image by Marty.FM
You may be wondering why I have a picture of a pinball up above. Take a moment and visualize a pinball bouncing around. Often there is no set path it goes. The little clickers at the bottom ‘whack’ the pinball back up in hopes it hits a few things and scores more points. Sometimes the pinball gets through the middle and is lost. The goal of pinball is to score as many points as possible by hitting the ball back up over and over.
I Have To Admit…
I don’t quite know my purpose at times. Ever felt this way? I bounce around with ideas thinking, “Maybe I’ll try that.” Or, “I’ll give that a try and see how it goes.” And often I feel like the pinball, bouncing around in the machine with no rhyme or reason to what I am doing. It can be a devastating and piercing blow to action when this is happening. Sometimes I wonder, “Am I really doing what I am supposed to be doing?”
It’s difficult, isn’t it? Trying to find the exact path to take in your life. I know this all to well. As a young man in middle school, around the age of 13, I thought for sure that I’d make computer games the rest of my life. As I entered high school and began to play basketball, I thought, “Maybe I’ll play in the NBA, that sure would be great!” Still further life went along and none of these two things came to pass. Coming home from a two year service mission in Ireland, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. So I figured I’d do what everyone else was doing.
Going to college
I went to college because it seemed to be the logical step after high school and my service mission. And other people had done it, so I didn’t feel to non-conformist by making this leap. Any of you ever experienced that? Did you go to college just because people in your family did? Or did you do it because your parents made you? Or did you do it just to get out of the house? Or did you go to college at all? And then I got to college and didn’t know what to study. Ever experienced this frustration before?
So you just try something. In my case, I tried ‘Computer Science’, which involved programming and creating software for computers. Sometimes you just try something when you want to proceed don’t you? You sample it. “Maybe this will be good,” you ask. As the pinball bounces around randomly, I have done the same. You just bounce around and see what ‘sticks’.
If you went to college, what did you study? Why did you choose to study what you did? Were you certain of yourself at that time?
Life after college
I like to call this the limbo years. Sure I was married and had an awesome wife. But I just went one day to the next. I woke up without a plan or real idea of what I wanted to have my life be like. Sure I worked jobs as a web developer and did stuff. But I don’t recall much of my life in my 20’s. And I think that is because I didn’t have any meaningful purpose set out. It was just one big long run of get up, work, come home, watch TV/play on the computer – and then rinse and repeat the next day.
Maybe many of you had an ‘awakening’ at some point in your life. I’ve found that most of the people I’ve seen online doing wonderful things had some moment in their life where they had had enough of the way things were. Whether it was a job, a marriage, a situation, someting, there was a moment of being discontented enough that it prompted a major shift. For me, this was sitting down at the computer over a year ago, playing the computer game, “World of Warcraft”.
I had had it. I was just mindlessly wandering around in the game, seeing so many others doing the same, and realized that my life was slipping through my fingers. The opportunities to gain in knowledge and skill were fluttering away. I was being a dis-service to my family by wasting hours and hours on the game each and every day. And so I quit it, right then and there and stopped. This I believe is the path to purpose. A moment of being so disturbed, that the purpose is then sought out.
Finding true purpose
I’ve met some extraordinary people here on the web. Many of them seem clear on their purpose. I am more clear now, but a definite purpose is something I am still defining. Sure, I want to help people and make a difference in the world. Doesn’t everyone really? This is where I am getting specific. What will be the vehicle for making a difference. What am I good at? What can I bring enough value to to make an impact to you who are reading this right now? This website is the start of my purpose. Who knows what form it will take 5 years from now. But I am seeking and getting specific. If you are struggling with your purpose, get specific. What are you good at, or what do you want to be good at so that you can contribute to other’s through it?
I’m not sure purpose can be fully discovered at any given moment. Life changes. Events happen. But the best description you can create for your purpose is what creates action. Look at a bee on a flower. Look at the sun giving nutrients to plants. Look at water giving life. Look at anything in life and a purpose is not too far off. A chair for sitting, a pool for swimming, a pencil for writing. Your purpose will give you meaning AND ACTION. Because you know what you are supposed to be doing. If your purpose is not defined, life will find one for you – and it will generally be something you are not happy doing. Why not be proactive and spend time each morning contemplating your existence!
In my next article, I will introduce a very unique website to you. The owner of it has a detailed interview that you can go through to really see what your purpose in life is. I will be going through the interview and answering the questions. I’ve said it before and will say it again. There are extraordinary people here on the Internet doing wonderful things with their websites. So much passion and intelligence in one place. It’s a lot to take in! But what a wonderful thing it is. If you haven’t already, take a look at the I.P.W.. There are super people there worth listening to!
The next article is ready and you can read my interview here.
My friends: What is your purpose? Are you still trying to figure that purpose out? What are the ways in which you will use your purpose in life to contribute to others?