In the moments when you're in touch with your inner strength and wisdom, the part of you that can accomplish whatever you put your mind to, it seems that anything is possible -- and I believe it is. We are truly limitless. But if you're like me, life and its endless busy-ness get in the way of our aiming as high as we'd like. I've always appreciated what Sogyal Rinpoche said on the subject:
If we look into our lives, we will see clearly how many unimportant tasks, so called "responsibilities," accumulate to fill them up. One master compares them to housekeeping in a dream. We tell ourselves that we want to spend time on the important things of life, but there never is any time.
Life slips by and our most meaningful dreams slide silently to the side while we're getting everything else done. Whether you're 20 or 90, this issue can keep us from doing what matters most. Worse yet, we don't have all the time in the world to get back on track. Life goes quickly -- and more so with every passing year.
I can clearly remember telling my grandma that I couldn't wait for Christmas, and she replied, "Just you wait. One day when you're older, time will go by so quickly you'll want it to slow down." Recently in a 60 Minutes interview, Dame Maggie Smith (Lady Grantham on Downton Abbey) said that Noel Coward once told her that "the awful thing about getting old is that you have breakfast every half-hour."
The purpose of my life is to contribute to the happiness and well-being of as many people as possible. For example, I believe that these blog posts are on that path -- at least that's my intention. But lately I've become a master procrastinator when it comes to getting them written. I watched myself this morning, rushing from one little task to another, telling myself that they'd only take a moment -- and then I'd sit down and get started. Three hours later I finally took control, sat myself down, and started writing.
What's the answer? Well for one thing, stop focusing on your age and write a vision for your life -- because if you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there. And besides, the best way to develop your gifts and talents is to really use them.
To make it easier, I've refined a three-step process to guide you to your personal vision. In this blog post, the focus is on the first step. For years I've used this same process with others -- and they've passed it on -- and the results have been extraordinary.
Step 1: What is the purpose of my life?
Big question, I know. People tend to think of this as one of life's greatest mysteries. But the good news is that you already know the answer. It's not as if you have to come up with something new or feel guilty because you've been purposeless up till now. Just give yourself a bit of time to think and it will reveal itself.
Remember, this is not a test of whether you've been a good person in your life. Nor is finding your purpose meant to make you decide what to do with your life. When you discover it, you'll see that there are limitless opportunities to fulfill your purpose every day. For example, if yours were "to make others happy," then your job, your home life, your money, your time -- every moment would be an opportunity to fulfill it.
Your life purpose, as distinct from your goals, is ongoing and never-ending. It's the context for all that you do and for the goals that you set for yourself.
So give yourself some quiet time to probe your inner wisdom with questions such as these -- remembering to write down your answers.
- When have I felt good about what I've done and felt satisfied afterward?
- What was I doing at those times? What was I up to?
- What was my basic underlying purpose for these activities?
- What difference do I want to make?
- What is the purpose of my life?
Write down whatever occurs to you, no editing -- including the last question. Trust the process, have faith, and listen to your inner wisdom.
What's great about knowing your purpose is that you can consciously act in accordance with it. And one thing I know for sure -- the more I'm wasting time doing things that don't really matter, the more I suffer; and the more I live in alignment with my purpose, the greater my happiness and satisfaction.
One of the most important points to remember is that your purpose is not something your going toward or want to achieve nor a destination. Rather, it has the potential to shape whatever you do in every moment.
It's the journey, not the destination, that brings the joy!
Please leave a comment below or write to me: email@example.com. I'd love to hear your thoughts about aiming high.
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