There are ways to narrow down your purpose
Worth the effort
The two greatest days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out what your purpose is, but if you don’t know what your purpose is than you don’t know why you are here, and it can be hard to keep going.
The media has inadvertently planted a negative view of the future in our young people's minds.
I recently asked a group of teenage boys to tell me everything they saw in their mind about the future. The group quickly filled two sheets of paper - they are well informed.
Everything on the paper was negative! Result is that it can take a deliberate effort to break through to that bright future. Better to live with an expectation of good things ahead.
Find your heart beat
This method is really helpful to define where your heart is drawn to for a purpose for your life. Probably more suited to older teens and adults. You need to be totally honest and actually write the answers down on a piece of paper. Better to do this alone because then you will be free from the expectations of other people. There are no right or wrong answers - it is your life for you to live with a unique purpose. You are not here on earth to merely 'fill in time until you die'. Neither are you here for another person to live their life and dreams through you. You need to set goals for your life and move gradually towards achieving those goals. This little exercise should help you do that.
- Download everything
- Write down a list of everything that you have in your mind that needs doing in your life at the present time. Include everything you should have done and everything you are intending to do in the future. Basically everything in your mind that jumps in and out at different times. e.g. do math assignment, buy a new skateboard, visit cousins, repair bike tire, etc. The list will usually be quite long. This is the stuff your brain is carrying around at the moment.
- Place an "A" next to the items that are really important and critical, a "B" next to the items that are less important and could wait a little while and a "C" next to the items that are not really important and can wait or it doesn't really matter if they don't get done at all. This helps you see the items in your life that you need to be spending your most effort on (the "A" items). Completing these important "A" items gives you a sense of achievement and you feel good about yourself. If you put all your effort into the less important items, you tend to feel like you're not getting anywhere and become disheartened.
- 5 years
- Next make a list of all the things you would like to have achieved in the next five years. Place the priorities 'A', 'B' and 'C' against those items again. The list will most likely be smaller this time.
- Whole life
- Next make a list of all the things you would like to have achieved by the end of your life, assuming you will live to a ripe old age. Place the priorities 'A', 'B' and 'C' against those items again.
- 6 months to live
- Assume now you have only six months left to live from now. Write a list of the things you would like to have achieved in these final six months. Place the priorities 'A', 'B' and 'C' against those items again. The list is getting shorter now!
- Finally, what would you like people to remember you for at your funeral as they look back over your life? If you do all this test sincerely, this last step will usually reflect where your heart and your passion lies - the area of your life where you want to channel your energy and time into. For me, this last step revealed my passion to help young guys get on top of life. Because my purpose was clarified with this little test, I was able to concentrate on focusing my energies into my 'life purpose' and not waste my time and effort on pursuits that will go nowhere for my life. You are looking at part of that process on this website.
It is interesting to note that generally your life purpose and life passion don't always show up in the first list, or if it does, it is clouded by all the other busy activity of everyday life. It is important to set goals for your life and then choose activities that progress towards those goals. Lives with purpose won't happen unless you look past the present 'too much to do and no time to do it' syndrome and actually aim at your dream.
Try talking to some adults (who you trust to tell you the truth) and ask them to tell you the strengths and talents they see in your life. This might be really hard for some guys because it's often hard to see anything good in your own life and you feel like you will be setting yourself up for a load of bad stuff if you ask that sort of question.
Other people can see strengths and talents in you that you probably haven't considered before. Everyone has 'gifts' or talents that we don't recognize in ourselves because they are so much a natural part of our being that we think that everyone must be like me too.
Does your purpose control your life?
No. Generally your defined purpose acts as an overall theme to your life. For my life, my passion is to help young guys, but that only happens during my free time. I work as an engineer and I really like the work and seem to have a 'gift' for doing it intuitively, but I don't want to be remembered for my engineering work at my funeral.
Engineering provides good money so I can live well and travel overseas and spend time working with young guys - it is a way I use to achieve my dream. Other people do it differently and their dream takes up more of their life.
You need a balance in all aspects of your life. Your dream should not push out everything else. You need friends that don't share your dream so that you will stay in balance. You ideally need a wife or partner who can share your life's dream and work alongside you in it. What harmony would there be having a wife who has no interest in your main purpose for being here on earth? You need recreation time and time for yourself. You need to make sure you don't 'burn out' in chasing your dream - you are in this for your lifetime so pace yourself for the long haul.
Free to do your purpose
It may take some courage to change things to step out and head towards what you see as your purpose in life. Other people have expectations of you but you need to be able to direct your own life, especially if you are an adult. It is always good to ask for advice from people you trust. They can even help you achieve your goals.
Your life won't suddenly be filled totally with this new purpose - you still have to eat and pay the bills and you still have responsibilities. The way to look at this is that your life now has a theme and a goal for you to head towards and make decisions based on this "purpose" theme.
You need to know what your basic rights are to help you in dealing with other people on the path to achieving your goals:
- You have the right to be treated with respect
- You have the right to express your own feelings and opinions
- You have the right to be listened to and taken seriously
- You have the right to set your own priorities
- You have the right to say NO without feeling guilty
- You have the right to ask for what you want
- You have the right to get what you pay for
- You have the right to ask for information from professionals
- You have the right to make mistakes
- You have the right to choose not to assert yourself
All this leads to you being able to express who you really are without dominating, humiliating or degrading the other person. In dealing with other people you need to be practiced at these messages:
- This is what I think....
- This is what I feel....
- This is how I see the situation....
It is called 'being able to assert yourself'. When two people can properly assert the real 'them' in this way, the relationship is much better because you have a much clearer picture of who the other person really is.
The ultimate act of 'asserting' yourself is to be able to honestly say to another person 'I love you' and not expect anything in return.
The christian view is that God gave you life and unique talents to use in your life. God has a purpose for you to live out, using those talents to serve others.
It takes action on your part to find your purpose in life and then slot into that purpose. Everyone at some time will question the big picture 'Why am I here?'. Find your purpose and your life will take on a whole new dimension. There will be a reason to get up in the morning - despite the daily circumstances.