Thursday, July 17, 2008

Living purposefully

The brilliant futurist, Buckminster Fuller said, "The purpose of our lives is to add value to the people of this generation and those that follow." In short, to leave this world a better place than it was when you arrived.

Although many people believe they have a purpose, they often have a difficult time discovering their own reason for living. Because purpose holds such a spiritual sense, people tend to believe their purpose will somehow be handed down from the heavens. They wait for a "booming voice" to tell them what to do. Ok, a few "tuned-in" people do receive some type of message; some unmistakable calling. But the answer for most of us is that we actually have to "choose" our purpose. We are the ones who decide how we are best suited to serve. Our choice, however, is not random. We each have unique abilities, inherent talents and strengths. We each have different interests and activities that bring us joy. We each have different experiences and issues from which we've learned, and we all have a different way in which we can best serve others. It is through these factors you "choose" your purpose.

Can your purpose change? Yes. More likely, however, is that your overall purpose remains the same, while the vehicle you use to provide your service may change on an ongoing basis. If your purpose is to teach, for example, you may teach your own children, teach in a school, become an author or a speaker or even be a consultant. Regardless of your vehicle, your dharma is to "teach". It takes courage to choose a purpose and even more courage to live your life based on it! Once you have purpose, you will have two essential elements for a truly happy life - money and meaning! In this way, you will become "rich" in every sense of the word.


List your unique abilities, talents, strengths, interests and joys. From here choose an overall purpose for your life. Clarify it by writing it down. Then choose an initial vehicle with which you can serve people that is in alignment with your purpose. Begin today to live your life based on purpose.
Excerpt taken from Kenneth A MacArthur of


Hsiaoshuang said...

Can your purpose change?

I would like to add a comment to this. When NASA shoots a rocket to the moon, it does not expect the original aim to be so precise that the space ship will hit the target. Instead, NASA (and the crew on board) will do constant mid-course corrections since the vessel may be deflected by all kinds of forces acting on it.

Without mid-course corrections as a vital part of celestial navigation, no space ship will ever reach its final destination.

Ditto for each individual's life plan or road map. Many of us got distracted and deflected from our original goals. However, we are seldom aware of the need for mid-course corrections (those minute adjustments and refinements that we make in daily / weekly / monthly decision-making to stay on course). Worse, even if we are aware, we rarely have the skills and inclination to do so.

Hopefully you can give us some navigation pointers on this.

Boss Of Me! said...

Hi Hsiaoshuang,

Thanks for your comments. You have made a valid point. From my experience, most of us have a fixed goal (like NASA going to the moon) and that seldom wavers. However, the path to the goal is often privy to all sorts of distractions.
My suggestions:
Never lose sight of your goal and be flexible and open to the various ways of getting there. When one outlet shuts down, another usually opens. Be persistent and fine-tune your plans constantly. Lastly, listen to your gut instinct. If you want something wholeheartedly, it will show you the way.