A Life Without Purpose is a Life Without Destination

A life without a purpose is a life without a destination. Like a boat adrift on the ocean, there is no telling where you might end up. With no direction to your life, you will be moved by random feelings and emotions into any harbor. Two thousand years ago the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote, “Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” Adrift at the mercy of random feelings or unidentified urges, you will be capable of any evil because you lack control of your own life.
 
Purpose provides a vision that leads you to a vocation rather than to a mere job. It provides for passion and meaning to replace tedium and aimlessness. The question “Why Am I Here?” goes much deeper than finding what career is best for you. Finding a purpose is ultimately a spiritual endeavor because it involves a process of connecting with something greater than yourself.
  
Paradoxically, however, the process also requires you to look within yourself for your answers because that is the only place you will ever find them. You cannot use my answer to the question of your purpose, nor your father’s. You must come to your purpose by your own road.
 
But we can help you find that road.
  
One of the signposts leading to your purpose is a direction indicated by your passions. You don’t simply sit down and think of a purpose; purpose is something that is always there in your soul. The task is to uncover it. Your purpose is like a treasure buried in your backyard. You don’t create the treasure, you simply uncover it. You don’t create your purpose, you simply discover what it is. And then you order your affairs so that the course of your life — the things you do, the way you spend your time, and the choices you make about allocating resources — all work together to move your purpose ahead.
 
You don’t figure out your purpose, you experience it.
 
Purpose always works its way out in action because passion is, at root, a matter of desire. Deliberately planned behaviors motivated by completely acknowledged desires result in the actions that move you and your circumstances into the life most appropriate to who you really are. Your life changes. The world changes because any person with a fully realized purpose cannot help but become a change-agent.
 
The course of your life becomes better than simply being a sequence of varying and sometimes competing emotions jostling one another like the pieces of an orchestra tuning up before a concert. Life becomes a symphony, your life the concert. A fully realized purpose banishes the dark forces of stress, fatigue, frustration, and dissatisfaction. It creates an inner sense of urgency; it allows you to be truly alive.
 
Note that purpose requires passion but can never be centered on lust, which is the will to dominate or control without associated feelings of love and affection. A genuine purpose always results in lifting one’s self and the world. A self-centered life will inevitably be flooded by the forces of stress, fatigue, and dissatisfaction that the working out of a genuine purpose will always alleviate. “The most important human endeavor,” Einstein wrote, “is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.”
 
We have to put away lust and base desires or we will live unfulfilled lives that will serve to bring down the people and the environment we are in contact with. Einstein rightly maintained that, “The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained to liberation from the self.” A fully realized purpose is the best means for attaining the liberation and the value that Einstein wrote about.
 
The destination is not the ultimate aim. The joy comes from the journey. Purpose is bound up in the process.
Bon voyage!
 
Jim White, PhD
Author & Creator of What’s My Purpose?
www.whatsmypurpose.com

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12 Responses to “A Life Without Purpose is a Life Without Destination”

  1. Ted Ciuba Says:

    Right on, Jim!

    I like this passage:

    One of the signposts leading to your purpose is a direction indicated by your passions. You don’t simply sit down and think of a purpose; purpose is something that is always there in your soul. The task is to uncover it. Your purpose is like a treasure buried in your backyard. You don’t create the treasure, you simply uncover it. You don’t create your purpose, you simply discover what it is. And then you order your affairs so that the course of your life — the things you do, the way you spend your time, and the choices you make about allocating resources — all work together to move your purpose ahead.

    I agree “Passion” is the magic touchstone. That’s passion is the 9th named principle in my *The NEW Think and Grow Rich*.

    I’d like to add emphasis to the “passion” dimension in the words from page 219 of *The NEW Think and Grow Rich*:

    When love and passion drive you - work is not work. It is easy. It is doing what you most prefer to do in all the world! Hours don’t matter. Hardship doesn’t count. You’re in flow, Baby!!! With passion, you don’t have to force yourself to work on your project, career, or finances… It’s not like a “job”. You find it impossible to do otherwise - by nature.

    Cheers, Ted Ciuba

  2. Mike Says:

    Hi Jim,

    Please do forgive me for this is far from a criticism.

    I’ve heard so much about having a “purpose” and a “passion” but I genuinely think I do not possess either.

    There is nothing about my life that really stirs me inwardly and absolutely no common thr3ead running through it that might indicate that I have any decernable raison d’etre. In fact I am astounded to report that there doesn’t seem to be any reason for me to “be” as a “being” at all that I can find.

    This is really sad because I would wish, with all my heart, that I could find passion and purpose in my life that would completely consume me and focus my efforts towards a single, clearly defined, end. Something that would leave my footprint in the world and one that makes a strongly positive difference in the lives of others.

