The Importance Of Doing Things That Serve A Purpose In Your Life
Life rarely goes according to plan. Things come up, we get sidetracked, and, of course, accidents happen. Take the one I was in last week :/ I’ll start by saying that last week’s accident could have been a lot worse. Riding a motorcycle on the wild and wicked freeways of Los Angeles is no walk in the park on any day. With the swerve of an inattentive driver and my desire to not get run over still ended me up in a pinch, with my hand in a taillight just before gracefully somersaulting over my bike and onto the receptive pavement of the 405 (still my least favorite freeway in Southern California).
Accidents like that happen in a moment, one second you’re cruising along, the next you’re on the pavement with adrenaline pumping, trying not to get run over. I’ve been in a few accidents in cars, bicycles, and now a motorcycle. A strange thing happens as you regain your normal thoughts after determining you didn’t die. It’s a moment when you start thinking about the “what if’s”. What if I had left the house five minutes earlier or later, what if I had taken a different way, what if I decided to go to a different restaurant. We have to convince ourselves that there was no way of knowing, that accidents happen no matter what.
But a second thought has often crept into my mind at those times. When my body is beat up, I look at the repairs needed, or the process of getting back to zero with insurance, injury, inconvenience. It’s something of an existential thought. “Is this bullshit really worth it?”
If you’re stuck in a dead end job, floating along in life, or doing something with your life simply because someone else told you it was a good idea, that thought can become pretty negative and depressing. “Nothing is working in my life and now this?” — doesn’t sound like a happy person. If, however, you’re pursuing something you enjoy or working towards a goal that has its moments of triumphs and small wins, that question just becomes irrelevant. “Shit happens, I’ve got better things to worry about” — not exactly chipper and cheery, but someone who has created a life with purpose.
That’s me anyway, “Shit happens, let’s keep moving forward”. After that accident, I wasn’t depressed by the situation, not afraid to ride again, a certainly not dwelling on the coulda, woulda, shoulda. It’s a stark contrast from other times in my life when I’ve hit a roadbump. Things that, while seemingly insignificant in hindsight, were enough to derail me — send me spinning out of control — wondering if this bullshit was really worth it. I was in a dead end job, in a dead end town (I’m sure there’s a country song about that) that I couldn’t quite find my escape from.
The title of this bloggy article thingy is The Importance Of Doing Things That Serve A Purpose In Your Life. Having a purpose — something great on the horizon you’re working towards, is like being on a well worn path — it’s easy to follow. You can’t help but stay on it and not lose your way. Even if what you’re doing is the road less traveled, if you have that purpose, it will always give you direction.
Life’s little bumps and diversions will be deflected by your purpose. Instead of grabbing you, holding on to you, dragging you away, those diversions will bounce off you, repelled by your strong sense of purpose and motivation.
If you find yourself being dragged down by something that you know is rather commonplace, like a car accident, unexpected expenses, or a horrible roommate, think of how strong your purpose in life is. A strong purpose will pull you through those inconveniences (maybe with a happy disposition even).
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t exactly define that purpose either. There’s a difference between purpose and goals. Goals are defined by their very nature. Purpose is a drive. Is it to improve your finances? Spirituality? Creating more stories to tell your grandkids? All it takes is an internal desire.
So the next time something inconvenient or discouraging happens in your life, just think to yourself “is this big enough to tear me away from my purpose?”. The answer should always be a quick and resounding “NO”. If there’s hesitation, it’s time to reexamine life and find the thing that drives you. Focus on it. It will grow stronger with time and deflect bigger and bigger road bumps in your life.
Purpose moves us forward. Just make sure your purpose isn’t to run over motorcyclists ;)