The purpose of having a ‘Purpose’ in life
We all wish to live the life we really want. If that’s the case, why does it seem that so few of us actually do?
Creating the life, we want should be easy, but for many reasons, it isn’t. Sometimes we’re too busy working, paying bills or picking up kids to give it much thought. Sometimes we don’t know how to get clarity so we put it off until “later.” Or, perhaps, we have ignored what we really wanted and, instead, created a life that others wanted for us (or themselves) — ouch.
I was fortunate to have found my purpose very young in life and had the privilege to
build my work around it. My purpose in life was to help others find their purpose or Ikigai as the Japanese call it. However, the journey has been difficult to stick to my purpose because just like all of you I got stuck with business and numbers and expansion. So, one fine day I sold my company and went back to following my Ikigai. I would like to share my observations on how one can find their purpose and follow it.
How to Create the Life You Want:
If you aren’t living the life you want, how do you get back on track? How do you get clear on what you want? how do you stay committed to it? And how can you help your children live the life they want?
Here are some steps that can help you get started:
Clarity: To start with we need to work towards identifying our purpose. This may seem obvious however in most cases it takes people by surprise. Because society and our systems train us to comply so we land up doing what everyone else is doing and just go with the flow. So let’s begin with some introspection, take out a blank sheet of paper and write “My Dream Life” at the top. List everything you want to have, do, be and share. From this list generate goals to help set you back on course.
Work with your children and make them list their Dream Life down too. I used to call it the Vision Board and I had stuck pictures on a chart paper and put it up in my room as a daily reminder.
Avoid the “Shiny New Object Syndrome/ Focus on your purpose and question every new opportunity: While you are working towards your purpose there will be other more lucrative opportunities that will come up and it’s easy to lose momentum by getting distracted. However, when there is clarity, we can evaluate the opportunity with a more informed space and if it does not lead you to your final goal you should let it go and focus on your purpose.
Be a facilitator to your children and monitor their progress and if they are deviating from their goal sit down with them and introspect.
So, the next time a new opportunity arises ask yourself, “How will this help me achieve my ultimate goal of “x”? If it doesn’t, you probably want to dismiss the opportunity and move on.
Redefine Failure/ Enjoy the journey and make memories: We live one life and it is the journey that is more important than the end goal. when you focus on the journey and enjoy every moment you are building memories and these memories are what will make the destination worthwhile. People who focus on the destination as opposed to the journey also tend to be more critical of their failures. According to me, there is nothing called failure, it is just another opportunity for you to evaluate what went wrong and look for a better route to reach your destination
Make sure to remind children that there is nothing called failure, it is only a missed opportunity and encourage them to get back on track.
Give in to Your Primal Instincts: Craving new challenges is hard-wired into our DNA. If it weren’t, we never would have left the cave, invented the wheel or flown to outer space. Ignoring this primal code over the long term can lead to disappointment. So how do you happily succumb to this urge? With more clarity and structure.
Create a list of things you haven’t done yet, but want to do and get your children to make their own list. Be specific and remember the three, guaranteed “no-fail” rules when it comes to goal setting:
1. Write it down. 2. Write it down. 3. Write it down.
Putting your list in writing transforms it from a desire into a personal contract with yourself.
Go Guilt-Free/ Take time out: the human mind needs idle time; it needs time out from the daily running around that one does. Research shows that when a person takes regular time out, they come back refreshed with new ideas and a fresh perspective and the same applies to children too. However, I see that Taking time to care for ourselves, guilt-free is difficult for many people. Sometimes it feels as though things will fall off the rails if we “let go.” But when we do let go, something amazing happens: the earth still spins — people find a way to manage without us. Plus, going guilt-free can be contagious.
As with anything worthwhile, there is no quick fix when it comes to designing and building the life you want. One has to make a conscious and continuous effort to stay on track and focus on your purpose. And these simple steps can help guide you along your path to living the life you want…and loving the life you live.