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Living on Purpose

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Living on Purpose

What if I miss the calling?
Richard  Brodie
Richard Brodie More by this author
Jun 28, 2010 at 10:00 AM

The first time I heard the concept of having an overall life purpose, I was more than a little skeptical. I sniffed around the subject for a while and did all the work necessary to figure out what my life purpose would be, if I decided to commit to one, but I still held back. Commit was not my favorite word back then. As a practical, commonsense kind of person, I’m interested in results. All the theories in the world bore me to tears unless they are about results. So what results can you expect from doing the work to figure out your life purpose and committing to it?

Based on my own experience, you can expect to:

  • Feel more powerful
  • Find that other people are much more willing to support you and believe in you
  • Be happier
  • Have much more of a sense of meaning and fulfillment
  • Be much more successful by your own and others’ standards
  • Be more admired and attractive to others
  • Like yourself more
  • Be much less bothered by stuff that happens
  • Enjoy life more

This is true whether or not you’ve had much success in your life thus far. If you haven’t, the benefits of turning that around are obvious. If your life has already been a string of successes—well, before I committed to my life purpose, I had attended Harvard, made a million dollars, written one of the world’s best-selling computer programs, and won a new car on the game show Sale of the Century. So please believe me: Even if you’re already a wonderful person and a great achiever, you have an incredible amount to gain by discovering your purpose.

The one thing that always stopped me, as I grew up and occasionally pondered the question of what I wanted my life to be about, was the fear that if I picked one thing to dedicate myself to, how would I know I made the right choice? It always seemed far safer to take small steps, just kind of doing what I knew how to do, until . . .

Until what? That was the problem. I’ve heard stories about people who got a clear “calling”—people who “just knew” what the purpose of their lives was. But after my first 20 or 25 years had passed with no booming voice out of the sky telling me my purpose, I suspected I’d better not count on that happening.

Many of the great thinkers throughout history have addressed the question of purpose in life. Not surprisingly, they don’t all agree. Brilliant, eloquent, respected people from Socrates to M. Scott Peck have proposed different answers to that question. Some of the best knowledge seekers in history have said the quest for knowledge is, in fact, the purpose of life. Some very creative people have proposed that the purpose of life is to create. Ernest Hemingway and Ralph Waldo Emerson—both distinguished, powerful individualists—each wrote a clear, powerful, individualistic statement of what it means to succeed in life. The two statements, of course, were different.

So how could I be sure? I decided—rather than waiting for lightning to strike, rather than weighing and sifting through all the conflicting messages from others about what should be important to me—to rely on my own sense and judgment about what was meaningful in life.

I decided on self-reliance.

It helped ease my fear to realize that I wouldn’t be making a major change in my life, but simply be identifying what I already wanted my life to be about, and just adding more of it—filling in the gaps. The kind of life purpose I’m talking about is something that we’re all fulfilling already; it’s just that we may be doing it very inefficiently. I want you to become conscious of what that purpose is—the part of your life that you really like, the core of what it’s all about for you—so you can use all your intellectual and creative abilities to come up with ways to have more of it. And if you’re like me, it won’t just be a little more—it will be a lot more.

Think of the peak experiences of your life—the best times you’ve had, the most joyous times, times when you felt worthy, important, or delighted. Then imagine feeling like that a lot more often. It’s not too much to expect to have that kind of experience in your life on a daily basis. And not by repeating those exact experiences—I’m not sure I’d be up for an encore performance of my sixth-grade play—but by understanding the core part of you that found meaning, fulfillment, and delight in those experiences. That core part of you is your life purpose.

About Author
Richard  Brodie
Richard Brodie is best known as the original author of Microsoft Word. His self-help book, Getting Past OK, is an international bestseller. His groundbreaking book on memes, Virus of the Mind, spent 52 weeks on the Hot 100 an Continue reading