While the question of what is one’s life purpose is a timeless inquiry, I believe we’re now at a point where our perspective of life purpose is evolving. This is a time of transition from the old, cultural perspective to a new perspective – the Life On Purpose Perspective.
The old cultural perspective says your life purpose is what you’re supposed to do with your life. When you operate from this perspective and go to answer the question, “What then is my own personal life purpose?” many people identify their work as their life purpose. Others may identify some primary role in life as their life purpose. For women, this is often to be a good mother or a loyal spouse. For men, they may define their purpose as being a good provider or a good dad or husband.
But let’s consider this term — life purpose — for a moment. Doesn’t it make sense that your life purpose should encompass all of your life, not just certain segments of it? Another common outcome of operating from this cultural perspective is that we often end up with a life filled to overflowing with doing, doing, doing, and for many people they may find themselves ‘doing more and more while enjoying it less and less.’
So, let’s consider another perspective: the Life On Purpose Perspective. It goes like this:
Your life purpose is the context, vessel or container into which your pour your life.
Said another way, consider that your life purpose is more about who you are as a spiritual being and what you came here to this life to be and to experience. Since this is a new perspective for many people, let’s explore it in more depth by going through the following exercise together.
I have found that labeling the various circles of the diagram above helps to integrate this perspective into your thinking so please, play along with me.
Circle 1 represents the doing or action part of life, so write in these words:
And there’s a relationship between that circle and circle 2 which represents the having aspect of life, so write in circle 2 these words:
We often do things so that we can have things. For example, I went to seven years of college to earn a degree in veterinary medicine. This relationship is represented by the top semicircle arrow. Of course, as I’ve already alluded to, if we’re not mindful we can easily slip into a vicious circle of doing…having… doing…having, etc. This can lead to a sense of ‘doing more and more while enjoying life less and less.’
This vicious circle is often the product of the cultural perspective regarding your life purpose, and it’s really easy to get trapped in the vicious circle, in part because it’s so much a part of our culture. Our culture being the way we do things, especially in our Western society. Also, these two aspects of life occur in the physical part of our world, and it’s pretty easy for us to stay aware of the physical aspect of life with our five senses.
However, there’s simply a lot more to life than the physical aspect, so let’s see how we can access a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in our lives.
That’s what we’ll explore next time.