May 31, 2020
In last week's Sabbath Ramblings, I described the vast importance of Presence, and how the growing awareness of the magic of Presence influenced my own retooling of my purpose statement for life. You can read that post in it's entirety (something I recommend doing before reading this post) here.
But how exactly does one form a purpose statement, and why is that important anyways?
That's exactly what you're about to discover.
Why Purpose Is Important
Let's start here…
In a “cut” section of my book Boundless—which was originally to be an entire chapter on the Biology of Belief (my beloved publishers wound up cutting over 450 pages, but they all “live on” on the book website as bonus sections for any Boundless book owners)—I include what I refer to in that chapter as “my final, most potent tip for increasing your energy vibration and the vibrations of all people around you,” and it was this…
…identify your purpose in life and enable yourself to achieve that unique purpose to the very best of your ability while loving God and loving others as fully as possible with that purpose.
See, when it comes to being happy and living a long time, it’s not your 48th ayahuasca trip, relentless pursuit of six-pack abs, a better WOD time, finally discovering the perfect diet, polyamory and open relationships, or any other recent infatuation of the health, wellness, and longevity movement. All flesh and blood is like a plant that eventually dies: just look around. The fastest track athlete will eventually be defeated by muscle loss, neural degradation, and arthritis. The most beautiful supermodel in the world will not be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue when she’s ninety-seven years old. Even wealthy, powerful CEOs get betrayed by their bodies and die.
Yep, we fade. We wither away. As 1 Peter 1:24 in the Bible says: “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.”
What is in fact contributing most to your energy vibrations at any given moment isn’t your beauty or your fitness or your accomplishments—but rather your soul. Your spirit. Therein lies your ability to be truly boundless. I even have a tattoo on my shoulder that I emblazoned onto my skin when I was just 20 years old. It’s the Japanese Kanji symbol for Ki: which is also known as chi, soul, spirit, chakra, prana, and the invisible, boundless life force that flows through all of us. Caring for this all-encompassing energy of my body is how I live my life.
See, true and lasting happiness is not achieved by external circumstances, not your thoughts, not your intentions, not even your feelings, but your inner soul. In his book Soul Keeping, author John Ortberg defines the soul as that aspect of your whole being that correlates, integrates and enlivens everything else. He writes that we all have two worlds: an outer world that is visible and public and obvious, and an inner world that may be chaotic and dark, or may be gloriously beautiful.
In the end, the outer world fades, and all you are left with then is your inner world.
But ironically, the more obsessed we are with ourselves, our fitness, our cognitive performance, our finances, and our food, the more we tend to neglect our souls. When your soul is not centered and right, you tend to define yourself by your accomplishments, your physical appearance, your title, or your social circles and friends. But then, when you lose these, you tend to lose your identity. I’ve experienced this myself when I’ve gotten injured, sick, or had a poor race or workout and subsequently felt like I was losing my happiness and transitioning to a lower level of energy vibration because I was losing my identity as an athlete or a healthy person. Suddenly the emptiness of those shallow pursuits becomes distinctly magnified. Perhaps this is why one of my favorite Bible verses, Mark 8:36 says, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
So how do you connect with and care for your soul? I’ll tell you how.
You must ask yourself: What is the core part of you that you want folks to talk about at your funeral?
In other words, what is your purpose?
If you’re not clear on this, ask some people who know you well to describe why they think God put you on earth and what your unique skills and talents are that seem to flow naturally from you. Ask them what should be written on your gravestone. Ask them what they think your purpose is. I’ll hazard a guess that it’s not that you were the best exerciser, or followed an amazing, flawless diet, or had gorgeous skin, or made oodles of money.
But it’s not enough to simply identify your purpose (a process I'll teach you how to do shortly). To truly connect with and care for your soul, you must connect with your inner self, and ask yourself this one question:
“What aspect of my life can I change today that will allow me to care for my soul so that I can identify and achieve that purpose?”
