3 Steps Toward Living a Life on Purpose

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.  –Walt Disney

In 1995, at the age of twelve, when most of his buddies are playing ball in the yard, Craig Kielburger was telling anyone who would listen about an organization he created called Free The Children.  He would speak anywhere from India to Washington D.C. to New York to Haiti.  He was even profiled on 60 Minutes about his crusade to stop child labor.

So if you had asked that kid why he did all that instead of just being a kid?  He’d say, “I feel very passionate about child labor and want to do something to stop it.”

Craig Kielburger is living on purpose. 

He has found something that gets his juices flowing and the adrenaline pumping.  His purpose gives him tremendous energy.  For a kid his age, or an adult for that matter, he has done things, been places and met people that has made people take notice.  When there is fire in your belly you can do the impossible.

Why do some people have that burning desire and some do not?

Most people simply go through the motions day-in, day-out.  Caught up in the boring, mundane routines of life.  Almost mechanical.

Finding YOUR Purpose

Volumes of books have been written on this subject.  Google will give you over 100 million results.  I believe it is essential to seek your purpose in life.  To have a clear definition.  If you do this, you will have done something that 97% of people never do.

Most people wander aimlessly about.  Unsure of who they were meant to be or what they are supposed to be doing.

Crossroads of life

Then there are those who come to a crossroad in life and want to figure out what the hell happened.  How did things end up like this?  And what can they do to change it?

This typically happens between ages 35 to 55 years old.  The mid-life crisis.  I speak from experience.  This very thing happened to me.

Is this all there is?

After some serious soul-searching, you begin to feel a void.  Something isn’t quite right.  Something is missing, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

Money doesn’t satisfy

Money is not the answer to the question.  Buying the adult toys, cars, boats, etc. doesn’t do it anymore.  The bigger house or the second home might be there, but this empty feeling is still there as well.

Learning to Live on Purpose

Does this scenario sound familiar?  Do you wonder about a lack of purpose in your life?  We all hunger for a deeper meaning in our lives.

We need to feel at our core that we matter and that we are making a difference.

Living a lifestyle that is on purpose gives you the opportunity to pour your life into the lives of others.  Leave your imprint in a positive way.  Be a giver without the thought of any type of personal reward or recognition.

Three Steps toward finding your purpose:

1.    Align your purpose with your natural giftedness – We all have our natural talents and interests.  Discovering what these are is what the game of life is about.  Many times, our careers might not be aligned with what we enjoy most or even do best.  Our values and our actions may conflict. 

I believe that every person is born with talent. –Maya Angelou

2.    Living on purpose requires tunnel-vision – Many people lose direction and motivation because they are easily distracted or influenced by other people.  They begin to wander and lose focus.  You need single-mindedness and determination to do what it takes.  This separates the weak from the strong, the procrastinators from the committed.  This ignites the passion and creates a feeling of significance.

Success demands singleness of purpose. –Vince Lombardi

3.    Maintain humility in your pursuits – Don’t let your ego override good intentions.  Those who have the greatest impact are not concerned with fame and fortune.  Just do the work.  Greed and power have not place in a life on purpose.

 I feel the first true test of a great man is in his humility. – John Ruskin

Let’s face it… finding your purpose and living it out is a lot harder than than following anyone’s arbitrary list of 1, 2, 3.  But you must start somewhere.  Do you feel the uneasiness stirring inside you?  Let your search begin.

Some Amazing Comments

comments

About David Moore

David A. Moore from Living a Better Story with davidamoore.com. writes about living a more adventurous and inspirational life story… starting today!  You can learn more About David and follow him on Twitter @davidamoore

Comments

  1. Very nice post!

    A few things: I disagree with the fact you need tunnel vision when pursueing your goals. I’ve been doing such a thing and guess what? I forget to adapt, learn more, and calibrate to the times. The people around you matter, things that happen matter, you have no idea how much you can learn if you look around.

    I semi-agree with doing something you are gifted with. However, this comes from a place of priviledge. Why? because to develop such ‘talent’ you need the proper resources to be good at it. For example, the 4 year old child who is suddenly “giftd” with musical abilities; well she’ll need the proper resources to develop and make her gift grow. So what about people without resources? I think it comes down to ‘effort’ with a certain thing.

    What do I mean? I mean that no one is really truly gifted at a single thing. I think people start out with an interest. This interest is what matters; because it is the effort in that interest that produces the success. It’s not the gift, it’s the effort of the interest.

    I do agree with the humility part. The humility is the hardest part of this entire thing. Why? people’s egos and pride.

    Thank you for the post!
    I hope you have a beautiful week!

    • Jonathan,
      I love it. We do disagree but it makes great conversation doesn’t it. My personal experience is that the “tunnel vision” is very effective in goal achievement but, just as you said, it can throw other things, like personal life, wildly out of balance. So I guess we’re both right. Thanks so much for commenting. – David

  2. Thanks for introducing Craig!
    Very inspiring
    I think I’m slowly crystallizing my life purpose: to inspire, influence and impact

  3. Money’s nice, pays the bills. But it’s definitely not the key to happiness. This is a very comprehensive guide to forming a purpose and mission statement, thanks a lot.

    • Thanks John. Wouldn’t life be great if we didn’t have to worry about money? It’s a great question to ask, “What if…?” I wholeheartedly agree, money certainly is not the key to happpiness. What is? I would say relationships. What do you think? – David

  4. I am glad while and after reading the post above which I can relate with. I would like also to share my opinion – The moment that you are ready to commit to action and perform the necessary measures towards reaching your goals, you will discover that there is nothing that can stand in your way. That’s where a life coach will come in handy for you. A life coach acts as a companion in the course of your day; one which will help act as a mentor, a friend, and a motivator towards reaching each of your dreams. Life coaches are constantly there to assist you see the positive aspects in life. When something new comes your way that causes you to reconsider your path, it is normal to seek out the drawbacks and focus on what you don’t like. But a life coach helps you realize that there are positive things everywhere. You will likely be ready to keep and maintain a very good viewpoint which will enable you to continue seeing all of the abundance you’ve got in life.