    I can only hope that you’ve found some sort of “Magic bullet” that will open such a burning desire, such a tidal wave of passion, in my life. Could this be true? I want to believe, help thou my unbelief.

    Mike

  3. admin Says:

    Hi Mike,

    It’s Jim…

    I saw your posting and wanted to respond by saying you are a unqiue and special person with a very specific purpose.

    Please keep your heart open to finding your purpose. I am here to support you in your unique journey.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to talk.

    With appreciation

    Jim White

  4. Laura W-A Says:

    What if your passions, the things that keep you interested, just don’t make you any money and don’t come with health insurance? I keep my “day job” because it’s a source of steady income and health insurance. I’ve managed to combine it with one love - traveling - by working for a staffing company and only having to deal with one crappy set of hospital politics at a time (my job itself isn’t so bad - lab work isn’t bad, it’s dealing with
    the inevitably bad management that drives me to needing Nexium for my stress-induced acid reflux every time). I can take time off in between assignments to work on my art projects, and I’m taking writing courses to brush up on my long-neglected writing skills, and entering photography contests… but none of that will come with health insurance, which I HAVE to have.

    Next year, my goal is to buy a Sportsmobile (van camper) to live in while I travel, convert it to SVO (veggie oil), make the interior as eco-friendly as I can, and SOMEday be able to just travel in it and live off of my writing, photography, and other art projects. That was my goal when I was in grade school (only I wanted a double decker bus converted into an RV :-) ), but as the years went on, people convinced me that it was ridiculous and that there was no way I would be able to make money writing. So I gave up and, having NO idea what else I wanted to do with my life, ended in a career I didn’t really like just so I would have money and health insurance.

    Maybe I had a clearer idea of my life’s purpose in grade school than I did in college… but I still don’t know how to make it happen.

  5. Rakesh Says:

    Really inspiring. Thanks.

  6. Aloycia Says:

    Gteetings Jim,

    First I wanted to say that it’s not by chance that I was directed to your blog; because my mission and purpose in life is to help others to find and live their true passion and purpose in life. I share your beliefs about “a life without purpose, is a life without destination”! Hopefully we will cross paths along the journey of helping others to live their true purpose.

    I wanted to assure the individuals that communicated they do not feel as if they have a purpose, or they are not in touch or connected with their purpose, that you were born with specific purpose in life, there were no errors in your unique creation. In order to find your purpose, you first have to accept you were created to follow a specific path and purpose in your life. The next thing you may want to do, is begin to write the things that you are most passionate about. What ever you are most passionate about, the rewards will come a thousand folds. Yes one has to make a living, but making a living, and actually living are two entirely different entities. No one is born without purpose. It is your divine birth right, and the gift you were given! Spend some time soul searching and being still, and this stillness you will find the answers. There is so much I would like to share, but I would write a book, instead of a comment. I would love to share my insight, feel free to connect with me! To your continued success!!!

    Aloycia Woods
    http://www.livingyourdivinepurpose

  7. Machen MacDonald Says:

    The wonderful thing about purpose is that once you identify it for yourself you can apply it to everything you do; it becomes your way. You will have a new energy you may have never thought possible. The tricky part about purpose is that it is often disguised as what you love to do and comes so easily to you that you hallucinate everybody else can do it just as easily as you and is nothing special. Don’t be fooled. It can be as simple as following your bliss.
    It’s your purpose…so…make it up, make it fun, make it happen!
    All the best,
    Machen MacDonald
    Founder, http://www.ProBrilliance.com

  8. Othman Says:

    How true! Purpose No. 1 of our life is to find the purpose. That is not an easy task. Most people don’t discover their purpose and some don’t even care to think about it. But if we want to have a life of meaning and happiness, we must find our purpose and live accordingly. Thanks a lot for the great website.

  9. Lynn Lane Says:

    “A Life Without Action Is A Life Without Pupose” …R. L. Lane
    http://www.LynnLane.net

  10. Jolene Christopherson Says:

    Jim,
    I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in today’s teleconference call. It was a great time of learning and I truly appreciated all of the great information I recieved. I finally found my purpose about a year ago and have been pursuing it ever since. That is what stemmed the creation of my website. My theory is that by you prosper by creating a successful life. And a successful life mean have success in all areas of your life beit, physical health, relationships, financial wealth, mental & emotional wellbeing and spiritual wellbeing. It’s been a slow process and I know I have a long way to go but I will continue that journey. Your advice and input through blogs and conferences are a huge help and inspiration as well as motivating. Thank you so much.
    Jolene

  11. vincent Says:

    I like you post..this is 100% correct

  12. Pastor Ibitayo Emmanuel Says:

    A life without a purpose is a life without a manifesto.

 

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