Maybe it’s a meditation practice. Maybe it’s stepping into a church. Maybe it’s mending a torn relationship. Maybe it’s stopping to breathe. Maybe it’s dropping a relentless pursuit of a better body and brain and instead realizing that you’ve been horribly skewed and that to truly achieve deep, meaningful satisfaction in life, you must begin to care for the most important part of you that will exist for eternity and begin to share that discovery with the rest of the world by living your entire life based on your core purpose. No matter what it is that must change, you’ll find that you must often radically change your environment and change your habits. This might mean staying in bed an extra ten minutes to gratitude journal, ditching the evening Netflix show to hang out instead with the family, or taking a weekend rest day to go and volunteer at the homeless shelter rather than going on a 2-hour bike ride or doing back-to-back workouts.
So let me ask you this: What is your purpose? And how alive is your soul so that you can identify and fuel that purpose? Now, take a deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Feel your spirit. Feel your soul. Feel it? It’s there; it may be shriveled up and dry and neglected but it’s there, ready for you to grow and nurture it. Take one more deep breath in through your nose, then smile and breathe out. You are an amazing soul. You are here for a purpose.
Are you now convinced that having a purpose is of pretty big importance in your life? If so, and if you still need help identifying or developing your purpose and your personal why, then keep reading.
How To Find Your Purpose In Life
So now we get down to brass tacks. How exactly does one identify their purpose in life?
I've studied up on this quite a bit, and there are plenty of purpose-finding materials and resources I've thoroughly read and reviewed, with some of my favorites including:
- Claim Your Power by Mastin Kipp
- Limitless by Jim Kwik
- Personality Isn't Permanent by Benjamin Hardy
- The Values Factor by John DeMartini
- Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper
- True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George
- Websites such as Life Purpose Quiz, TheWhyStack.com, StartWithWhy.com, and WhyInstitute.com
Geez. That's a lot of content about purpose.
So do you now need to drop everything and spend the next three months of your life reading all that?
You'd probably come out the other side a better, more purposeful person.
But one area in which I think I can do you a convenient service is to succinctly distill into a few key tips what I personally learned from each of these books and websites, and what I see as recurring themes in most purpose-finding literature and resources like those cited above. I can guarantee that if you use the following steps and tips I've created to identify your purpose, you'll have harnessed 80% of the goodness from those resources above and be left with the option to delve into them on your own free time, if you so desire.
So here we go. I recommend that as you read the steps below, you sit down with a journal and jot down your replies with a pen or pencil and paper. You may even want to print this article and tuck it into a journal so you can step away from the computer, e-reader, or smartphone so you're in a different set and setting with fewer distractions and notifications as you complete these exercises.
How To Find Your Purpose In Life, Step 1: What did you like to do when you were a kid?
You were born with a unique set of skills and talents—things you tend to be good at based on the way your brain is wired, the way your genetics are assembled, and the way your body is built. As a result of these nature-based traits, along with nurture-based influence from the family and households you grew up in, you likely tend to enjoy and be good at specific activities.
For example, I grew up absolutely loving reading books; writing stories; learning via documentaries, courses, and movies; teaching what I learned to others; singing songs; speaking in front of people; creating art and new ideas; and competing in sports and other games, such as chess and video games.
So my own personal purpose statement is…
…”To Read & Write, Learn & Teach, Sing & Speak, Compete & Create In Full Presence & Selfless Love, To The Glory Of God.”
See how that weaves in many of the same things that made me excited when I was a kid? Those are the activities that still ignite my joy and put me into a state of flow.
If you're a bit foggy about what you were actually like and what you enjoyed to do when you were a little boy or a little girl, then, if your parents or relatives who were close to you at that time are still alive, invite those folks out to dinner or a coffee. When you sit down with them, ask them one question:
“What was I like when I was a kid?”
That's it. Then prepare to sit back, listen, and take notes.
How To Find Your Purpose In Life, Step 2: What puts you “in the zone” now?
In positive psychology, a flow state, also known as “being in the zone,” is a mental state in which you are performing an activity where you are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, enjoyment, and presence in the process of that activity.
For example, if I sit down in front of a blank Word document on my computer and begin to write, my concept of time vanishes. I'll write for hours. Words just flow out of me. I don't think about food or drink, and I'm often oblivious to everything else going on around me, even if I'm in a busy coffee shop. I've always been wired that way. My wife, on the other hand, absolutely detests writing and would rather walk on a bed of nails than pen an essay. However, if you plant her in front of a blank canvas and give her a set of paintbrushes and oil, she'll absolutely bloom, painting for hours on end as she enters the zone with a satisfied smile on her face. (I, on the other hand, will cringe as I forcefully attempt to “make art happen.”)
