About purpose

Alex Rocha
Oct 21, 2017 · 4 min read
Whenever I think about purpose, I think about a metaphorical road.

Recently I had the pleasure of being invited to be the mentor of a group of trainees, who in the company we affectionately call Young Talents.

I had already written about learning and thought about purpose before. But our words take shape when we see people fervently eager for knowledge. Nothing more natural would cause me anxiety and a sense of “purpose.”

Purpose, it seems like something I’ve always sought, from simple things like reading self-help books, watching a handful of videos on the subject or even going on Zen Buddhist 7 days retreats. When I think about that subject, I always remember a sentence told in a TEDx where the author Andrew Solomon talks about identity. It follows the 15 min of TED proposing the idea that we are the result of our experiences (which in itself is not new), the plot twist is when it suggests that we are responsible for the meaning that our experiences have about who we are. That makes perfect sense to me.

How to explain this in a clear way? In the last few weeks, I studied the concept of Learning 3.0, read the book and some articles. Personally, I do not believe I have found new things, but it was elucidating the way everything is placed. The feeling was that I had all the things I needed in a messy pile of clothes. The book folded and organized all the clothes by color in the closet.

A summary that not fully describe the book is the concept Learning 3.0 “The apprentice suggests the question and the answer”. This thought goes with what I’ve been thinking lately. But I still did not answer the question I was trying to solve, how to find purpose?

An article titled “A simple exercise for getting your priorities straight: Forget about work and relationship” had an answer. The exercise was simple, drawing four quadrants on a sheet of paper and writing on each of them what my priorities were.

Do it. Draw four quadrants on a sheet of paper and write one priority on each quadrant.

Now be honest and see if you wrote any synonyms of “work” or “family.” Yes? Do the exercise again but omit these synonyms.

The result is epiphanic. Thinking about work and family as something implicit is like taking a load off your back. First you may feel that you are not sure how many steps you are taking in the right direction and suddenly you can see where you want to go.

And that’s what I did, twice. But one piece of the puzzle was still missing. Instead of “priorities” I set myself on the mission of writing my four purposes. However, as I would visualize my progress?

Back to Learning 3.0. The coolest part of the book is to read the epic of a team leader trying to increase the number of sales, this and the examples of Learning 3.0 dynamics.

Learning Mosaic. Visualize learning is more important than measuring it. Each area of the learning mosaic would be aspects to improve but to make sense in my momentum they would need to represent a purpose. With the result of the previous dynamics, each step toward a purpose would become visible.

Now the walls here looks like that.

The result of these two dynamics was a group of Young Talents taking an apparently important step. Some did not even put values like “study” or the like. However, “purposes” such as happiness, health, well-being rained and this left me extremely optimistic.

“On the inner level, perhaps nothing really attacks us except our own confusion,” Pema Chödron

At the end of the day, I believe that what you do that goes in order to your purposes are never wasted time and should be sought.

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