In quiet, reflective moments, most of us would acknowledge that there is something missing from our lives, something half-finished, something envisioned but never realized.
They search everywhere for that elusive “purpose” that will bring clarity, give meaning to their lives and bring happiness to them. This “something” usually relates to a disconnect between who we are and what we do, between what we want and what we have, or between what we set out to do and what we achieve. We sense that we are underachieving relative to our potential and promise.
Millions hunger for a clear sense of purpose – that something they can wrap their arms and heart around that will make their life worthwhile and rewarding at maximum levels. This hunger drives them to invest time and a lot of money in things purported to provide the nourishment they so desire…and need.
Life presents us with more paths to happiness and fulfillment than ever—yet millions of us still live unfulfilled lives. Existing not living to the fullest. Without a clearly identified purpose. We are constantly searching for the secret to a life full of happiness, joy, peace, and contentment. We accumulate books, tapes, and knowledge—but not wisdom or results. We have more degrees, but no greater level of success than before.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life but not life to years.
Why is this happening when there is a staggering surplus of information, techniques, and methodologies on how to live a rewarding life? There are more “experts” than ever before, yet we still wrestle with the same old problems. In both our personal and professional lives, we are exposed to a wider diversity of people, ideas, success concepts, and approaches. Still, even with all this abundance, something is missing.
Millions of us search for that something, that secret, that special key that will give us joy, but it stays just out of reach. Sadly, many of us look in the wrong places to find purpose, happiness, and contentment, and so we become increasingly disappointed, disillusioned, frustrated, discouraged, and dejected.
So many seem to be saying, “If only I could change jobs, lose weight, earn more money, have a new car, be out of debt, or win the lottery, then everything would be okay.”
But, these things and events aren’t the sources of happiness. For too long we’ve put too much faith in wrong ideas and methods about how we can achieve a life that is on purpose, joyful and meaningful.
Even when we reach the pinnacle of our careers, we invariably ask, “Is that all there is?” We find the things we worked for—once attained—have little meaning. Then we ask, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I not happy? What’s missing?”
What’s wrong is that we are pursuing the wrong objectives, going down the wrong paths.
Televisions, bookstores, radio stations, and newsstands are filled with thousands of experts offering the same sound-byte advice on how to attain goals. These gurus all seem to share the same recipes for success: a dash of psychobabble, a sprinkling of gobbledygook, and a heaping portion of positive thinking. The final product resembles a 10-day old loaf of bread—moldy, stale, and barely digestible with no taste or nutritional benefit. No wonder after trying the recipe for weeks, months, or even years, we are unhappy and unsatisfied with what we’re finding or the results they are getting.
Every year tens of millions set goals hoping this will bring them the missing joy or happiness. They write down the goals and read them frequently expecting this exercise to result is a greater level of success and thusly fill a need they have. Then, to their dismay, they find that most of these goals do not become reality. Year after year they go through this process hoping that “this time it will be different”.
It never is because ninety percent of the time their “goals” are not in sync with their heart’s purpose.
Many of these same individuals also recite daily affirmations hoping that exercise will cause them to achieve joy, happiness, wealth, or anything else that they don’t have. They follow some guru’s advice to put them in conspicuous places so they see them all the time expecting that the message written and read frequently will imprint itself on their brain and help them achieve that affirmation. Train the brain is the mantra. It is promised that constant repetition is the “secret” to success and happiness. This common practice also results in failure.
They will pay thousands of dollars to attend motivational seminars or will buy ten, twenty, or a hundred self-help books hoping that these will help them find that indescribable something they long for but can’t pin down. Motivational speakers can do a good job of motivating people while they are them but two weeks later their life is the same. And self-help books, though often full of sage advice, almost always become a bevy of dust collectors on some forgotten shelf.
It is sad that the end result of all these methods and techniques to find a heartfelt, life-enhancing, purpose-filled life just doesn’t work like everyone hopes it will. This happens primarily due to the fact they do not touch on the “heart” of the matter.
If the heart is involved things happen, obstacles are overcome and challenges are met with resolve.
The brain can learn whatever it takes to solve problems and make results a reality. However, if the heart is not the driving force — if only the mind is engaged, dissatisfaction or outright failure will be the result. Without the resolve of a clear and concise, heartfelt purpose or why, barriers will seem impenetrable and the storms of life will rage and wash away our hopes. But with a full purpose of heart, those things may slow us down but will stop us. We’ll get an umbrella, find a ladder, dig under, go around or smash through all barriers. Heart set versus mindset. A mindset will not bring lasting joy.
Only a heart set on a purpose the “why”, that really matters, will do that.
People who are fulfilled and full of passion are always crystal clear about those things that matter to them, their core desires — their deep, heartfelt purpose. When we are clear about what those are, and we may have many of them in our lives, we set about making these things happen with dedication and power that always results in a lifetime of accomplishment.
But that only happens when the identified “why” or “purpose” pierces us to the deepest core of our being.
It is that intense yearning, craving, even demanding desire for some outcome that really matters to us. Many with this kind of laser clarity of purpose have impacted the lives of millions of others. They were absolutely sure about their core desires and purpose in life.
For Martin Luther King equality was paramount. Mother Teresa committed her life to help the destitute. Sir Winston Churchill wanted to save England; Gandhi was totally dedicated to making change happen without violence. What do all people who achieve at high levels and reach the maximum of satisfaction and fulfillment this life has to offer, have in common?
They are all vividly clear about their heart’s desires and their “why” their purpose in life. And because of that….they let nothing stop them.
The “why” or the purpose is a totally individual thing and it ranges across a full spectrum of emotions. Purpose does not know right from wrong. It is nondenominational. It can be left or right. It has incredible power for good — or for evil.
For some, it is to be a gold medalist in the Olympics and for another, it is being the best mother or father possible. Some seek fame or fortune. For some it is world domination and control of others… at all costs….regardless of the rights of others.
However, the ultimate and life-changing most fulfilling purpose for every human being is to learn and experience that it is in the service of others wherein one does his or her best to bless those less fortunate, that true joy comes.