So what puts you in the zone at this point in your life? Writing? Art? Craftsmanship like woodworking or building something with your hands? Gardening? Exercise? Programming?
Identify those activities, and weave them into your purpose statement. I guarantee you'll find overlap between those activities and what you enjoyed doing when you were a kid.
How To Find Your Purpose In Life, Step 3: What naturally comes easy to you?
This may seem a bit redundant with what you enjoyed doing when you were a kid and what puts you in the zone now, but it's important to take into account because if your purpose statement is built around those activities that naturally come easy to you, you'll be highly self-actualized as you live out that purpose statement. Self-actualized people are those who are significantly fulfilled, driven, and joyful in their day-to-day activities. For self-actualized people living out their true purpose in life, a day of work often feels like a day of play.
And guess what? There's absolutely nothing to be ashamed about if work comes easy to you. Often, we have a belief pattern, perhaps influenced by the traditional so-called Puritanical work ethic philosophy* that a day of work needs to be a day of drudge, drenched in blood, sweat, and tears; and we frequently believe that only at the end of a day of work can we take a deep sigh of relief and “play” (although we're typically so exhausted by the hard work that play is the equivalent of junk food binges, video games, and Netflix).
But, as Mark Twain said, if you “find a job you enjoy doing, you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Others have shared Twain's thoughts. Here's what Stephen King has to say:
“Yes, I've made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it … I have written because it fulfilled me. Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side–I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for the joy, you can do it forever.”
Steve Jobs noted that:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Then there's Thomas Edison, who said:
“I never did a day's work in my life, it was all fun.”
You get the idea. Work can just flow from you. When it does, and when it feels like play, that's another sign you're living out your true purpose. Sure, there will be times when you experience what Steven Pressfield refers to as the “resistance”—rationalizing, fear and anxiety, distractions, the voice of an inner critic, and other elements that keep you from creating your authentic art, whatever that creation of art might be—but this resistance doesn't indicate you're not living out your purpose. It's just the day-to-day temptation towards laziness or fear of the unknown, failure, or embarrassment that we all face. Learn to identify the resistance to living your purpose, embrace the resistance as a sign that you're engaged in something impactful, then press on (and definitely read Steven's book Do The Work!).
*a quick note regarding the Puritanical work ethic. I don't mean to throw the Puritans under the bus. In the book, “Exploring New England's Spiritual Heritage“, author Garth Rosell describes how the Puritans were encouraged to identify their purpose in life with much prayer and reflection, to take into account their natural gifts and inclinations, to seek the advice and confirmation their friends and family, and to consider the practical needs of the community in which they lived.
Interestingly, those who were gifted for and inclined to “sundry callings” (the equivalent of a blue-collar worker, such as farming, construction, etc. – which in modern days could be the warehouse worker, firefighter, construction worker, custodian, etc.) must seek to discover which of these callings is “the best.” Similarly, those who were privileged to study in what was called “the schools of the prophets” and at liberty to become school-masters, physicians, lawyers, or ministers were considered to have a special obligation to seek among these available options their very “best calling.”
Regardless of what career was chosen by these Puritans, their callings were encouraged to conform to three basic principles. First, to serve the public good and to seek one another's welfare. Second, to have “gifts of body and mind” suitable to that calling (although they also believed rightly that when God calls a person to a particular task, he will also provide the appropriate gifts to fulfill it). Third, to be sure that calling is from God, by relying upon prayer, the guidance of the Bible, the counsel of friends, the encouragement of the community and the existence of an open door opportunity.
If that vocation was considered to be homely, boring or ordinary, they focused upon performing that task nonetheless to the glory of God and the good of others. After all, Jesus himself girded himself with a towel, and washed His disciples' feet. If a Puritan was anxious about whether or not their work is successful, they were encouraged to “cast their burden upon the Lord” and to find contentment whatever the circumstance.
So ultimately, while I don't think that work, especially working in our true purpose and calling, needs to be viewed as a daily drudge of sweat, blood and tears, I do agree with this Puritan philosophy that no matter what your work is, it should be chosen carefully according to your unique gifts and the counsel of God, friends and family, be done in full excellence, with a spirit of love towards others with no complaining, and, finally should “multiple purposes” be available to one, the best purpose is the one most highly suited to your gifts.
