they are going. Robert Bryne once observed, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” In order to get somewhere, you need to define your end goal. That is essential. And the sooner you define it, the clearer everything else will become. A life without a purpose is a life without a destination. Finding the right direction in life is an existential problem for all of us. What do you look forward to in life? Living without is dangerous.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
Finding the right direction in life is something you create. You make the decision to act. To try. To do something. No matter how small.
At some point in life, you’re going to have to stop thinking about taking action and act.
Your purpose in life is to find and do the things that make you smile, laugh and forget time. Even if you aren’t sure yet, move into the exploration and experimentation phase of your life and enjoy the journey. You can’t put time on it. You can’t force yourself to find your “why” tomorrow or next month, or even next year. But by all means, search for clarity.
In the 1940s, Viktor E. Frankl, was held prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. With all the agony and brutality, what kept Frankl from giving up his relentless fight for his life was purpose!
He found meaning in his struggle, and that’s what gave him the power to push forward through unimaginable pain.
A quote by Viktor nicely sums up his philosophy on how people were able to survive the camps, without losing the will to live. In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
Once you have defined your aims and what you want, it is easier to deal with doubts. Easier not to get distracted from what is important, keep your focus, and keep moving. Only sustained movement in one direction can bring tangible results. You have permission to change your goal, rethink, choose another, by all means.
It’s hard to maintain any momentum if your direction lacks definition. In order to reach big goals, you need time, during which you must continue moving in your chosen direction, not veering off course.
Defining your direction as early as possible is the most important decision in sports. But, curiously enough, this is also the most important decision in life in general, but much fewer people realize it.
Living “on purpose” means you live intentionally.
Napoleon Hill once said “There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.
In order to get what you want, you have to choose one direction and move towards it, constantly improving over a prolonged period of time.
Maximum speed and output requires a precise framework. People who have made genuine changes in their lives and managed to attain difficult goals are not stronger, more intelligent or fearless than you. The only difference is the decision to act in the direction of their dreams.
A strong sense of purpose fuels your motivation.
Successful people have a definite sense of direction. They have a clear understanding of what success means to them. Everything they do is consistent with their goals. They look forward and decide where they want to be. Their day to day actions helps them move closer to their vision.
Once you find your why, you will be more careful and selective about your daily actions.
In here book, “Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love and Life, Margie Warrell, writes: “Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!).
Margie continues “Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.”
William Cowper said “Existence is a strange bargain. Life owes us little; we owe it everything. The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.”
There’s no better feeling than suddenly becoming clear on something that had previously been a road block in your life. Those “aha!” moments are a real blessing when they come. “The only journey is the one within,” says Rainer Maria Rilke.
Clarity of purpose challenges you to do better and commit to actions that get you closer to the one thing you really want in life. With clarity, you can pull together resources, ideas and people for a common cause. Without it, there is wasted effort and even chaos.
Bud Bilanich, an executive coach says to develop your personal clarity of purpose you need to do three things: First, define what success means to you personally. Second, create a vivid mental image of you as a success. This image should be as vivid as you can you make it. Third, clarify your personal values.
Getting clear about what you want is a process of trial and error! Try something. Then ask yourself: Do I like this? Yes. No. Get a journal and start putting down your feelings, thoughts, actions, and behaviors.
Use what you write as a way to pinpoint areas you are constantly exploring. Evaluate your results constantly.
What actions, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors are you attracted to the most? The key is to do more of what you enjoy and brings out the very best in you and you will continually clarify what it is that you want to do, be and have in life.
Author: Thomas Oppong