  5. It’s very important to have a purpose otherwise life wouldn’t have a meaning

  6. Wow that’s the first i’ve heard of Craig! I definately agree that following your own path is the only way, I always have thought the whole programming of “go and do a job you hate for 50 years, retire, live in a house with a white picket fence” just doesn’t cut it and there has to be more!

    I am on my own path now, and it is a bit of a struggle, but I am much happier than I have been in a long time because of this.

    -Ben

    • The struggle is part of the story. Think about your favorite stories or movies, they all involve the character wanting something and overcoming conflict to get it. Conflict gives our story meaning. And, as you say, you’re happier as a result.

  7. Thank you so much David, most of us are programmed by our close people as a result we are not living our self talent/nature hence everything we do become burden like not easy to carry.

    this is a very strong message you have delivered.

    • Erick, thanks for the comment. How does the saying go?…That you are a product of the books you read and the people you surround yourself with? Sometimes the people part is very difficult with negative family members, co-workders, etc.

  8. Nice post. I like the fact that you explained how it’s important that the passion you have is aligned with your top abilities. I liked seeing you explain how the fire of purpose sometimes kicks in through life circumstances.

    I would like to add, that the fire for me got kindled when I hit rock bottom at 19… I had been through childhood abuse, and turned to drugs for nearly 2 years at that point and ended up with Psychosis! Living in this state is by far the most painful thing I’ve ever been through (including childhood abuse)… because I had to live with that state of mind all the time everyday.

    It was a case of either spend the rest of my life in a backwards jacket on sedatives…. kill myself, or do something about it… Because I just couldn’t live the rest of a life with that level of pain.

    This is what I’m getting to. I didn’t identify with this state. I decided that this wasn’t what my life was going to be about. (Burning Determination?)

    So I took up meditation, bought every book and personal development book and course I could afford, and found a guy to learn Taiji with…. it just so turned out that he was temple trained by a Grandmaster Monk… luck maybe…

    I believe I was guided because I wanted to grow, and heal and help others from the heart. I swore if I got through this I would help others to get out of it too. I felt that this was what my life IS about. I wasn’t willing to accept anything less and would be willing to go through hell and high water to do so.

    I think we all need to find what drives us and structure our purpose around it. I actually have a blog post about a conversation I had with my girlfriend after watching an amazing video of Tony Robbins with a Young Lady who wanted to commit suicide.

    After watching this video I managed to coach my girlfriend to realise her purpose, and what she feels called to do.

    It’ all about the 6 Human needs Tony talks about, and VAK (the 3 modes of learning taught in NLP)

    http://transcend-awake.com/personal-development/personal-story-6-human-needs-and-vak/

    Happy blogging all, and I’ll see you all soon. :)

    • Heck of a story Matthew. Many of us “see the light” at rock bottom, I know I did. Mine was all my own doing due to my being so hardheaded. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  9. Thanks for the thoughtful article, David. One reason so many people “go through the motions” of life as you so aptly point out is that we’ve been misled into believing the only important life is one of extreme greatness or celebrity. That can feel like a big burden or impossible task for most of us.

    I believe that ultimately we all have the same purpose – to be an individualized expression of Life, experiencing Itself uniquely through each one. What I hear underlying your words is the idea of allowing our passion to guide each of us into living our “greatness” in our own unique way.

    As Marquita said, a great way to start the day!

    • Thanks for commenting Helen. I believe our purpose to to live a better life story. And that success has nothing to do with greatness or celebrity. We can live a better story and be “on purpose” without being wealthy or have any other the other worldly definitions of success. Each one of us can live a better story with meaning and adventure.

  10. Well said David. I do believe there’s a cautionary note that should go along with focusing on natural giftedness. A person can have a natural ability at a particular skill, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s their purpose in life, or for that matter will hold enough meaning for them to keep them moving to effectively bounce back from a crisis. As you pointed out so well at the beginning of your article, passion is a critical element in identifying purpose. Not to sound cliche, but I think it’s the passion that’s associated with purpose that is what keeps one moving forward regardless of the challenges or obstacles involved. Thanks, great inspiration to start the day!

    • Thanks Marquita. I totally agree. I have a passion for photography but don’t think it’s my purpose in life. However, that passion has enhanced the story I am living and is making that life story better. Our passions and “ultimate” purpose give our life story meaning and adventure and can be inspirational to others. The idea is to DO SOMETHING, as you say, but do whats important over whats just seems to be “yelling” at you. Have a great day. – David

  11. Great stuff David. Indeed, If we intend to have a profound life purpose like Craig or anything – be it playing ping-pong, being a surgeon, writing a blog, we’ve got to become ‘very clear’ about our intention.

    ‘Being clear’ about our purpose is more than visualizing the outcome in specific detail. ‘Being clear’ requires disciplining our inward self-talk to continually support us with what we’re up to, even in those moments of greatest disappointment.When we are crystal clear on our unique purpose, our superlatively creative side presents itself and acts on our behalf.

    • Absolutely Rob. Thanks for the input. To say ON purpose and not bounce from idea to idea, being CLEAR must transfer into CONVICTION. Purpose is more than something we WANT. It is something that our soul NEEDS, like water or oxygen. When the purpose becomes something we can’t live without, watch out. The world is going to change. Thanks again Rob.

  12. PeterD Johannesburg says:

    Until i read this newsletter i had never heard of Craig Kielburger and I found it awe inspiring , proof positive that we each have within us the power to truly change the world

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