There are other questions you can ask yourself, but the ones I've listed above, for simplicity's sake, are in my opinion, the most effective. However, should you like to take a deeper dive, a book like Brian Scott's The Reality Revolution lays out even more questions, including:
-When have you felt most fulfilled?
-When has your life held the most meaning?
-When have you felt most aligned?
-When you were younger, what did you want to do when you grew up?
-What experiences in your life have prepared you for something incredible?
-What are you consistently drawn to, and why are you drawn to that thing?
-If you had a year to live, what would you spend your time doing?
-If you had a month to live—healthy, but limited in time—what would you spend your time doing?
-If you lived to be 120 and could look back over a long and fulfilling life with satisfaction, what would you remember the most?
-If you won the lottery and all your financial needs were handled, and you had already spent time buying toys and traveling and having fun—what would you do when you got bored?
-What would you do if your resources could go toward something meaningful instead of just survival?
-Imagine that all of your issues and wounds were things that your soul deliberately chose to develop and sharpen you. What have they given you?
-If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, how would you want to be remembered?
-What would a younger me think about me now? On this point, Brian reasons in The Reality Revolution that, “Often, the wisest version of ourselves was when we were seven years old. Ask that kid what they think. After all, this is the life that your younger self wound up living. What would they say about it? Creating that perspective can give you some good answers about who you are and where you’re going.
-What can you do to help the world? For this question, Brian notes that, “Wanting the new Lamborghini or that perfect mansion is understandable and fine, but thinking outside of yourself is often transformative in a way that wanting things can never be. When you really find your purpose—when everything starts to make sense—it’s often when you’re thinking about how you can help other people with your talents and skills. Your heart will line up with your mind and soul in many ways.
-And even…what am I willing to put up with?
This last question is based on Brian's reasoning that people who have found their purpose are often people who were willing to put up with plenty of less-than-ideal situations. In other words, life is not going to be rosy and wonderful, even if you’re aligned with a purpose. Sometimes you have to work hard and sometimes there is a sacrifice or some sort of cost or struggle that you’ll have to face. Brian says: “Knowing this at the onset can help you to narrow down your purpose. For example, if you want to be a tech entrepreneur but you can’t handle failure, you’re not going to make it very far. On the other hand, if you’re willing to work eighteen-hour days for a couple of months to get your book written or your software complete and that sacrifice seems worth it to you, then you’ll start moving closer to your purpose.”
How To Find Your Purpose In Life, Step 4: Summarize your purpose into one single, succinct statement that you can memorize.
This next step will take practice.
Write down all those things you loved to do when you were a kid, those activities that put you into the flow now, and what naturally comes easy to you.
Then connect the dots and try to express all those elements into one single, succinct purpose statement that you can easily memorize.
Again, my purpose statement is…
…”To Read & Write, Learn & Teach, Sing & Speak, Compete & Create In Full Presence & Selfless Love, To The Glory Of God.”
Before that, it was…
…”To Empower People To Live A More Adventurous, Joyful & Fulfilling Life“.
Keep your purpose statement specific, precise, concise, clear, and goal-oriented. Write it down. It might be two to three paragraphs at first. Then a paragraph. Then a couple of sentences. Then one sentence. Refine it. Edit it. Write it again. Have no guilt about changing it a dozen times if need be. But you must, must, must make it short and easy to memorize so that you can quickly recall it and rely upon it when the bullets of the matrix of life are flying at you and you need to remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing.
Finally, understand that your purpose statement can change over time as your passions and personality changes. C.S. Lewis, one of my favorite authors of all time, once said “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” So your purpose statement during this chapter of the book that is your life may change in the next chapter of your life. That's OK. Don't feel guilty, flaky, or schizophrenic about that. Be open to change and do so by sitting down with your purpose statement on at least a yearly basis—reviewing it, analyzing it, praying over it, meditating upon it, and questioning it to get clarity on whether it still fully aligns with what your soul knows to be true. Run it by friends and family members to get an objective opinion. Do that the first time you write your purpose statement and continue to do it for every future purpose statement you create.
How To Find Your Purpose In Life, Step 5: Love God & love others with your purpose.
