What the heck is my life’s purpose?!

A question I have asked myself almost everyday since becoming very self aware around the age of 21.

Scenario

I am now 43 and after recently having to make a very big, personal decision about where I would be living and working this year, a lot went through my mind in terms of values, purpose, ideals, geographical proximity, wants and needs. I have had an immeasurable amount of conversations with friends, family, acquaintances, the air in front of my face and anyone who would listen to me and give advice.

Humbleness + Relativity

Some good friends of mine were also in a similar situation and we all agreed that we were grateful for the choices we have, but the burden of choice still needed to be understood and rationalized in its relative state.

Consideration of needs

Additionally there were other factors that were considerations such as wanting to be near and helpful to an aging family, best friends, familiarity, an environment that I respected and aligned with my needs, kind people, access to nature, availability of decent jobs, a community of philanthropic designers, diversity in culture, the ability to give back to a community with my skill set…It was making my mind explode.

Where to start

  • How can I help the world be a better place for everyone if I am not aligned with my purpose?
  • How do I satisfy all of my values and needs while aligning with my life’s purpose?
  • How can one environment satisfy all these needs, and if not, how do I find compromise?

So purpose became a concept of focus in my mind. I thought that this was going to be the driving force to making big life decisions. If I understood my purpose then I would know what I would do for work, where I would live, what would get me out of bed each day and help me sleep well each night.

Ok so.. Purpose

So I watched, read, absorbed, debated, considered, re-read and re-watched so much information. It is all over the internet and in print media — “Find your life’s purpose in 5 easy steps”, “Determine your purpose now and start being truly happy”…. etc

All these books, all this confusion, all this information, all this contradiction.
People make a lot of money from this elusive concept.

How can all these people be wrong?

All this new information from acclaimed and trusted authors influenced me to believe that I should determine my life’s purpose in order to feel happy and content with my decisions. After following that rabbit hole for years, I discovered that all these concepts and opinions that are presented to us by these authors are counterproductive and ultimately materialistic. I did, however, start to realize how this literary noise was part of my overall discovery of truth… it was just the long way round.

I believe that all this self help information helped me indirectly because as I became overloaded with information and reached a boiling point, I purged my mind back to simplicity and found my true answer.

But before I reveal my answer..

It would be fair to assume that, in today’s demanding society, one’s life purpose would ultimately be in the form of a career, ambition or even a situation. Some people lead me to believe that my purpose would come from being around people that are extremely intelligent, driven and inspirational. Other advice that I received hinted towards finding purpose in starting a family, asking questions in meditation or travelling the world. Others advised me to simply work long hours so that I didn’t even have time to contemplate any of this at all.

I appreciate all their advice and I believe that it was the sum of these interactions with others that helped me get to a boiling point where I simply could not bare to consider my life’s purpose any longer. I wasn’t satisfied with not knowing the answer though, and I felt that if life was a puzzle, this was the last damn piece that I needed to complete it and I felt that it wasn’t anywhere in sight. Maybe it got sucked up by the vacuum cleaner or maybe it is stuck down the side of the couch with 35c in change and an old bus ticket. In any case the answer to this puzzle wasn’t near me and I didn’t even know what it looked like.

Fate

Another concept that became apparent to me was this idea of fate. Many people believe that you will know when you know. This is to say that you will know your life’s purpose when your time is right and you naturally fall into it. They say that life has a plan for each of us that we can not avoid or struggle from. Whenever we walk off our path we are guided back on so that we can live the life we have been programmed to.

Nope

After many months of books, dvds, videos, seminars, meditation, contemplation and conversations, I concluded that there is no future, it hasn’t been written yet, finding your purpose is a farce and all this information is simply just noise.

Terminator 2 — Sarah Connor cuts the words, “No fate” into a picnic table before she goes off to change the future.

My conclusion

Your purpose in life is to refine aspects of your personality that will make you admire yourself.

(note: ‘personality’ could be your being, profile, spirit or however you describe your internal existence.)

I won’t charge you $49.99 for this opinion or explain it by talking in a circle for 3 hours on a 5 DVD set or even write 25 books about it in varying ways.

Don’t go searching for the career or situation that you think defines your purpose. Purpose shouldn’t be a job or a single divine purposeful act. Just because a job suits you doesn’t mean that it is your purpose. Purpose isn’t a concept that should be sold. You can’t go searching for it or try to consider what it means to you because — you already know what it is!

Mental Conditioning

You don’t need a billion books to tell you that your world is internal. When you change your internal world so to does your perception of an external world reflect this change. I use the word change to represent conditioning. Our habits are often misjudged as reality. The brain is a muscle that survives and adapts based on relative data patterns and repetitive conditioning. So our habits are simply the product of our mental condition. If we want a certain external reality, we must condition our minds to form a repetitive pattern.

