Last Update: 21st August 2018
Reading time: 14 Min
The Ambiguity of Purpose
How do you find your purpose? It’s something I struggled with as I left school, and I think many others do too.
Finding your purpose is one of those pie in the sky type scenarios where you feel like whatever you write down is well out of reach, but it’s not. You feel like it’s trying to dream up the impossible to make it sound big and bold, but it’s not. It’s like creating something that you can follow, in yourself, so you are the leader, but it’s not.
Trying to find your purpose can seem misleadingly simple and philosophically difficult at the same time.
Well, it is.
It’s incredibly simple to find your purpose, yet it is incredible intangible and sometimes difficult, to know whether you are on the right path or not.
Finding Myself in University
When I left high school, I knew that I wanted to find a greater purpose, but I was scared.
I chose to go to a regional university, only one hour away from where I lived because I wasn’t ready to be confronted by the diversity of the city.
I was a country kid. A kid who was open and kind, and invited people into his home from all walks and runs of life, but a kid who was scared to be challenged by what he couldn’t control.
Despite my conservative mindset, going to university was a turning point. I was free. Free from small minded thinking, free from the usual ways and free into a fresh environment.
I would challenge myself immensely at uni, sometimes way outside of my comfort zone. I was growing at uni, but I was growing without guidance and direction. My only goals were to get an A average and to graduate with a ‘great resume’.
Finding Purpose After Uni
When I graduated, this wasn’t enough. I would go into job interviews with great confidence and conviction, but almost zero direction.
At this time I was interviewing for roles from accounting to consulting to banking to sales to customer service. Receiving a number of job offers.
But the offers meant nothing to me. So I declined 100% of them.
I couldn’t find what I wanted at home so I moved states in hope that the other side of the country would discover what I was looking for.
But I was bitterly disappointed. I arrived and found the same, if not less, jobs that didn’t interest me and this time I was running out of cash quick!
I leaned on my degree and found a job in accounting. It was a good firm; A high paying grad job; I was happy, for about 2 months.
However, I decided to leave and went into a completely unrelated field. I loved it!
Until I almost went broke.
Once again I left and went into another job in the same field, this time with security and high commissions. I also loved it.
But only for about 2 months.
I was on a very unfulfilling pathway to self-discovery. I had no idea what I wanted to do until I truly dedicated the time to find it for my self.
I left that job and I went searching. I had thrown out my uni degree skills. They were no longer of interest to me and I was determined to truly find my purpose. I had a $30,000 government debt, but I didn’t care. I was after fulfillment now. Security and money no longer mattered.
It wasn’t until I picked up a book on self-development that I really began to understand what I was trying to figure out.
I realised that I had created many roadblocks in my life. Roadblocks that stopped me finding what my purpose was. I had been searching for about 5 years but I had been neglecting so many rich resources.
The problem wasn’t the place or the job that wasn’t allowing me to find my purpose, it was my way of thinking about all of it.
The first resource I picked up which completely flipped my way of thinking was a book called Psychocybernetics. It’s basically a book about self perception.
How we perceive ourselves often affects the way we see the outside world. When you are struggling to see yourself in the limelight then the world around you doesn’t seem so bright either.
This wasn’t the first time I had heard of this style of talk. I had been listening to the likes of Tony Robins, Les Brown and Zig Ziglar for a few months. I’d heard hours of content replayed endlessly on YouTube.
Some days they were the only things that kept me going, but when I read Psychocybernetics my understanding of it all changed. I understood the principles to a fulfilling ‘self life’. One where I could live out purpose everyday.
I was hooked. I had to read another book to back this up. I read one by an Aussie guy – it wasn’t quite so good, but that didn’t stop me. I went to the library and borrowed 5 more books.
Finally Finding My Purpose
I wouldn’t pick up another book that had a profound impact on me until I found a book on my girlfriend’s, fathers, bookshelf labeled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Then it happened again.
This book rocked my mind, in a way that I never thought a book could- unless of course, it was the Steve Jobs biography. That book would have caused me to drop out of uni if I had of read it any earlier.
Since reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” I have mulled over it again, today, the day that I wrote this article, and I have been taking action on some of the profound areas of enlightenment in this book.
I found my purpose in this book. It made me realise that purpose is about your core self, and I am still digging deeper into my purpose everyday.
How Can YOU Find Your Purpose?
Your purpose is not based on your job, your age, your demographic, race or gender. It’s sometimes not even based on that one MASSIVE GOAL which you are ultimately setting out to achieve.
Your purpose is based on how you want to live out your life and the person you want to be. It’s about acting on principles, not things or people.
I have defined my purpose with values and a personal mission statement. To discover your purpose I suggest you do the same.
Here is my purpose, as defined by my personal mission statement (subject to change, grow and adapt):
My mission is to be peaceful, resilient and solid. I will listen to those who need to talk and talk to those who need to listen.
Explanation: I don’t want to be an angry person, nor do I want to be someone who gets upset, frustrated or disappointed easily. I want to be the one person that people can turn to that listens and can turn their problem on it’s head.
My values are:
Patience and commitment — Good things take time, they also require commitment.
Integrity — Do it to benefit other first, then you will benefit.
Balance — Find a balance between yourself, work, family and friends which you are happy and comfortable in each situation.
Strong Listener — Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Voice — I will be the voice of reason where there are differences in relationships.
Role Model — Only recommend to someone advice that would allow them to live a more happy and successful life.
To serve others effectively, you must live out your personal mission statement daily.