Finally, no matter how good your purpose statement is, it will never be truly fulfilling or impactful if it's all about you.
If the motivation behind and reason for your purpose statement is to make more money, own a better car, have a nicer home, attract successful people, run faster, get stronger or achieve, achieve, achieve, then you'll never truly be happy, and in the end, your purpose will feel selfish, meaningless, empty, and unfulfilling.
Instead, once you have written your purpose statement sentence, you must go forth and love others with your purpose. Bless others selflessly with your purpose. Change the world with your purpose because you love people, not because you want to fulfill Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs or scratch your own back. Follow the Golden Rule with your purpose. Pursue your purpose with zero selfishness and in full love for your fellow human beings, and, trust me, the rewards back to you will naturally come in due time. But the focus of living out your purpose statement should not be on your own happiness, but rather the happiness of others. That's what will truly make you happy.
Furthermore, don't just love others with your purpose, but also love God with your purpose. After all, you were created a unique being in the image of God, and one of the greatest things you can do with your purpose is to wake up each morning and, as one of my trusted mentors once told me, “Do the very best thing that day with whatever God has put on your plate.” By doing your work and living out your purpose each day with supreme excellence, you'll magnify and glorify the mightiest Being this world knows, and that's the greatest love and greatest gift you can give back to the Creator who put you here in the first place and bestowed upon you the unique skills, body, and brain you've been blessed with.
One of my favorite preachers, John Piper, puts it this way:
“We are not called to be microscopes. We are called to be telescopes…There is nothing and nobody superior to God. And so the calling of those who love God is to make his greatness begin to look as great as it really is. That’s why we exist, why we were saved, as Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
So our whole duty in life, therefore, can be summed up like this: Feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as he really is. Be a telescope for the world of the infinite starry wealth of the glory of God.
Yes, live your purpose in full love for others and for the magnification and glory of God. I guarantee the impact of your life will be profound if that's the lens through which you see and manner with which you live out your purpose.
I realize that's plenty to digest, so I'll stop there.
So now it's simply time to calendar a time with your journal to address these thought exercises:
- What did you like to do when you were a kid?
- What puts you “in the zone” now?
- What naturally comes easy to you?
- Summarize your purpose into one single, succinct statement that you can memorize.
- Love God & love others with your purpose.
Finally, if you're curious or troubled about whether you truly have identified your purpose correctly, then consider these words from my friend Brett McKay from his ArtOfManliness article “You Know You’ve Found Your Purpose When…”:
“Your life’s purpose — whether as a profession magnifier, human caretaker, faith promulgator, or cause catalyzer — is essential to find, but can be difficult to discern. You know you’ve found yours when, despite the risk, pain, effort, and mundanity (and no matter the purpose, the mundanity always far outweighs the excitement), you can do naught else but continually return to its trenches.”
Based on all this, I have one challenge for you: Spend time over the next day, week, or month identifying, honing, writing, and memorizing your purpose; and then, in the comments section below, write your purpose statement for the world to see. I promise to read them all. You can also leave any of your questions, comments, or feedback in the comments section below.
37 thoughts on “Sabbath Ramblings: How To Find Your Purpose In Life.”
To learn and teach, explore and play, connecting people with God and others and empowering them to live a fulfilling life.
Thanks Ben for being a great mentor to me..for sharing such valuable insight into everything mind body and spirit. I really look up to you so much!
I don’t know what my goal is, but one thing I know- I love people! I love life!
Thank you Ben.
To cook, build and program things that creates value to others & To listen, help and teach people what I have learned thus far.
Thank you so much for writing and sharing these articles. You’re an incredibly talented writer. It stirred up a lot of emotion for me. I have been trying to identify my life’s purpose and authentic self for the past couple of years now and I really appreciated your insights and recommendations. I’ll definitely have to sit down, think, and write it all out. Thanks again.
Thank you for the article. Had some things I needed to hear.
Hi Ben thank you for sharing – you are always so generous with your time and sharing knowledge. It is very much appreciated. I am currently going through a transformational period in my life – reading books like Florence Shinn – so your Sabbath Ramblings resonate with me. I am looking for my purpose – having spent a large part of my life running my own successful business I now want to be doing that something that I meant to be doing – but really struggling to find what that is. I will do the exercises you recommend.