Back on track

Getting back to purpose, we can see that our world is internal with an external reality reflected in front of us. The external world represents our internal conditioning. We need to respect our internal world in order to appreciate and enjoy our external lives.

Tying it all together

So how do I choose which external environment I need to be in so that I may live out my life’s purpose?

Well..

if my external world is a reflection of my internal world

then

it doesn’t matter… right?

What matters is what happens to my internal world. If I love and respect my internal world, that is to say that I love and respect myself, then my internal mental conditioning will be strongly bound by patterns of love, light, happiness and respect. This will reflect outwards to create my externally reflected environment and thus I will be living a purposeful life.

It is purposeful because, to physically survive as a human, we need food, water and shelter. To evolve and find purpose we need to experience a feeling of completeness or to pursue a personal objective. If you see your objective as external, then all you are going to do is consciously or subconsciously condition your mind over time to bring that objective into your tangible world. This could go on forever and will go on forever in a circle right in front of you.

Conversely, if you see the objective as being internal, then what you are saying is that you want to find an aspect of your personality and make it the best it can possibly be such as humbleness, kindness, empathy, concentration, dedication, endurance, forgiveness, engagement, determination.. all internal mind conditions.

Enough about me

So what’s your purpose?

Is it external? How’s that going for you? Not too good? Then make it an internal purpose.

Is it internal? Great. Condition your mind to reflect that pattern into your external reality by repetition of positive, purposefully aligned thoughts. A few methods that will help are:

  • Visualizing your personality attribute in meditation
  • React differently to triggers in the external world to change mental behaviors in your internal world
  • Change the way you speak to yourself via internal dialog

When you condition your internal mind to externalize your purpose, make sure that it is an internal attribute that you are strengthening NOT an external one. Do not try to condition your mind to externalize $1,000,000 by imagining yourself holding all that money or accumulating assets, instead, condition your mind by evolving the part of your being that would make you feel great about yourself for having that money.

Buying a boat, car and house are not internal patterns, however, focusing on the feeling of freedom, security and your love for your family is internal.

Interestingly, funding a shelter to help the homeless get back on their feet is an external visualization of wealth even though it is extremely selfless. In this case one should condition the internal aspect of themselves that drives the emotion to want to help others. By strengthening your sympathy towards homelessness or your understanding of their personal situations, you would find the external reality being reflected accordingly. Sometimes the external reflection is not exactly how you imagined it, however, because your concern was on the internal drive and conditioning it doesn’t matter how that gets reflected, you are still serving your internal or divine purpose — the purpose to be proud and in admiration of your self.

It’s about pulling your external needs back into yourself and dealing with them there. Without your mind or self, there is nothing else.

Your mind is the engine that moves reality. It is the toolshed where you build the external world and the quiet room where you decide what parts of yourself you would like to become more positive, empathetic and pure.

Final words

I quit my job, moved out of my share house and cared for my aunt every day over 2 years while she died of Cancer. On her deathbed, in the last week of her life, she was in constant pain and tears from regret and self loathing. She went through all the things that she didn’t like about herself, all the things that she said to people that were hurtful, all the negative actions she made and negative reactions she received. She was a disgrace to herself and she knew it was all her own doing. Eventually a nice man, a pastor of a nearby church, helped her forgive herself and she died days later in a slightly less morbid and self deprecating way.

I will never forget this lesson and it showed me that when you actually know when you are going to die and you know, beyond a doubt, that death is imminent, it is imperative that we lie resting peacefully knowing that we did the best that we could do in the life time we have, to ourselves, by loving our own self, by internalizing good intentions to form patterns that get reflected back out into our external world in order to positively affect every living thing on this planet and beyond.

By internalizing negativity, material objects or by mentally or physically searching for a purpose, we are lost. Everyone loses. Everything loses. What is worse is seeing someone with material wealth fall so hard and far once they see the illusion that they have created.

Your purpose in life is to refine aspects of your personality that will make you admire yourself.

Then everyone wins. You win. Everything wins.

When and how do I start?

A powerful poem by Ijeoma Umebinyuo.

Thank you for reading down to here. I appreciate your patience and curiosity. I hope this makes sense and a positive change. It makes me feel helpful and part of a community to share this story.

Lastly — Your mother’s purpose is to work internally on the part of her personality that cares for her children and allows them to be safe and happy. Her external world reflects that success back to her in many forms. I hope that my mother sees this article as a reflection of all the hard work that she has put into selflessly refining the internal parts of herself that make her an unconditionally loving mother, and in doing so, she knows and feels that her life’s purpose has been a great success.