Are you just moving dirt?
“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Bryne
This question came to me after reading a passage in a book called “A New Beginning” by Abraham Hicks. Esther Hicks had previously worked in a facility for the mentally-impaired and she mentioned an occasion when she had seen some of the patients using machines to lift big mounds of dirt from one area of the grounds to the other and then back again. After asking someone what they were doing exactly, she received the reply: “Oh, nothing really. We’re just keeping them busy. Giving them something to do.”
At the time it struck her, as it struck me when I read the story, about how meaningless it was, that there must be more to life than just pushing dirt around for no reason and never actually cleaning up or making progress. And this is actually a great metaphor for life because when you think about it, so many of us, at some times in our lives, are doing just that, moving from one activity to another without any goal. In fact, this is the main reason why so many people feel listless and “world-weary”, they’re just drifting through life with no sense of purpose, no real meaning. They’re no longer at the steering wheel of their life. They’ve given the keys to somebody else because they’ve forgotten their destination.
Why bother to find our purpose?
“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive”. – Oprah Winfrey
When we take control of our lives and find out what our purpose is (some refer to it as a “calling”), our life suddenly becomes so much more exciting, exhilarating and fulfilling. We feel “alive”, no longer sleepwalking through our existence but running, jumping, even whooping across it! Each day has a specific objective – to fulfill our potential in the best way we can.
Let’s face it, we all need to feel like we’re making a difference in some way, like we “count”, like we’re doing something worthwhile. Once, we’ve found our purpose, we know why we’re here and it doesn’t feel a bit like “work”.
So, how can we find our purpose?
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs
Answer some of these questions to help you start connecting the dots in your life:
1. What kind of roles or tasks do you enjoy doing? What drains you of energy?
2. When in the past have you felt that you were really “in your element”, when everything just seemed to flow?
3. Let’s imagine your life experiences so far have trained you for something. What do you feel your life has prepared you to do?
4. If you had all the money you needed and no fear of failure, what would you spend your life doing?
5. What do other people who know you well say that you are born to do or ask you for help because you’re better at it than them?
6. What have you done so far that has been of great benefit to others?
7. Where do you feel you are the most effective in your life?
8. What do you feel passionate about in life? (when do you feel excited, enthusiastic, filled with energy?
9. What have you done that you are most proud of?
10. Write out 10 things for your bucket list that you want to do or experience in life, just for the fun of it.
11. Imagine you are at the end of your life. What dream would you regret most if you never took the risk of trying to fulfill it?
And last but not least….
12. If nothing changes in your life, how will you feel?
Analyze your answers and listen to your gut instinct, your inner voice. That little voice that has been whispering all along that you deserve more than this. Which answer/part makes your heart sing the most when you read it? Is there a common link that connects some of your replies?
Remember, don’t over-reflect, you need to leave yourself space for answers to come. I suggest you go and do something completely different, something that takes your mind off this reflection and just wait patiently for the answers to come. Because they will.
In the meantime, be proud of yourself that you’ve made the first step on your journey towards “spring cleaning” your life. No more moving dirt for you…
“Live Life with a Purpose and Live it Full Out” – Steve Maraboli.
Images courtesy of Unsplash