A person without purpose sometimes tries to fill their lack of purpose with someone else’s purpose—finding temporary relief from their own lack of conviction or belief that real purpose creates. This temporary relief is never enough. The danger in letting someone else’s purpose fill you is it has the potential to leave you frustrated even if you are financially prosperous. For example, say you’re a doctor and the only reason you chose that profession is that your father and grandfather were doctors. You blindly followed in their footsteps because it was expected of you. Then one day, you wake up and realize that something is missing in your life. Being a doctor is not what you wanted to do with your life.
Some people believe that they need to go out there and look for a purpose. That is a fallacy. Finding one’s purpose is as challenging if not as illusory as the quest of finding El Dorado or the fabled treasures of the Aztecs. The fundamental truth about purpose that is sadly not realized by many, is that one doesn’t actually find purpose. More often than not, purpose finds you
1. Never stop seeking
Purpose is rarely identifiable. More often than not, you will not see it the first time, even if it bumps into you. In many cases, your purpose will gradually permeate your life like a light drizzle and turn into a downpour that will leave you soaked to the skin. We can try to ignore the drizzle, but we have to embrace the downpour. Purpose is not meant to be just found, it has to be excavated. It is like a well. You have to dig deep before you get to the water.
2. Your purpose will find you
This may seem like a contradiction to the above point. Despite the above statement that you cannot stop seeking, your purpose will never find you until you are ready to be found. Seeking constantly and continuously is how your purpose will find you. As you start seeking, you must work on yourself first. Only then will you begin to work on everything around you. The best analogy for this is that it is better to dig well fifty meters deep in one spot as opposed to digging fifty wells of one meter each. The deeper well will increase your chances of finding water. Relating this to life, you need to keep working and preparing yourself for whenever your purpose finds you. You will then be ready to undertake its journey.
3. Once found, never let go
Just like digging a well, you may take a while before you are able to identify your purpose, but once you have identified it, you need to glue yourself to it. Your purpose will change your very existence. Your daily life will stop being a grind simply because it has a purpose. The more mundane features of your life will become bearable.
Please do not get me wrong. The monotony of daily life will not turn to instant joy because one has found purpose, but it will become much more bearable. Just like the passing view on a train journey, the monotony will fall into the background. The beauty of having and identifying your purpose is that the journey itself becomes a joy, for you see yourself gradually getting closer to achieving that purpose. Your life will have meaning, which means your birth has meaning. Even if you fail, you will have made a difference.
Any act done with totality becomes a prayer.
– In the Sphere of Silence
4. Purpose is just the beginning
Your journey begins once you find your purpose, but it is not the destination. You have to complete the journey. Purpose has to be honed, improved, applied and developed. It takes a lifetime of experience and discovery. You know you have found your purpose when you do not keep tabs on the effort you put toward it. It is simply a joy to do what you are doing.
5. Take the blinkers off
About the Author Vijay Eswaran
Peripheral vision opens the door to finding your purpose. It is rare that we find our purpose right in front of us. You have to incorporate all that peripheral vision brings into your life. Peripheral vision is like salt. It is not the food itself, but it makes all the difference to what you eat. Keep your options open, and leave your inhibitions behind. Your purpose will find its way to you.
Vijay Eswaran is a successful entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and philanthropist. An economist by training, he is the founder of a multimillion-dollar global business and the author of the best-selling book In the Sphere of Silence. Eswaran is a well-known thought leader in Asia and has written and spoken extensively about business, leadership, personal development, and life management. When not traveling the globe on business, he is a passionate advocate for improving the quality of higher education in South East Asia. Eswaran is the recipient of numerous awards for entrepreneurship and business leadership and has been featured in Forbes as one of Asia’s Top 50 philanthropists. He is also on the advisory board of the World Economic Forum’s Global Growth Companies, and a regular speaker at WEF’s annual meeting in Davos. For more information, visit www.vijayeswaran.com/2mins.
By Vijay Eswaran, author of Two Minutes From The Abyss