Photo taken at Mottisfont, UK
“We’re not here because we’re free; we’re here because we’re not free. There’s no escaping reason, no denying purpose, for as we both know, without purpose we would not exist. It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us; it is purpose that defines us, purpose that binds us. We are here because of you, Mr. Anderson. We’re here to take from you what you tried to take from us. Purpose.”— Smith, The Matrix Reloaded.
Anytime I hear people talk about finding their purpose, I think about what Smith says and I can’t help but agree. Purpose does drive us and guide us, for if we didn’t have purpose, what would be the whole point? At the same time, Smith makes another very interesting point: “We’re not here because we’re free; we’re here because we’re not free.” He’s not saying we’re not free to make choices, but rather not free from our purpose that is deep within our being, waiting to come out.
Purpose can be understood in two ways here: purpose in life, in other words something that will enrich you and the people around you, or: the purpose you’re supposed to do. “Supposed” is a very offsetting word, it could lead you down the path of doing things you really don’t want to. It’s recommended to drop supposed from your vocabulary and see how much it changes your views on things, and how much of a choice you have. There is one thing I know that is very true, and I want you to read this very carefully: You’ve already determined — before you began this life — what your purpose is, you’re only here to remember what that was and to perform it in this world.
People ask the most important question when everything appears to go completely wrong: “What is my purpose?” And, “Why the hell am I here on this planet?” Answers to these questions are never easy, because of the amount of distractions in our lives that we deal with on a daily basis. These days more and more people are starting to realize that they hate their jobs, you see it everywhere, and it’s becoming a more commonly talked topic among friends. If you’re one of those people who can’t wait until Friday or watches the clock closely until it’s 5pm, or the end of your shift, then you’re in this category. It sucks; you want to get out of there, never come back… but… you need the money to pay your bills, buy food and allow you to do the things you choose to do. You need that job, or else, you won’t survive — that’s what the majority of people say to themselves each day to keep them going. At the same time, this is the same thing that keeps you going in the ever lasting circle of tiredness, grumpiness, settling for less, thinking you can’t do more with your life, etc. On top of that, if you don’t do it, you won’t be accepted socially and often times, you’ll feel (or they’ll tell you) that you’re disappointing your family. What are we supposed to do?
To really find your purpose requires compassion, discipline, and motivation — lots and lots of discipline. The first thing you have to realize is that the things you need in your life are very valid. Yes, you need money to have a place to sleep, eat, etc. There isn’t any reason to deny or try to cover up that basic fact, however, your purpose can fulfil those needs, but only if you let them. Let’s step back for a moment; let’s say you have a job you hate already and you just want to know what your purpose is, because by knowing it you’ll feel a little more confident about pursuing your purpose. The amount of time needed to find your purpose can take from ten minutes to ten years — that’s where the discipline comes in, so don’t beat yourself up about the time frame. Breathe, here’s what you need to do:
For a little while, drop the whole idea about needing to survive, the world won’t explode if you spend time thinking about what you really want in life for a little while. Relax, turn off the T.V., ask someone to look after the kids, close your eyes on the train or bus, rid yourself of the distractions and think about what you really like to do. Go as far back as to when you were a small child; what did you love doing? What made you smile the most? What made the time just fly by when you did it? Let the answers come to you, don’t worry about time, relax and allow the answers to reach you — this is where compassion comes in, because you’ll doubt the first thought that’ll come into your mind and then the whole judging process will begin. Instead of judging those thoughts, follow them and see where they take you. Repeat it: What do I love to do? What makes me feel good about myself? If you don’t know then rephrase the question: What would I love to do? What would make me feel good about myself when I do it? For some it’ll just come, take note about how happy or joyful you feel. A few might run into some blocks, but ride those thoughts you think were what you liked until you do. Many others might not come up with anything, if you come up dry, there is a task you’ll need to do for fifteen days — yes, some more discipline here.
For the first week, twice a day, think of something that would give you the highest joy in the very moment. This could be telling a friend a funny joke or doing a small drawing during your lunch break. You can choose when and where to do it, but to get the best effect from it, do it right in the middle of something else — that’s right, be a little crazy and take a chance. Then, write down what you did and keep it handy. The second week, do it three times every day and document it. Once you’ve completed that, go back to asking yourself the questions in the paragraph above.
Motivation is going to be the biggest anchor to the whole process, tied in with some more discipline. Keep in mind your biggest motivation is the job you hate right now, so focus as much as you can on finding your purpose so you can either A. get the hell out of there, or B. feel happier in yourself and make your work environment a pleasant one. Know and believe that your purpose is there, you haven’t gone through you whole life not knowing what you love — that’s impossible. Something, somewhere, gave a hint to what it is and you must play the detective role to find it — be Batman about it. There are plenty of inspirational materials out there, however, that won’t keep you going. You, are going to have to keep you going. Once you’ve accepted that you’re the one in control of your life, you’ve found all the power!
Overall, if you’re already asking yourself these questions, you’re already on the way. If you haven’t realized, your purpose is there waiting for you to discover it and you’ve got to dig for it. Dig for it like you need money so you can quit that job you hate, dig for it like you need air to breathe, dig for it as if someone is holding a gun to your head. Dig, then dig some more. Have compassion for yourself and don’t give up, because otherwise you’re going to end up feeling like crap in a few weeks time when the whole cycle starts again. Don’t go in circles. Don’t give up on you.
Never give up!