Thursday, December 18, 2008

Are We Living Life On Purpose?

I've been thinking today that more people are on purpose about talking about being on purpose then just plain old being on purpose.

We use lots of reasons for why this is the case:

  1. We are too busy at work
  2. We are too busy at home
  3. We have too many commitments dragging our kids around to sporting events (that we enrolled them in for the most part)
  4. We are waiting for the definition of our purpose to be handed to us
  5. We are waiting for the perfect opportunity, when we have more time, energy, money
  6. We are waiting to be at the empowerment level (knowledge, network, money) necessary for the opportunity
  7. We are waiting for the economy to get better
  8. We are waiting for the right time to tell others so that they won't be angry, embarrassed, disappointed, etc.
  9. We are waiting for more peace in the world
  10. We are waiting to move to a geographical area that is more open to such opportunities,
  11. Fill in your own reason here ______________.

That's a lot of waiting!

Many of the reasons we use to delay living a life on purpose are not because of external events.  They are based on choices we are making or have made in the past.

For many people, when you speak to them 5 or more years ago, now or in 5-10 years, you discover they are always in the same spot - they are just about to start living a life on purpose.   Living a life on purpose is almost within their reach, that magical carrot on a stick that will set them free.  They are reading the current "living on purpose du jour" book.  Interestingly enough, they have read every book of the genre and yet their purpose remains dormant or undiscovered.

They are so close to living their life on purpose that they can taste it and they try to convince you of it.  Maybe they are trying to convince themselves of it.

As we say in New York City - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

I don't have the heart to tell them that 10 or more years ago, they were saying the same thing.  Nor do I have the heart to say that in 10 years, they will be in the same place - waiting.

For many, their purpose will still be awaiting discovery well into the future, dangling enticingly in front of them as their end-of-days looms on the horizon.

Oh, the moments we miss.

Many look to latch on to others, with the hope that others will pick them up and carry them to their sense of purpose.  Those people have missed the point:

Their sense of purpose is THEIR own sense of purpose - not someone else's.

For every day we choose not to live a life on purpose, we miss out on many things, including:

  1. Enhanced personal fulfillment
  2. An opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, maybe even saving lives
  3. A chance to find financial freedom - you didn't really think you would find it working for someone else, did you?
  4. A chance to see the world - if that is where your purpose takes you
  5. An opportunity to learn new things, maybe to even be the best in the world at something and be recognized for it
  6. The potential to meet phenomenal people who will touch your mind and heart forever
  7. A chance to leave a legacy - to be remembered by others as someone who made a difference.

I think many of us need to make a choice, a choice that comes down to one of two things.

1. Do we want to stay where we are, wondering about how "someday we will be something", creating the potential for a lot of dreams that will be replaced by frustration or resentment over time?

2. Do we choose to lay out a plan for living our life on purpose, for seizing that which is important to us at any cost and through any struggle and just going for it?

97% of people who tell me that they are living their life on purpose are at the exact same place in their life that they were 10 years ago.  They will probably still be there in 10 years time.  They are also really good at New Year's Resolutions, pie-in-the-sky dreams and stuff of a similar nature.  They are the ones who start 10,000 be-all-and-end-all projects and finish none of them.

Don't be one of the 97%.

Don't hang out with a lot of them either, otherwise you will become one of them.  Save who you can and move on.

Be one of the 3% who stands up and says "My purpose in life is to do _____________.  I exist to make a difference in my family, community, company, country or world by doing _____________.  Today I find the people, knowledge and other resources to get there regardless of what others think.  I want it so badly that my spirit burns to make this happen.  When my end-of-days has come, I will be remembered for _____________.  If I were not here, the world would miss me because I offer _____________ to the world."

Seize this feeling, let it surround and permeate you and then go for it.

If you don't how, email me - I will give you the cranial defibrillator you need to make it happen.

There is a greater sense of urgency every day to make a difference - today it is your turn.

Do you want to live a life waiting for fulfillment ,  hoping someone else provides it, or do you want to own the process, struggles and all, knowing that on the other side of struggle is phenomenal fulfillment and amazing life experiences?

I know what you think you want.  Do you have the courage and desire to go for it?

Yours in service and servanthood.



  1. Really well done Harry !

    The topic is relevant with the season and well layout to allow us to reflect and take charge of our own destiny.

    All the best as always

    Edison Reis

  2. Hey Edison,

    Thank you my friend. It bubbled out of me today as I spoke to a number of people who were doing something and complaining that "this is not what I want to be doing in life".

    Of course, for those who remember the Monty Python days, I thought of the Lumberjack song, but this was more appropriate. :-)

    Take care and best wishes for a great holiday!


  3. Harry:
    Well said. Blunt, frank and to the point. I've spent a long time looking for that purpose. I've read all the literature du jour and followed numerous programs in an effort to discover that purpose. Now, I must say that Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" helped me immensely as a "stuck" artist but I also have spent way too much time reading and musing and moaning about the seeming lack of purpose in my life.

    I've also spent a lot of time trying to make money thinking financial freedom would give me the peace of mind to discover my purpose.

    But one day in a moment of unusual clarity I sat and began to write in my journal. I began to describe myself and my relationship with humankind and the universe at large. I began to look for common threads that run through my life and others around me and and I began to see how I relate to nature.

    Well, long story short, I came to a startling conclusion that, upon reflection, I had been living my life "on purpose" all along. I had boiled my existence down to two essential kernels. Love and creativity. I am here simply to love and to create. To create each day. Something new from whole cloth. To bring into the world that which did not exist before and which would not have existed without me.

    And to love. Love in the broader sense of the word not simply the romantic. To appreciate (love) all I see. To appreciate (love) all I meet. To give (love). To share (love). To smile, touch and be with.

    It's been a long journey only to come full circle. Thanks for your guidance. You are a powerful force that has been in my thoughts since we first met at that Positive Thinker's breakfast in St. John's.

    Thank you for including me in your blog-mails.

    Got your Christmas card today. Bless you and your family and all that is dear to you.

    Merry Christmas
    Gary Johnston

  4. Hey Gary,

    "Love and creativity".

    WOW - you have summed up in three words what I believe the essence of human life is.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with readers on this blog. I believe others will find inspiration as they read your journey.

    As for me being a positive force in your life, I thank you for your kind words. I doubly thank you, as I simply mirror back to people what I experience and learn from them, helping them experience that which they put forth in the universe.

    A very Merry Christmas to you and Denise!

    Keep loving and creating!


  5. I love this, Harry. It makes me want to jump up and down and shout! More to the point, it leads me to rethink what my legacy will be.

  6. Hello Richard (aka mcProdigal).

    Thank you for your very kind comments. It is this type of thing that drives my passion ... in essense --> What are we waiting for?

    Take care and create a blessed day!