Looking forward to reading more of your SR.
I loved. you are really inspiring and natural.❤️
Such a timely and lovely post. My calling and purpose is to help and encourage people to see the best in themselves, so they can see and bring out the best in others.
Blessings and love to you, in the compassionate example and honesty of Jesus.
To create and make, explore and play, learn and share, grow and love while walking this path with One.
Thank you Ben, this post was timely and meaningful for me.
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My purpose is to build and create, learn and grow, enjoy, play and Love.
I’ve lived 90% of my life selfishly. I hope I can remember for the remaining of it to love others with my purpose.
Great post Ben, i really appreciated everything you wrote. very wise words. My only comment is when you reference the “traditional Puritanical work ethic philosophy that a day of work needs to be a day of drudge, drenched in blood, sweat, and tears.” Actually, reading 17th century Puritan writing you will find a similar plan and pathway to finding our purpose or “calling” that you outline here. Puritans were very passionate about people finding their own calling or unique pathway based on how God had equipped them.
William Perkins (1558-1602, “Treatise of the Vocations or Callings of Men”) wrote about callings to be for the Glory of God and for the common good (all society). He also wrote against people living out this purpose simply for their own good and not the betterment of others. Puritans encouraged people to look for their own purpose through prayer and reflection, taking into account inward gifts and inclinations, to seek good advice from trusted friends and consider the practical needs of the communities in which they lived. Richard Steele argued also that a person’s calling must not be spent merely in gathering earthly treasures, ultimately with a reminder that we must each stand before God to give an account of how we lived. Their advice was very similar to what you have outlined here. Thanks.
I'm going to read this thoroughly. Thanks for the heads up.
As the mother of 5, I have had many hard lessons to learn. One ‘saving grace’ thing that has been a god-send was From an episode Of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday show:
From this I learned that we may Conceive, birth & raise our children but they and their outcomes are not ours. Our job as parents is to be the unconditionally loving guides to our children as they launch their life’s journey. We should neither over entangle ourselves nor attach ourself to their outcomes. Rather, if we role model, support, & guide, then we can turn them over to God for the rest.
Like I said, it was a hard lesson, but one worth learning… and easier to learn when we recognize how constructing our own life purpose feels when it is entangled in how others feel about us or see us in this world. I feel purpose, like spirituality, is individual between only God & yourself. We have teachers in this life who, like parents to their children, act as guides, but ultimately we are accountable to God and ourself.
As the cliche phrase goes: it’s your bed to make, and you are the one who must sleep in it.
Thanks Ben, from a long time fan in Australia. This is a question i have struggled with for a long time.
I can list many aspects i enjoyed as a child : imaginative play, art, reading books/comics, love of stories, cooking, entrepreneurship (i was constantly trying to start businesses as a child), all types of music (listening, playing etc)
i naturally enjoy : learning, researching, teaching, problem solving, family/marriage/manhood
my basic question is : i get overwhelmed on where to start. I am over 40, i have a job as a counsellor but i am definitely not passionate about it. I get confused at how to ‘measure’ what i am passionate about? I like stuff, sure. But am i on ‘fire’ about something in particular – not really. I am not a counsellor with a secret desire to be a professional rock climber but cant step out because of insecurity. For example, because i like cooking should i become a chef? or is it just a hobby i can enjoy for the rest of my life. i dont feel ‘called’ to something, so i feel like i am constantly living in a limbo type feeling. Its a self defeating place to be. Not really doing what i want, while not really knowing what that is. (i have a full time job, take care of my family, attend church, have friends, serve God etc I have value – just no idea on how to ‘step out’ into something i am ‘meant’ to do).
Any thoughts, suggestions, a single book out of your selection to read (i have read many), or any input is appreciated
I appreciated your comment. Finding purpose isn’t meant to be a stressful exercise but many find it that way. The idea that we are put on the planet to live out a mission that doesn’t feel like work and benefits humanity can be a lot for people to grasp.
I’m in my 40’s and recently separated from my wife. During the break up she said – I’m doing this to set you free – to allow you to do what you really want to do”. This is both an empowering and frightening statement. Yes I’m now free to do what I want to do…but what is it?
