How To Live A Purposeful Life From Where You Are Now
Running Away From Reality
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do you ever get the sense you should be further along in life?
You might experience an overwhelming sense you’ll never reach your destination from where you are now.
Allow me to put your mind at ease. You are well placed to follow any path, as long as you set the intention to move forward with resolve.
The tension you experience occurs when you disconnect from your true self. This is compounded by an inner voice that’s never satisfied until it gets what it wants.
I call it the inner critic, inherited from early age that dominates your thought landscape.
Author Michael Neill writes in his book The Space Within: Finding Your Way Back Home: “But unrecognized thought demands our attention and fills our consciousness. And when we get caught up in thought, we lose our way.”
However meaningful you consider your life might be, there’s always another place you long to be. You’re never satisfied because the ego convinces you happiness will be found once you pursue the next undertaking.
Do you feel that way?
That you are unhappy and longing for something more, whether it be a better relationship, improved financial conditions, a better career or more material belongings?
Yet when these things arrive, you are only satisfied temporarily. Soon enough, the excitement vanishes and off you go, looking for the next adventure to keep you captivated.
I liken it to the scurrying white rabbit in the tale Alice in Wonderland who constantly looks at his pocket watch while exclaiming: “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”
That is the sense you get when moving from one destination to another, without taking the time to appreciate your achievements. You’re not inhabiting your life, but running away from the real experience of reality.
This creates a barren existence because you foolishly pursue a plan without appreciating the intentions behind it.
It is as though you are trying to manipulate the future as you imagine it to be. We all know life seldom turns out as planned. There are always detours and obstacles that thwart your well-laid plans.
“Position your daily actions so time is working for instead of against you. Because time will either promote you or expose you,” writes author Jeff Olson in The Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life.
You miss out on vital life lessons if you’re moving from one objective to another without integrating what you’ve learnt.
It is years later you lament the wonderful opportunities that passed you by during the best moments of your life.
Your Past Does Not Equate To Your Future
“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.” — Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
To be present to what is unfolding requires perceiving life in the greater scheme of things. If you label every experience as good or bad, you miss out on the fundamental lessons sewn into your journey.
Life is a collection of gifts, conditional to incorporating them into your life.
To start where you are is to appreciate your current circumstances right now.
You needn’t have all the information, nor the financial resources, or the perfect conditions to create a purposeful life. What is required is a commitment to take small strides forward, knowing the path will reveal itself as long as you uphold a purposeful intent.
Master author Robert Greene states in his acclaimed book Mastery: “Feeling motivated and energized, we can overcome almost anything. Feeling bored and restless, our minds shut off and we become increasingly passive.”
Let’s not fool ourselves; your past does not shape your future any more than last week’s weather foreshadows the weather five years from now.
Your past has brought you to this point in time, given your level of awareness.
You are reading this because you value your personal growth and this is a sign of progress.
Your life’s journey will undoubtedly include detours, setbacks, challenges and failures.
Welcome to the process of life, my dear friends. Nothing is certain other than the knowledge that you can reach your highest potential.
I’m drawn to this passage by author Victor J Strecher in his book Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything: “Whatever we go through, we can look at purposeful living as a way to give us greater resilience, and possibly even growth.”
Most people play the game of life while backed onto the ropes because they labour under misleading thoughts of how life should be.
This is a recipe for failure because your thoughts about life does not create its reality, but bring misery and discontent.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
A purposeful life abounds when you live from the level of the soul.
Stay with me a moment as we go a deeper into this one.
Living from the soul level means moving past the sprawling thoughts of how life should be a certain way. You develop a deeper sense of your spiritual life.
It requires paying attention to your true nature, beyond your beliefs about the world. These are thoughts you gained to help you make sense of your environment, but are no more useful than training wheels on a motorcycle.
You must become acquainted with something more considerable such as: who is the essence of the person you call “I”?
What is the undercurrent that shapes the individual reading this now?
What inspires you and gives a sense of rapture?
These are clues to what your soul values most to live a purposeful life.
“It is the task of the considered life to honour that need and find what really feeds, what really summons growth, as well, and then share that larger expression of soul with others,” as author James Hollis reminds us in What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life.
There is a towering ambition within you bursting to come alive and express itself.
You are a source of potential whose capacity is limitless. Should you contemplate these words for the next 30 days, it will transform your life.
I know, I know, you may not see yourself as I see you. That’s because I see you as a soul, not a person reading the lines on the screen. I see your potential, beyond the thoughts you hold about yourself. If you gazed through the same eyes, you too would get a glimpse of the infinite possibilities available to you.
To start where you are, be mindful of the components of your life. What you have is the perfect foundation for living a prosperous existence.
Get out of your head and move into the expansive ocean of your heart. Tune in to the quiet stillness where hope and clarity reside.
“Purposeful living is a dynamic process that requires energy and willpower,” avows author Victor J. Strecher.
The energy and willpower he speaks of forms the burst of inspiration needed to move forward. To start where you are, take the first step in faith and trust you will be guided, as long as you continue to move forward.
Momentum carries with it an expansive energy capable of overcoming struggle and misfortune.
Start from where you are now and purposefully commit to moving forward with hope and enthusiasm, knowing life is leading you to where you need to be.