The Path to a Purposeful Life is Paved with Conscious Intentions
The Path to a Purposeful Life is Paved with Conscious Intentions
Parents, teachers, and even the media played dominant roles in shaping your personality. Then they set you on your journey to adulthood.
An education? Check.
A successful career? Check.
A tranquil and supportive relationship? Check.
Precocious children? Check.
A voice inside your head or a void in your heart persistently whispering, “Something’s missing.” Check.
While attempting to quiet the voice of discontent, you work harder to gain the admiration of peers. You buy more “toys” — bigger cars and luxury homes. Material things may drown out that voice of emptiness for a while. But peers come and go from your life and bigger, better versions replace older model cars and homes. The financial and emotional price of your happiness keeps increasing. And the voice keeps whispering.
The moment you step off the path laid by your external influences will be a turning point in your journey. That inner voice has waited for the quiet solitude when it will be heard and heeded. It will point you in the direction of something much deeper, much more significant. Perhaps it will tell you that it is time to discover your purpose in life.
What is Purpose?
Purpose can be elusive, for it is not a concept, attitude, or goal. You cannot cannot reach, touch or complete it. Your purpose is the force you feel when striving for your own personal development. YOUR purpose is about your future – it is about the future of YOU – who YOU wish to be and what YOU wish to do. It’s about becoming the best version of yourself that you are capable of becoming.
People often confuse purpose with goals. Here’s the difference. Goals relate to achievement. For example, a charity sets fundraising goals, but its purpose is to serve its chosen mission with integrity and pure intention.
As you search for your life’s purpose, you will not find it where you work, where you live, or even within your relationships, though these places are fertile ground for personal growth and self-development. Your purpose in life lies deep within the core of your being. The closer you get to discovering your purpose, the more charged your thoughts, words, and actions, the clearer your perception, and the deeper your understanding.
This sentiment is reminiscent of the dialogue between master and student in a dubbed black and white kung fu film– seeking your purpose sets you on the path to reaching your full potential. Being on purpose means you do what comes naturally to you without second-guessing your true talents and without questioning your gifts and abilities. Your life evolves as you learn to go with the flow. Life simply feels right, maybe for the first time in years.
Finding your Purpose
So, are ready to pack any mental baggage and travel to your core on a mission to discover who you are and thus your purpose? Well, before you go and return disenchanted, make sure you are truly ready.
Have you lost touch with your authentic self, now cloaked in designer labels and under the spell of corporate brands? Perhaps our “I want what I want when I want it” culture is to blame. But, whatever the reason, it seems some people are waiting for a thunderbolt to burst from the sky with an attached note stating their purpose.
Just remember, anything worth having takes effort. Finding your life’s purpose is not for the self-entitled, the undedicated, the undetermined nor the undisciplined. It is a journey that only those with an unwavering sense of integrity, accountability and follow-through can expect to complete successfully. Now let’s learn the language, the culture, the best routes to take and the dead ends to avoid.
The journey begins with your own personal development – one of the most powerful ways to access and tap into your purpose. The more committed you are to trekking through your personal development work and grasping the value of it, the more clarity you will gain in understanding your purpose.
Be conscious of ego and false persona (the idea of who you think you should be or who others think you are). Peel away the onion layers, so to speak, one at a time to reveal the true essence of your core self, for this is where your purpose resides.
Establish a benchmark that identifies where you are in life. You need to recognize what is truly occurring in your life versus your perception of what is occurring. Enlist the help of trusted companions to learn their perception of what is occurring in your life in terms of your behavioral traits, weaknesses and habits. Now is the time to accept and take ownership of where you really are.
Seek out opportunities where you can tame your ego and nurture your inner self. When the ego is quiet and your true self emerges, your level of awareness rises, enabling you to make conscious choices. Remember, if you keep doing the same thing and thinking the same way, you’ll keep getting the same results. There is a popular saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By making conscious choices, you will find yourself thinking differently than before.
As your personal development disciplines solidify and your journey progresses, your purpose starts to unfold. Though it is tempting to take the easy road, personal development is more than just a matter of reading various materials, articles and books. At best, this is a catalyst that allows you to be introspective and experiment with your development plan.
Avoiding Speed Bumps
As with any journey, you may run across detours and dead ends. Detours often yield unexpected, yet pleasant, surprises. Dead ends, on the other hand, merely waste your valuable time and resources. Try to identify and avoid dead end factors early, like not doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it, lack of integrity, commitment and responsibility, lack of follow-through, and not being fully present.
Being fully present requires retraining your mind and reaching a place where you are comfortable having single-minded focus. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to stop multi-tasking, both mentally and physically. Focus on doing one thing at a time and give your undivided attention to the matter at hand.
Have you ever seen someone driving, eating and talking on a cell phone all at the same time? Or witnessed an office colleague speaking on the phone while reading and responding to emails and texts?
We have been conditioned in today’s busy world that multi-tasking is the best way to achieve more using less time and resources. Nothing is farther from the truth. Multi-tasking is neither a ‘badge of honor’, nor is it something to be proud of. In fact, multi-tasking is a very destructive and damaging phenomenon.
It leads to a vicious circle of becoming overwhelmed, which leads to procrastination, which negatively impacts self-confidence, self-worth, self-image, and ultimately, your self-value.
In fact, it creates a major distraction for the mind, a greater level of frustration and it causes you to feel so scattered that clear thinking is virtually impossible. It drains and depletes your most important internal resource– energy. When this occurs, expect an “energy leak” to follow. Energy for the human body is the equivalent of gas to a vehicle. When you use all of your energy, your experience in the physical realm is complete.
When the mind is unified and fully employed at a task, you have abundant energy. The work, particularly if routine, is dispatched efficiently and easily, and you are able to see it in the context of the whole into which it fits. You feel engaged; time does not press on you.
Consistent concentration, self-discipline, repetition and practice are the keys to retraining your mind to achieve single-minded focused attention. Experimentation and practice enable you to self-examine and evaluate the true value of single-minded focus in your life. When you practice single-minded focus versus multi-tasking, a golden opportunity arises to explore, recognize, reveal and take ownership of your thoughts and behavior.
Transforming your thinking process through conscious awareness of your thoughts, behavior and habits is only possible through a self-discovery and self-awareness process.
It is time to listen to your growing inner voice and establish your own path that leads to finding and living your life’s purpose.
Single-minded concentration? Check!
Positive attitude? Check!
Clarity of thought? Check!
Focused behavior? Check!
Authentic character? Check!
Purposeful living and being? Check!
A reinvention of yourself by changing how you think? Check!
Chart your own purposeful path with a helpful exercise from Mark.