Monday, January 27, 2014

The Puzzle of Purpose

To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Success demands singleness of purpose. - Vince Lombardi

In an interaction with someone the other day (whom I will identify as “S”) they seemed intrigued with how I explored problems.  At one point, “S” noticed something else and felt prompted to ask “Do you analyze everyone you speak with?”

My answer was “yes”.

Here’s why.

Much can be said about where a person is going and how they are getting there by understanding who they are and where they came from.  Their character and values are revealed when one examines this and the opportunity to create a relationship that matters, personal or professional, can be easily discerned from such an examination.

I see each of our lives as a puzzle with each of those puzzles being a subset of a larger puzzle.

For example, in analyzing myself, my primary puzzle looks like this:


My upbringing, the culture I experienced growing up in Newfoundland, my vocation and where I chose to live out a major piece of that vocation form the primary pillars that molded me.

As a result of those four pillars and of the many attributes that have developed as a result, the four attributes that stand out to others when asked are my sense of passion, empathy, insight and strategy, each being sharpened as a result of the primary pillars.  My apologies to the many who voted for “audacious”, “creative”, “respectful”, “collaborative” or “direct” – it throws the symmetry of my picture off. This is only the primary puzzle, after all. :-)

How I live my Life is pretty easy to discern and my actions are pretty easy to predict as a result of understanding the pieces.  Anyone who takes the time to understand my puzzle knows exactly what an interaction with me will feel and look like.

This is obviously a gross oversimplification of who I am but the point is this.

Too many people don’t take the time to understand what makes up their puzzle or they know what it looks like but they choose to do something else anyway, fighting the natural gifts and strengths that have developed as the pieces of their puzzle fell into place.

They also don’t take the time to understand the puzzle that makes up the people they interact with, either finding connection points or being audacious enough to move on if there are no obvious linkages.

As a result, their Life languishes including their personal and professional relationships.

It is only when people understand and embrace their puzzle and the puzzles of others that they discover that their puzzle looks more like this (using mine as an example):


…. ready to interlock with the puzzles of others with the intention of making the final picture “on the box cover” that much more incredible.

Do you know what your puzzle looks like?

Are there pieces missing or remaining to be shaped?

Do you embrace your puzzle or do you resist it ?

Do you understand the puzzles of others?

Do you strive to make your puzzle fit into the Master Puzzle?

Are you sure?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,


Inspired by “S”.  Thank you for asking the question.


I was texted a comment on this blog that I felt compelled to share.  Quoting:

But growth comes with one very important element …. love.  That’s the other piece that should appear throughout our Life puzzle.  For without love, there would be no joy and without joy, our lives would be flat.  Just like the cardboard of the puzzle pieces themselves.

Now why didn’t I think of that? ;-)

Thanks to V. for the observation.

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