Over the last year I’ve realized it’s not one thing. For example Ben’s purpose covers so many area at a very high level. He is then free to write, run, speak, podcast etc all with a common goal of helping people and praising God. That’s what he is doing, the nitty gritty of the how isn’t important.
I know that I want to help people who are suffering from pain.
I’m trained as an osteopath and naturally helping them through treatments would be my default.
But, I”m like you, that isn’t hugely exciting for me.
So I expanded it, helping people who are in pain via; treatments, writing, retreats, online programs and podcasts…now that get’s me excited. Everything is directed in the same direction and fits my purpose.
So, I encourage you to think broader and bigger and don’t worry about how you deliver your purpose because it could be through any medium, like counselling or cooking…
I appreciate you taking the time to reply Ed
Hey Simon, Good on you for your honesty and transparency. Rare qualities these days and not to be underestimated. They say a lot about a person. Ability to be honest with oneself is one of 3 paths to Christ consciousness according to David R. Hawkins.
I personally, totally relate to your dilemma. It has helped me heaps to recently discover I’ve got adult ADHD – 5 streams of consciousness running (rather poorly) all at once. Never had a clue i was on any spectrum… just a bit weird. But praise God for His ingenuity… so I guess there’s a plan – for me and us all! Spectrum stuff can explain much about the false self and striving to be “someone else” – a better version. “Executive Dysfunction” is something in the brain that makes neurotypical (normal) goals
lack motivation and the momentary passage of time, meaningless. Kinda takes you right out of the game of life!
Despite a double Psych major, I’ve fluffed around in many unfulfilled directions, kinda pissed that I couldn’t “achieve” like others around me. Until I decided out I’m not a “Do-er”, I’m a “Be-er”, with one purpose – to learn to love – starting with me. Tough call… “What me? Failure, useless me?” “Yep!! Fall in love with yaself girl or no one else will…or if they do you won’t believe they do coz ya don’t love yaself!” My husband loved me for decades before I could believe he did.
You sound like an amazing human being. Counselling would be TOUGH!! Listening to people’s pain, confusion, junk and struggles all day. Good on ya mate! Any person would have to be self-realised to be passionate about that! By most standards, you’ve arrived at an advanced level of self-development and selflessness. On Hawkin’s scale of consciousness you’re pushing up to the “Love” zone – 500. So pat yourself on the back with a little self-love.
I don’t know anything so take this with a grain of salt… Maybe try chilling and doing what YOU love – even if it’s nothing. Reading? Nature? Meditating? Dirt bikes? Netflix? Coffee enemas? NIR sauna sweats? Men’s retreats? Ayahasca?
Aspiring to nothing and doing nothing takes the pressure off.
Totally no disrespect to Ben, I’m all for life’s purposes for those who that works for. But for some of us it can lead to self-condemnation, comparisons along the way. So I just dropped the idea. Tried the Gene Keys – kinda interesting. Then gave up striving and BINGO! Up I popped, bored ol’ self-defeating me permitted myself to simply accept and enjoy ‘limbo’ life. It’s pretty fun being a non-stoned, stoner. Sky looks brighter. People are more fun.
You sound really hungry for truth – after all, who wants to “step out’ into anything unless it’s the real deal. I used to meditate 2 hours daily for 8 years until I became a Christian. 30 years of Mythic Christianity didn’t cut it – until I discovered mystic Christianity – Father Thomas Keating, Jim Marion, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, the book, God 9.0 along with Dr David R Hawkins and Ken Wilbur for the big map of human consciousness. Hawkins wins hands down. His videos are amazing. These people all helped me bridge the gap between East and West, and to finally rest again in meditation/contemplation (Christian version) – the only way to escape the battering mind.
So, for now at least, I’ve given up beating myself up over what my life purpose is. I take a ton of brain ‘nutrients/bio-hacks’ to try to get in flow states to write. They work… sometimes.
It’s sounds easy when Jesus says it – just LOVE!! Yeah right! But how? … Back to the ‘spectrum’ awakening. Loving and accepting myself has been THE toughest part of living. We give to others, strive, put on masks, invent personalities to make the false-self look prettier, but may still never feel we deserve to receive. My purpose at present is simply to BE in the present. If I feel like cooking, I cook. If not, we eat super- fast 10-minute, healthy. I try not to sweat the small stuff – and, when you get down to it, it’s ALL small.
I love Ben’s life purpose – it’s all in there – with inspiring passion. And alongside that passion (that, BTW, is also in all of us), I love aspiring to “It’s no longer I that live, but Christ in me.” Christ is a state of consciousness, pure, selfless love to the NTH degree.
Thanks for sharing, Simon. Your struggles are the human condition. And you made my day!
Hey Simon, I forgot to say Im also from OZ – Sunny Coast.
I can’t even remember much of my childhood – let alone what I loved to do, So that sucks when its foundational to discovering my life’s purpose.
Makes for a doubly good laugh.
Another reason not to take ourselves too seriously.
What part is the real us anyway?
…to the glory of God. -amen!!
God bless you!
Hey, no disrespect..sabbath is Friday sundown ti Saturday sundown. Or saturday. Why do you say sabbath talk but have it on Sunday?
“To thrive and help others to thrive by connecting to our innate nature – through creating food, movement, play etc with zero judgement”
I am a little lost right now… My brain is in overload. I am happy but surprised I was able to read this all and it was beautiful. I just feel tired and I guess down, but I will try to figure out what I loved as a kid and write it down. I terrible and really good at absorbing everyone’s feelings. Some times I am grateful and sometimes I’m just worn out.
For my every thought, word, and action to be led by the spirit to glorify Jesus Christ; to steward every capacity of my being in a way that spotlights the person of Christ, and to help others understand who He is from a place of love.
My purpose is to share that God has given us all the same gift called life. To empower others to show their love for God more. To show my love for God in the form of appreciation.
Side note up until this article I was against the theory of a God. You have answered so much so me Ben and I hate putting titles on things but THANK YOU for bringing me closer to GOD
Our Heavenly Father’s Purpose shall be our purpose!… This is called “The Plan of Salvation” or “The Plan of Happiness.”
“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” Abraham 3:25
Christ died for our sins that we may have joy through daily repentance and improving by ceasing to the natural man. The Lord has a plan for each of us and we are eligible to receive personal revelation as to what our “ Purpose” shall truly be.
Steven Covey speaks of a “Purpose Statement”
Do one for yourself, do one for your family with an eye single to the Glory of God and you will see blessings in your life that you won’t have enough room to receive.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
You say God put me here? Who or what is God? Some spiritual life force sitting on a cloud? A force of love that can pulsate through us all?
The Creator of the universe.
The Creator of everything!!
Ben, you’re a true light brother. That’s all I want to say. And eerily getting goosebumps reading this particle piece as that purpose you wrote (only exception being the singing, I’m more for dancing!) is near identical to what I intend with my own life, my own purpose. Having gone the biohacking, fitness and nutrition route… I’m now truly, deeply coming into my own in spiritual development, more and more. And doing my best to support others in that also.
I can only ask you to KEEP THIS PART OF YOU ALIVE AND KEEP ON SHARING IT. The real you brother.
so encouraging. Thanks!
Truly grateful for all you do, Ben.
“To allow God to shine through this form based physical expression of Consciousness that is I AM by creating, processing & simplifying, presenting & teaching to share with altruism, authenticity, joy, love and appreciation.”
Thanhs for the article. I think I could see the seeds of it a few years back. You did a podcast after a race in which you did poorly. I don’t remember which race, or exactly what you said? But rather the tone of the discourse. I could see a change coming in you, and your podcast and writing material and subjects. For that, I am thankful, because in doing so you’ve helped me
Thank you for sharing. Loved this article. When making an important decision or wanting to find the courage to do something outside my comfort zone I ask myself when I am lying on my deathbed, what will I remember or wish I had done? What will really matter when I look back at my life? It has given me the focus and courage to do many things in life that I normally wouldn’t do – like all the times I have advocated for our daughter with special needs. It is saying a lot coming from a natural people pleaser. I know in my heart I did the right thing each time I advocate and it feels right in my soul, no matter how challenging it feels at first.
Yes, the forward thinking to deathbed or writing your own obituary can be quite powerful.
Great article Ben. I added an exercise: writing my eulogy. That made it all very real.
Here is my Life Purpose statement:
My purpose to do what opens me the most to Cosmic Love (God) so I can blossom fully and be so loving and kind that my life helps transform darkness into light.